Today, fourth position of the Herts County League, Division 1 table, Omega 2 face 2nd position AFNNC Solar. This is expected to be a very tough match as statistically, AFNNC Solar can still qualify for the playoffs as they sit just 2 points behind the top of the table.
The game starts and it’s looking to be the game it is expected with AFNNC Solar taking an early lead 4-1 in the opening minutes. However, Omega are determined and keen to give it their all and soon get their act together to close the lead and the play is matched by both teams. A fall in the centre third on Omega’s centre pass sees C, Lucy Andrews on the floor but the team adamant they were not calling for injury time. However the umpire looks to the bench and sees the coach indicating with his hands and the decision is made. Confusion in the team is evident as no-one understands why Lucy has to leave the court. A swift change of Molly Brett from WD to C and the game continues with AFNNC taking the next goal and Lucy is allowed back on court, but has to return to the vacant position. Rather than unsettle the team, they become more determined and battle on for the rest of the quarter. Great teamwork in the whole attack from WA, Emma Faulkner; C, Molly Brett, GA, Emma Maidment, finished off with fantastic movement and shooting by GS, Ruby Brett sees the team not only claw back the deficit goals, but take a 1-goal lead by end of the quarter, with a score of 13-12.
A quick reshuffle back to starting positions in the quarter break and the team settle back into the game. Both teams give their all as neither want to loose the battle as each are as competitive as the other. This quarter doesn’t flow so well for Omega with the team not always seeing their shooter, but also seeing a more static shooter than the first half, which makes GA, Emma work for her money (not that she gets any!!!). Neither team make many errors, but Solar manage to benefit more from Omega’s and once again take the lead by end of the quarter, with a result by half time of 26-28 to Solar.
Hannah Brown steps in to GS and Ruby Brett takes the bench to start the second half. Omega struggle to settle at the start, but soon get into their stride and adapt well to change their feeding style as a result of the change of shooter. However, they are still not always feeding the circle at the first opportunity and giving GA, Emma the extra pressure. Omega make more mistakes this quarter, loosing many balls with congestion and lack of player spacial awareness and positioning, putting more pressure on defence players GK, Louise Cousins and GD, Sam Abbott, who battle on in an attempt to prevent the goals. However AFNNC Solar grasps every opportunity to score and stretch their lead, ending the quarter 46-40 to Solar.
A final chat, a swap of position for Molly into WA and Emma Faulkner into WD and a determined team retake the court. Ready to give their all to the bitter end, they know that a 6 goal deficit is going to be hard to overcome in the final quarter, particularly to a strong opposition. The change of dynamics sees some fantastic feeds from WA, Molly to GS, Hannah from the centre circle or just inside the goal third on several occasions, resulting in the team managing to close the lead in the first half of the quarter. GD, Sam and GK, Louise apply the pressure in defence this quarter, coupled with interceptions from C, Lucy, which allow them to win over some much needed balls to allow the team to begin to take the lead. An excited bench are screaming their support and encouraging the team to play the ball safe in the latter minutes and wait for the right opportunity to move it forward. The team took heed and the reward paid off, seeing a fantastic win for the team and a final result of 59-55!
A great game to watch and one which was well contested by both teams and well managed by strong umpires. A great end to the season, securing the team in fourth position for their first season in Division 1. Well deserved to the whole squad who have played this season…..and to those who have helped out when needed.