Omega 2 vs AFN 3 – Sunday 15th April 2018

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Omega 2 vs AFN 3 - Sunday 15th April 2018

The final game of the season for Herts League Division 2 and it’s a battle for the top of the table between Omega 2 and AFN 3. With regular GS Hannah Brown missing from the squad, Chloe D’Arcy steps up to fill the shooting role. A great turnout of supporters for the important game and more benches are needed.

With a squad of 8, Lisa Short takes the bench for the first quarter. The adrenaline is buzzing as a result of the fantastic England win over Australia earlier today and the team are up for giving it their best shot, competing for the ball at every opportunity, often penalised by the umpires for their efforts, with a caution given early to WD, Molly Brett for persistent contact, followed swiftly by a warning before the end of the quarter. The whole team defend hard, earning 12 turnovers in the first quarter, but some simple errors with breaks at centre pass and AFN winning more possession their way, proving costly. 90% accuracy in the shooting circle from GS, Sophie Humphry and GA, Chloe D’Arcy isn’t enough for Omega to win the quarter, as it ends 9-16 to AFN.

A change in the 1st interval sees Molly taking the bench for the remainder of the game as the chance of a suspension could be too risky for the game. Lisa Short takes up the WD position and the game restarts. Omega continue to give their all to the game with more great defending throughout the court and another superb shooting quarter with 94% conversion, sees 15 of the attempted 16 shots scored and Omega winning the quarter 15-14, closing the lead by 1 goal by half time (score of 24-30).

The team are advised to think about the simple option, continue to go for the ball at every opportunity and put every shot up when the ball is in the circle.  A strategic change in the defence sees Andrea Kinninmonth and Julie Stanbridge swapping positions in the circle. Both teams return to court, ready to fight for the game and it continues in the same contested vein as in the first half. Omega fail to turnover the game as much as in the earlier quarters and more errors are made overall. AFN are quick to punish the errors and open up the lead by a further 3 goals, resulting in the score of 36-45 to AFN going into the final quarter.

Omega are reminded that the game is not lost in the last interval of the game and all players appear determined to give all they’ve got to the bitter end. Once again Omega fail to turnover ball possession as much this quarter, but also make very few errors. The game is a battle of the shooters, each team accurate in converting the goals when they have the opportunity. As much as the team give 100% to the game, the lead proves too much and AFN take the game 63-52.

Whilst the game was lost, the Omega team should feel proud of their performance and their achievement throughout the season. Achieving 2nd place on the table in their first season in division 2, is fantastic! Usually, 2nd place would result in promotion for the 2nd year running, but with Cheshunt 1 being demoted from East Region League, we rely on Harpenden getting through the Regional Play-offs to determine our fate.

A big thank you to Chloe D’Arcy for plugging the gap whenever we’ve needed her this season and playing brilliantly on every occasion…we couldn’t have achieved 2nd place without you! Another big shout out to the supporters not only from today, but those that have turned out regularly over the season…the difference you make to us players is amazing!

Omega 1 vs Cranfield – Saturday 7th April 2018

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Omega vs Cranfield - 7thh April 2018

The final East Region game is a re-arranged game from the days of the snow on 3rd March, with a fixture against Bedfordshire based team, Cranfield.  The team have a bare seven players, resulting in Sophie Cockrill taking the C position and Hannah Sell replacing her at WA.  Second team’s Molly Brett steps up to support the team as a bench player to ease the pressure and the team are also aware that they only need a single point from the game to take the top table spot.

Cranfield start the game but immediately loose possession as their first pass of the ball traverses the side line. Omega start the game well in the opening minutes, punishing Cranfield’s nervous starting minutes by taking the first four goals of the game. But Cranfield soon settle down and begin to control their play, with their GA displaying great accuracy in her shooting, which allows them to maintain a tight grip on Omega through the opening quarter, just one goal behind them deep into the quarter. However, Omega’s GK, Phoebe Gillen contends hard for the ball, taking a couple of superb interceptions in the opposition’s shooting circle.  As is often the case, each interception is short lived as Cranfield quickly regain ball ownership, with the first ball rolling off her fingers and the second being a great back ball to the edge of the circle, but Cranfield being more eager to gain ownership, read the pass well, driving to meet the ball where Omega stood watching.   Her partner in crime, GD, Sam Abbott is as tight with her defending, winning 6 turnovers between them. In the final minutes of the quarter, with a score of 14-12 to Omega, Cranfield’s GA breaks at their centre pass, which proves costly and allows Omega to break a small lead once more, winning the quarter 17-13.

During the interval, the coach gives a strong talk to the team to tighten up their game and think about their passing. This time it’s Omega at the first centre pass, but as was the case with the first quarter, the first centre pass is doomed, with a held ball infringement on Omega giving possession to Cranfield, who are unable to maintain ownership as Omega’s WD, Claire Daw wins back the ball mid court and this time Omega swiftly take to goal. Omega then show a more skilful display of netball and begin to play their usual game, managing to convert the first six goals of the quarter. The rest of the quarter continues in the same vein, resulting in a further 12 goals being scored and limiting the opposition to 9, continuing with tight play from all players which resulted in 9 turnovers in the quarter.  GA, Emma Maidment notices that the last few seconds of the quarter are on the clock as she launches the ball to her shooting partner, GS, Charlotte Jordan, but the Cranfield GK reads this and manages to tip it off court. WA, Hannah Sell takes the side-line throw, but the seconds run out as she is just about to pass, ending the first half of the game 35-22.

Praise is awarded to the team for the much improved display of their skill.   A tactical change to the defence area, sees Claire Daw and Sam Abbott swapping roles and the team are asked to continue the same play for the remainder of the game. This they succeed in doing in the third quarter, again winning the ball on many occasions. Tight defensive play by Phoebe and Claire in the circle, with Claire blocking her player from the post, allowing her to claim the rebound from the missed shot. A break from Cranfield’s WA at their centre pass, awards the ball to Omega again and they don’t fail to impress their great barrage of supporters, converting the shot, increasing the score further for the team.

Going into the final quarter with a score of 52-28, Omega are confident they have the win in sight. Although tiring in her new position, C, Sophie Cockrill continues to give her all as does WA, Hannah Sell, both of whom seem to have settle into the mid field play as they win possession from the opposition consistently every quarter of the game, turning the ball to Omega’s advantage each time. Cranfield’s GD is warned for persistent contact this quarter. With the final 90 seconds of the game, WA, Hannah leaps to cleanly intercept the ball mid court and  Omega take the ball to the circle, where Charlotte tries out England’s Corbyn move, with a back ball around her body, finding shooting partner Emma who rewards the superb team effort with the goal. Cranfield win the final quarter by two goals, but it’s too little, too late as the game ends 62-40 to Omega, who not only take the game, but also the winning top table slot, guaranteeing their promotion for the third consecutive year and a place in Division 1 in the East Region League next season.

A well deserved win to end a superb season for the entire squad, which includes Lucy Andrews, Megan Pryde and Hannah Lok, who all contributed well to the games this season.  Also a big thanks to the 2nd team players, Andrea Kinninmonth, Hannah Brown, Emma Faulkner and Molly Brett,  who have stepped up to help the team out when they’ve been short this season….the team couldn’t have achieved this without your support.

To top the great season, congratulations to Lucy and Tom, who announced that they’re expecting their second little gem….another mascot for the team!