Saints win netball crunch match

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The Saints won the top-of-the-table Division I match 40-37 at FB Fields to take a potentially vital three-point lead in the championship race.Playing on a slippery court in intermittent rain, the teams were evenly matched throughout, although St Clement scored the first goal from their first centre – and the two after that – and stayed just ahead for the entire game.The Saints commanded early on but the wet conditions caused dropped balls and forced penalties to be replayed.St Clement’s GD Sara Bisson played very well, matching ‘keeper Sharon West’s breathtaking acrobatic defensive display which made things tough for the Convent attack.With the quarter time score 12-7 to Saints, neither team made any changes – unusually neither side used substitutes throughout.Convent battled back tremendously with Jackie Norman, back from injury, scoring some superb long shots, backed up by youngster Sophie Holmes who netted goals coolly and seemed unfazed by the pressure of the game and the large, noisy crowd.St Clement produced some awesome power play, with WD Tammy Fage feeding WA Julia Quant with fast balls in centre court and this, coupled with Shelby Wright’s shooting capabilities, made for an impressive game.Leading by two goals at half time, Saints were first to score on the resumption, despite it being Convent’s centre.By the third quarter St Clement had pulled ahead 29-24, in part due to some excellent out-of-circle work by Quant and Wright, ensuring shooter Zoe Hotton netted at every opportunity.Games of this intensity put enormous pressure on the shooters of both teams.

A vital toss-up between Norman and Bisson resulted in Convent scoring – only for the identical situation to arise moments later at the other end of the court, between Le Feuvre and Hotton, with St Clement scoring.The final moments produced frenetic activity, but the assertive and efficient umpiring skills of Paul Adamson and Gill Kaye ensured the rapid flow of play was uninterrupted through to the final whistle.St Clement captain Shelby Wright professed herself very happy with the result: ‘It was a fantastic game and the two sides were very evenly matched.

I think we were just ahead all the way.

Carol McKeon’s work rate against Mary Blampied was outstanding and our defence was consistently strong.

I was very pleased with the team – and quite relieved to win – and it must have been an exciting game to watch.’Convent coach Linda Andrews said she, too, was delighted by her team’s performance.’I was very pleased.

The tactics we’ve introduced to the game this season worked very well, and we can certainly build on them through the next half of the season.

Sophie Holmes coped very well indeed with the pressure, she was never over-awed and I think she learned a great deal.

I think she missed just one shot in the entire game.

Mary Blampied and Jackie Norman linked really well, they held it together all the way through.

The team are not downhearted by the final score.

We wanted to provide a challenge and did so very successfully.

It was a really good game played in an excellent spirit.’Other results: Division II: St Ouen C 21, Convent D 48.

Division III: Quackers B 15, St Lawrence C 48.

Division IV: St John 43, St Lawrence D 13.

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