For the first time all season, Omega have a squad of 12 for their 2nd round fixture against Watford Premier, who they beat by just one goal in the 1st half of the season. The squad know it won’t be an easy game, but are ready to give their all.
The starting team being GS – Hannah Brown; GA – Sophie Humphry; WA – Leanne Mansfield; C – Nicola Rantell; WD – Molly Brett; GD – Sam Abbott and GK – Louise Cousins. On the bench are Emma Faulkner, Andrea Kinninmonth and welcoming back for their first Herts League game after the birth of each of their 2nd child, Emma Maidment and Lucy Andrews.
Watford Prem start the game and Omega are tense. The team take some time to settle and the nerves are apparent as we miss shots and make errors. However, some great interceptions are seen by Nicola Rantell, Molly Brett, Sam Abbott and Sophie Humphry, but as soon as we gain the ball, we swiftly return it to the opposition. With a score of 10-9 to Watford Prem, Omega have the opportunity to equalise as they closely mark the opposition, forcing a held ball call, however we don’t capitalise on this advantage and Watford maintain the lead to the end of the quarter. With 5 seconds remaining, Omega have the final centre pass, but they have failed to note the limited time and as a result, miss the opportunity to fast-track the ball to the shooters and the quarter ends 12-13 to Watford.
A change at quarter time sees Nicola Rantell take the bench and Emma Faulkner picking up the C position. Watford Prem have the opening centre pass once more, but it’s Omega who take the first goal to equalise the score. Omega take their centre pass to goal, but a missed shot sees the ball back with the opposition and the tables turned. Some clean interceptions by Molly Brett, Sam Abbott and Leanne Mansfield sees the ball returned to the shooters and each rewarded for their efforts, with a goal from our shooters. Omega take the lead and are up by 3 goals midway through the quarter, but Watford Prem are feisty and fight back to take back the lead once more. Omega make more errors than intercepts this quarter, but manage to keep the goal difference to 1 goal by half time, with a score of 28-29 to Watford.
A big change at half time, sees Hannah and Sophie taking the bench, replaced by Ruby Brett and Emma Maidment in the shooting circle. Additionally, Leanne Mansfield is replaced at WA by Lucy Andrews, Molly Brett is replaced at WD by Nicola Rantell and Hannah Brown moves to the opposite end of the court, replacing Louise Cousins at GK. For the first time in the game, Omega start the play and are successful in taking the first goal. Ruby Brett, our youngest player, settles well into the GS position, with great inter-passing from Emma Maidment at GA and it looks to be a great start. The team struggle to turn the game to their advantage, but fight hard to contain their opponents and turnover the game on 7 occasions, with great intercepts by Nicola, Lucy and Sam, but we also loose the ball on 9 occasions, which allows Watford to increase their lead by a further goal.
The final quarter and Omega are 2 down and another big change around of the team in the last ditch attempt to change up the dynamics sees Andrea Kinninmonth taking the court for the final quarter, replacing Hannah Brown as GK, Lucy Andrews moving to C, Leanne returning to WA, Emma Faulkner moving from C to WD and Sam Abbott replaced at GD by Nicola Rantell. Both teams are aware that the game is likely to go to the wire and neither team are ready to be defeated. Omega manage to equalise the score on a couple of occasions and finally take the lead by mid quarter, but only by 1 or 2 goals. Contact calls against Nicola outside the circle, sees Andrea covering both shooters, but she manages to keep her feet moving around the players and drives forward to intercept the pass, gaining possession for the team on a couple of occasions. The final score is a deja vu moment, with Omega taking the game by 1 goal, which is exactly what happened in the 1st half fixtures between both teams. This resulted in Omega having a 9 point lead on Watford Prem on the league tables, sitting comfortably in 4th position, levelling on points with 3rd place, SAS who have a slight lead on goal difference by just 2 goals.