Today, Omega 2 faced Cheshunt, who were demoted from division 3 in the East Region League and relegated back to division 1 in the Herts County League. Omega feel fairly confident with a squad of 8 for the game, but are conscious of how the game can go. The starting squad is GS – Hannah Brown, GA – Sophie Humphrey, WA – Leanne Mansfield, C – Nicola Rantell, WD – Ruby Brett, GD – Claire Daw and GK – Lousie Cousins, with Molly Brett starting on the bench.
Both teams take the court and Cheshunt start the game. They take the ball straight to their shooter, however fail to convert it on the first attempt. Omega take the rebound and begin to move the ball back down court, but a mishap in the mid court area sees Cheshunt win back the ball, gaining a 2nd chance and this time they succeed with scoring. Cheshunt steal the ball from Omega as our WA goes offside in our shooting circle, but the Cheshunt GS footworks as she positions herself to shoot, allowing Omega to take back ball ownership. The team demonstrate great ball skills, controlling the ball down court and finding the shooters for an equaliser. Omega make several errors this quarter with three footwork calls and three offside calls against Omega attack around the shooting circle, giving Cheshunt the opportunity to gain the ball. However, defensive play by the Omega attack, with strong ball marking allows them to quickly win back the balls, gaining the goals to take an early lead. This quarter also sees GD, Claire Daw and C, Nicola Rantell intercepting many balls from their oppostion, but as quick as they win it, the team error resulting in rapid return of possession to Cheshunt. Leanne picks up an early caution from the umpire for persistent obstruction in the final minutes of the quarter. In the last few seconds of the quarter, realising the countdown, Nicola feeds a fantastic ball into Hannah Brown who scores the final goal of the quarter just before the whistle and the opening quarter ends with a score of 18-6 to Omega.
As a result of the early caution, Leanne takes the bench and is replaced by Molly Brett at WA. The team are advised to play steady and maintain control and they return to court to start the second quarter. The team are on fire as they take the first 5 goals of the quarter. Claire Daw continues to intercept the ball well and solid ball play allows the team to find their shooters and score the goals. A wild ball from Omega into their shooting circle sees Sophie Humphrey demonstrate speed and agility as she drives deep towards the goal line, taps the ball as she is mid-air, ensuring it remains court bound and finds Hannah Brown, who rewards Sophie’s efforts with the goal. The team appear determined this quarter, with Sophie and Nicola intercepting several balls, Claire and Louise picking up some rebounds and circle interceptions, whilst mid-court players Ruby and Nicola both hunt the loose balls well. A couple of errors made with one centre pass not received, inaccurate passing at the shooting circle edge and more footwork calls give Cheshunt opportunities to claw back goals which they achieve on all occasions. Twelve seconds to go and it’s Omega’s final centre pass, but slow movement to the centre circle results in Omega being called for ‘delayed play’ and Cheshunt punish with the final goal leaving the half time score at 38-18 to Omega.
Another change to the team sees Ruby Brett take the bench and Leanne Mansfield take the WD position. Cheshunt start the quarter, but fail to convert the shot and Claire Daw wins the rebound. The team take the ball to Hannah, but a footwork call as she positions to shoot gives the ball back to Cheshunt. Cheshunt fail to convert the goal once more. Louise wins the rebound and this time Omega secure the goal. Omega are called for a couple of contacts and a replay of a ball, all of which prove costly errors, as each time Cheshunt punish with goals. A chance for Omega to pull back a goal as Cheshunt’s GA breaks at their centre pass, but the feed from the circle edge to the shooter goes off the goal line and possession is lost to Cheshunt, who score. Some great steals are seen this quarter by Leanne, Nicola, Molly, Sophie and Claire, alongside rebounds by Louise, but Omega make 10 fatal errors in the quarter, with fluffed passes, more footwork calls and a couple of ball handling calls, which allow Cheshunt to remain in the game and take the 3rd quarter 16-13, reducing the lead by 3 goals going into the final quarter.
Hannah Brown takes the bench and Ruby Brett steps into the GS position. Cheshunt start the quarter again and this time, secure the first goal. Sophie breaks on Omega’s centre pass, but the ball is quickly won back by Claire Daw and safe passing by the team, taking the ball to Ruby at GS to reward the team with the goal. The first few minutes sees Molly and Claire winning possession from the opposition and Sophie and Ruby securing the goals. However the quarter turns as Leanne picks up a warning for persistent obstruction and footwork, Louise picks up a caution for unnatural stance when positioning herself next to the shooters when the penalty is set and a third caution is awarded to Nicola for persistent obstruction, all in the same half of the court! The team are uneasy in their play as they are desperate not to pick up any more cautions, but they press on with some great feeds into Ruby in the circle and the pressure is maintained in defense with tight marking and ball hunting. The remaining 8.9 seconds on the clock and Omega attempt to secure the final goal of the game, but fail to find their shooter with their feeds into the circle and Cheshunt prevent their last attempt. Cheshunt once again win the quarter 18-15, but the 20 goal early lead in the 1st half of the game proves too much to claw back and the end score is 66-51 to Omega.
A game of many infringement calls, resulting in a lack of flow and constant disruption. Omega were unsettled by the amount of calls and cautions, which was evident in their play, but they secure the win which positions them mid-table in a Division they have only just been promoted to…an achievement to be proud of!