The first Herts County League game for our second team and they meet the team that was promoted with them a couple of seasons ago – Watford Premier 1. Having encountered tight games on both occasions last season, they knew the game was not going to be a walk over, especially with a couple of their regular squad missing and people playing out of their preferred position and a different shooting combination. The starting team being:-
GS – Ruby Brett; GA – Sophie Humphry; WA – Nicola Rantell; C – Lucy Andrews; WD – Claire Statham; GD – Sam Abbott; GK – Louise Cousins and Charlotte Ramejkis taking the bench to start the game.
Watford Prem started the game and were quick to secure the first goal, but Omega reciprocated to match. A fumble at Omega’s next centre pass, sees the ball back with Watford Premier who steal the goal and a further couple of errors made by Omega result in Watford beginning their lead 6-2 but the Watford GA footworks, giving Omega the opportunity to claw back a goal. Omega force another error on their opposition as a result of strong defending in and around the shooting circle, resulting in the ball going off the goal line, but Omega fail to take advantage of their position and Watford take the goal once more. Good ball marking by GA, Sophie Humphry sees her tip the ball, but her team mates are beaten to the loose ball by their opponents, who once again take the ball to goal. The Omega defence apply the pressure in the circle once more and this time, GA Sophie, rewards their efforts. Watford shooters miss a couple of attempts at goal and GK, Louise Cousins tips, but cannot gain possession and Watford’s third attempt is successful. A missed shot by Omega sees the ball taken down court by Watford to their shooter, but the attempt at goal is intercepted as GD, Sam Abbott connects with the ball, sending it towards her team mates and it’s collected by WA, Nicola Rantell in the mid court and rewarded with a goal by GA Sophie. Omega tighten their defence, once again forcing the ball to go off the goal line and again they punish Watford’s error. The opening quarter is not the usual form for Omega, who are taking time to settle into the new combination, but the slow start levels off by the end of the quarter, leaving them 2 goals behind with a score of 16-14 to Watford.
The 2nd quarter is started once more by Watford, but Omega appear more settled and in control, resulting in the quarter starting well. A missed shot by Watford allows Omega to even the score in the opening minutes, but Watford respond as Omega falter with there passing in and out of the shooting circle which sees the ball go off the side-line and back in Watford’s control and punishing the error with a goal. Omega loose their centre pass but win back the ball as Watford are forced to error and the ball is sent of the side line once more and this time GS, Ruby Brett rewards her team with a goal. Omega settle into the quarter having made very few errors on their court play so far. They take advantage of the missed goals and errors made by their position at every opportunity, allowing them to take the lead and slowly increase it to a score of 32-26 in their favour by half time.
The third quarter is another great quarter for Omega. A missed shot by Omega sees Watford gaining possession, but great reading of the game, speed and determination are displayed as C, Lucy Andrews flies in to intercept the ball cleaning mid air. The Omega defence are strong and tight in the circle and GK, Louise intercepts a ‘pop’ of the ball between Watford’s shooters and Omega take the ball to our shooting circle. Failed conversion sees the ball back with Watford, but as their GS attempts a shot, GD, Sam Abbott intercepts the shot and this time Omega are successful in their conquest. The defending continues to be tight both in and around the Watford Shooting circle as WD, Claire Statham defends Watford’s GA, delaying her movement into the circle. As a result, Watford force feed the ball to their GS and the ball goes off the goal line. Omega take the goal line pass and succeed in moving the ball down the court, where they find their shooters with ease and the shot is converted. They demonstrate control and great teamwork throughout the whole court for the entire quarter, supporting each other on the attack and working together on the defence, which forces their oposition to error on several occasions, The final 6 seconds of the quarter and Watford’s GA contacts as she receives the ball, so loose the last opportunity of a goal in the quarter.
The score going into the final quarter sees Omega 9 goals ahead, so a comfortable lead, with a score of 43-34 in their favour. A change to the team sees Ruby Brett taking the bench after a solid performance, replaced by Charlotte Ramejkis. Watford return to court ready to fight for the game and this they do! Charlotte took a few minutes to settle into the game but soon gets into her stride, however the whole team are unsettled and errors they haven’t made in the earlier quarters, begin. Watford’s shooting is back on form and every error made by Omega is punished and the gap in the score closes rapidly, with Watford securing 9 consecutive goals due to the many mistakes made. Omega struggle to gain composure, but are determined not to concede the game. The score is level and Watford secure a goal to take the lead. A battle for the final minutes of the game as each team want the win, but the score ends as a draw of 49-49. A disappointing quarter after the superb play in the second and third quarters and one to learn from going forward.