Netball Winter League Division Two clash goes down to wire
NOVARTIS and Sunshine.co.uk battled out a thriller during week nine of the Grimsby & District Senior Netball Winter League.
At the final whistle, just four points separated the Division Two teams after an end-to-end clash.
The first half saw Novartis take a quick lead with accurate shooting from Caroline Upton.
However, once Sunshine had settled into the game, they soon began to gain their momentum.
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Sunshine's goal-defence (GD) Maxine Teesdale, goalkeeper (GK) Kate Hewitt and wing-defence (WD) Nicola Doughty broke down the Novartis attacks.
And that enabled centre (C) Andrea Duckworth to provide some exquisite feeds into the circle, which goal-attack (GA) Jo Salters and goal-shooter (GS) Bev Pattinson netted with confidence.
This saw Sunshine pull back the deficit and ensured honours were even at half-time.
Slight changes to both teams made a decisive impact on the game, with New Zealand guest player Victoria Batt replacing Kate Hewitt at GK.
Defensive player Shauna Milner was replaced by Ellin Osvagg-Allen for Novartis, with Lorna Fairclough moving to GD.
The change for Sunshine allowed Novartis to capitalise on their height advantage.
Although Batt gave a determined performance, Upton used the height difference well.
And she continued her fine form to secure a flow of goals for Novartis which saw them once again pull ahead of their opponents.
Although Sunshine continued to play some delightful passes down the court – particularly from Michelle Romaniw – they were unable to convert enough of their shots.
This was mainly due to the tight marking of Osvaag-Allen and Milner, who made many vital interceptions throughout.
Novartis maintained their steady form with Ellie Mumby (WD), Catherine Mitchell (WA), Jane Godfrey (C) and Nicola Sale (GA) having to work tirelessly against the tight marking of the entire Sunshine team to take a 22-18 win.
ARTIES Playsport B and Gold IFA went head-to-head in a contest of youth versus experience in Division Three.
Gold have many years' experience, while Arties are relatively new to the league, with only a couple of seasons under their belt.
Gold's experience was the early difference as they showed patience in the build-up of their court play with effective feeding from Jaqui West (C) and Karen Taylor (WA) to the shooting team of Donna Cutler (GS) and Mel Bee (GA).
Arties showed great flair and speed through the centre court, but were unable to capitalise on their shooting opportunities.
Gold's defence proved difficult to work around and Julie Gray (GK) made some excellent interceptions, picking up the majority of the rebounds on offer.
Arties, however, showed great determination and refused to give up, fighting back to a half-time score of 9-9.
The second half was a joy to watch with both teams playing great netball.
Arties' shooters adapted their game to suit the challenge of Gold's defence with Gemma Mumby (GS) opting to pass to Ellie Rodger (GA) instead of risking the long-range shot.
Sam Mullen was pivotal to her team's court play, commanding the centre third and making incisive passes to her shooters.
Arties' defence unit was solid throughout with Liberty Redding (GK) and Georgia Moody (GD) combining well to make things difficult for Gold's shooters.
Improved conversion rates from Arties' shooters gave them a 24-16 triumph.