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Cup Finals 2016

Summer League Cup Finals Week 1

Report by Heather Nolan

We opened the evening with the Charity Challenge match between Lecico Pumas and Wilstead Sapphires. Wilstead Sapphires won Division One of the the Youth League and are looking to move up to the adult league next season so to give them a flavour of what is to come they took on Lecico Pumas from the 2nd division of the adult league.

In the first quarter Sapphires started well with an immediate turnover and held their own until 2 goals apiece. After that however experience showed and Pumas won the first quarter by 5 goals to 2. There was some excellent play from both teams in the second quarter and this team Sapphires held Lecico to 3-1. After half time Sapphires came out determined to show what they were made of and took a 2 goals to 0 lead. Lecico fought hard but the goals didn’t come for them and this time Wilstead were the quarter winners by 3 goals to 1. So we came to the last quarter with all to play for and Wilstead once more took the lead. With 30 seconds to go Wilstead were 3 goals to 2 ahead but an excellent interception by Pumas gave them the opportunity to draw level which they did. So near for Sapphires but not to be – well done to Lecico Pumas – but Sapphires will be a strong team in the adult league next season.

We then moved on to the 5th Division final between Maulden Robins and Bedford Cannons. Maulden are league champions so they were going to be a hard team to beat. Both teams started quite nervously and were evenly matched until an excellent interception by Hannah Garrett at Centre for Maulden gave them a 4 – 2 lead. Each team would score one more goal but Maulden did enough to win the first quarter by 5 goals to 3. The second quarter saw Bedford Cannons really battle hard and with some really good shooting they took a 2 goals lead . Maulden would get one back but the quarter belonged to Cannons 4 goals to 3. After half time both teams struggled with their shooting although Maulden had most of the possession. Maulden eventually found the net and took a 3 goal lead and although Cannons battled hard they lost the quarter by 5 goals to 2. Cannons had it all to do in the last quarter if they were to win – they needed to win the quarter and do so by 5 goals. Goals went with centre pass and Cannons just could not make the interceptions they so wanted – they held Maulden until the last few minutes when a flurry of goals saw Maulden win the quarter by 6 goals to 2 and with it the 5th Division Cup.

Player of the match went to Asha Williets of Maulden Robins.

The third Division final featured Blue Knights and Spirit, division champions and runners up respectively. Spirit had been in the 4th Division final last year and had narrowly lost to Dunstable Dragons in the final. They had been promoted and were now in the 3rd division final – could they also win the cup. Blue Knights however had a very different plan – they came out all guns firing and we were at 6 goals to 1 within a few minutes, helped by some excellent shooting from Ellie Merritt at Goal Shooter for Blue Knights. Spirit lived up to their name by battling hard but with the shooters for Blue Knights just not missing and Spirit making too many unforced errors Blue Knights took the first quarter by 13 goals to 6. In the second quarter Spirit really settled down and the goals went with centre pass – Anya Williams was on excellent shooting form for Spirit and we were at 6 goals apiece with 90 seconds to go. Blue Knights had the centre pass but Spirit intercepted the ball – would this be the turning point. But it was not to be – the ball changed direction 6 times before Blue Knights finally scored. Spirit just had the chance to equalise in the dying seconds and the second quarter was a 7 goals apiece draw. Spirit knew they had to win the next quarter to stay in the match and concentrated hard. They were level pegging until half way through the quarter when some excellent play by Captain Esther Thomas would give Blue Knights a lead of 4 goals to 2. They scored off their next centre pass and Spirit were knew they badly needed a turnover – they had their chances but it was not to be and although they scored one more goal Blue Knights took the 3rd quarter by 6 goals to 3 and with it the Cup.

Player of the match award went to Esther Thomas Captain of Blue Knights.

