BUCS Netball Semi Final Review23/02/2012
It was an enthralling afternoon at the Hertfordshire Sports Village and those in attendance were treated to two quality matches as the top four university netball teams in the country competed to secure their place in the final.
In the first semi final Loughborough faced Bath and it was reining champion’s Loughborough who were quickest out of the blocks racing to a 3-0 lead within the first 90 seconds as Team Bath showed signs of nerves. It didn’t take long though for Bath to find their feet and at the end of a very even half of play they had edged to a three point advantage over their opponents.
Bath, boosted by their boisterous support, created the best chances at the beginning of the second half and looked the more lively side. Their movement asked questions of the Loughborough defence who looked increasingly frustrated, giving away fouls as they tried to prevent bath extending their lead. In possession Loughborough flooded forward to try restore the deficit but as they did so gaps appeared that Bath were quick to exploit with great efficiency. Bath Goal shooter Kadeen Corbin was clinical in attack converting 43 goals from 51 shots. Loughborough refused to give up battling to the very end; however Bath had found a rhythm that made them very difficult to stop. Fluidity in their movement and a confidence with the ball in hand was there for all to see and in a one sided fourth quarter they added 16 points to Loughborough’s five to secure a 50-32 success.
As her team celebrated their victory Bath coach Emily Perry praised her team’s performance: “we had a plan that we’ve been working very hard on, there we’re elements we stuck to exceptional well and we turned ball from it so that was very pleasing. I’m very proud of the team today they worked very hard and all contributed to the result it was a real team effort”.
Mia Ritchie, the Bath captain added: “We knew it was going to a really tough game, we’ve lost to Loughborough in the semis and the quarters in the last couple of years but we knew we had the quality to win the match. Credit to the girls for going out and delivering, to win by 18 goals this stage of this competition is a really pleasing margin. Now we can’t wait for the final”.
Loughborough Coach Kaylea McQuade said her team were disappointed not to make the final but praised her player’s efforts “Our players kept going and didn’t stop until the last whistle, in the end our decision making wasn’t quite as good as theirs and that made the difference. We’ve brought a few new faces into the team and we’ve got them for the next three years so we’ll look to make next year our year again”.
The second semi final of the afternoon saw last year’s runners up Leeds Met Carnegie go up against surprise package Durham who had defeated a strong Brunel side in the previous round to earn their semi final place. It was favourites Leeds who took control early on and raced to a 26-15 lead by the half way point with captain Panagarry dictating play well from the centre of the court. In a game that looked to be heading towards only one conclusion. Durham returned to the court looking like a new team and demonstrated the quality that had helped them reach this stage of the competition. They increased the tempo of their play and dominated the third quarter 15 - 9 as Leeds began to look a little rattled by their opponents fight back. At the start of the final quarter the gap was just five scores and a tense fifteen minutes saw both teams exchanging goals right up to the buzzer, ultimately Durham were unable to further close the gap and Leeds held on to complete a 46-40 victory and book their place in the BUCS Championships final.
Speaking after the game Leeds Met captain Natalie Panagarray said “It wasn’t our best performance, it was a bit frantic but we took the lead from the start and just managed to keep it. Maybe it was nerves, it’s always a tough game versus Durham and they were able to reduce the gap to just 3 points at one point which we’re a little disappointed with”. Coach Anna Carter echoed her captains thoughts "We didn’t play very well today, we we’re very erratic and we didn’t take control however we’re just absolutely delighted to be in the final. We’ve been in the final for the last few years but this year will be a new challenge up against Team Bath, we haven’t seen a lot of them but looking at the names in their squad they’ll be a tough opposition”.
Panagarray added; “We’ve never played bath before so it’ll be interesting to go up against them. It’s going to be a really good game and I’m already looking forward to it. Hopefully our uni will come down and support us and turn the final green and purple!”
Collette Thomson, England U21’s Coach and Great Britain Coach for the World University Netball Championships was very impressed by the individual talent and team performances she witnessed “It’s really good to see the quality of netball that’s taking place at universities, two very competitive games and it’s nice to see the youngsters coming through with the strong fundamental skills. It definitely bodes well for netball in this country in the future”.
Tickets are already on sale for BUCS Netball Championship final which takes place in Sheffield on Wednesday 14th March. For more information and to secure your place click here now.