Our final game of the evening would feature Cranfield Wolves, division One winners, and Chiltern Vipers. Cranfield had won the 2nd Division Cup in 2015 and like Spirit had been promoted. Could they pull off a season’s double. Wolves had the first centre and made the most of it – following this by an immediate turnover to put them 2 goals ahead. Vipers settled down and scored their opening goal but after this just could not hold Wolves. Amy Johnson and Olivia Vickers-Lake worked hard in defence for Vipers but Wolves were on fire and took the first quarter by 10 goals to 4. Vipers started very positively in the second quarter and with their shooters being on good form they built up a 5 goals to 3 lead. But Cranfield were still fighting hard and pulled the score back to 6 goals to 5. Their defence were tireless but Vipers scored again. An excellent long range shot from Cathie Carter at Goal Attack for Wolves made it 7 goals to 6. There were 30 seconds to go but Chiltern Vipers hung on and ran out quarter winners by 7 goals to 6. So after half time both teams still had all to play for and the atmosphere was tense. Both teams made errors and the scores stayed level all the way through the quarter and with 20 seconds to go Vipers were leading by 8 goals to 7. This time they could not keep Cranfield out and the final whistle of the quarter went with the score at 8 goals each. Points were now even so both teams could still win the cup – whoever’s nerve held to enable them to win the last quarter then they would be the champions. With interceptions on both sides the score was even to start with until Cranfield took the lead by 4 goals to 2. They built on this lead and with 5 minutes to go had a 7 goads to 3 lead. Chiltern Vipers worked hard but when they intercepted they just could not find the net and with Cranfield on good shooting form they won the quarter by 8 goals to 4 and with it the Debbie Allen Cup. A great season’s double.

Played of the match award went to Cathie Carter Captain of Cranfield Wolves.

Congratulations go to the umpires for the evening – Joy Langhorn, Vicky Norman, Heather Pollard, Elly Coppenhall, Jeanette Johnson, Katie Johnson, Jackie Stigwood and Kate Sanders.

The plate winners for Division Five were Westoning Zodiac, for Division Acorns and for the lst Division, Cranfield Tigers.

Councillor Sarah-Jane Holland very kindly presented all the trophies on the night.

The 4th Division, 2nd Division and Premier Division finals take place on Wednesday 15th June commencing at 18.30 indoors at the University of Bedfordshire, Polhill Campus.

Summer League Cup Finals Week 2

Report by Heather Nolan

We opened the evening with the 4th Division final between Gems and St. Neot’s Sapphires. Sapphires had won the league but Gems had taken the defenders trophy so we knew their defence would be spot on.

Both teams got off to a nervous start and it was 4 minutes into the first quarter before Sapphires opened the scoring. They would then get a turnover and make it 2 goals to 0. The game then went from end to end with neither team managing to convert their shooting opportunities. With 2 minutes to go it was still only 4 goals to 1 but then the Sapphires shooters got their eye in and ran out winners by 7 goals to 1.

In the second quarter Gems got off to a good start and with some excellent work by their centre and Captain Stephanie Edwards both teams were level at 4 goals apiece with 4 minutes to go. Sapphires then took the lead and managed to build up to 7 goals to 4 but Gems came back at them to make it 7 goals to 6 with 30 seconds on the clock – they just needed a turnover to tie the quarter. But it didn’t come for them and Sapphires were 2 quarters to the good at half time.

Gems had arrived very early and practised hard before the game started but somehow the shots just did not got in for them and once more St. Neots took the lead by 3 goals to 1. They let Gems have one more goal but built up their own score to run out winners of the quarter and 4th Division cup by 6 goals to 3.

Player of the match was Stephanie Edwards of St. Neot’s Sapphires.

Our second match was the 2nd Division final between Choice Diamonds and Westoning Diamonds, winners and runners up respectively in the league.

This game got off to a fast and furious start with both teams firing on all cylinders. With some excellent shooting from Choice they built up an initial lead of 3 goals to 1. Ali Horan at centre for Westoning worked tirelessly to get the ball up to her shooters but Lorna Shenky Kelly and Shannon Tatham were on great form for Choice and we got to 6 goals to 3 in favour of Choice with 4 minutes to go. Westoning fought hard but Choice ran out winners of the first quarter by 8 goals to 6.

The second quarter was very close with both teams shooting and defending well. Lorna’s excellent shooting in the first quarter deserted her a little – she was not happy when too close to the post and for the first time in the match Westoning took the lead by 6 goals to 5. Choice immediately got the turnover they needed and we were at 6 goals apiece. Both teams then scored off their centre passes and with 21 seconds to go it was 7 goals each – Choice had the centre pass and Westoning intercepted it but there just wasn’t enough time for them to score so the quarter ended with the teams on level terms.

Choice made changes to their shooting team after half time and brought on Sandra Tatham – would the new mother and daughter combination be the secret. Choice turned over the first centre pass and went 2 goals to 0 in the lead. But Westoning were having none of it and worked hard to pull the score back to 3 goals each. Ali Horan got an excellent interception for them and they took a 4 goals to 3 lead. Goals then went with the centre pass until Choice made an interception and we were at 5 goals each with l minute to go. This was just enough time for Westoning to score the all important goal to win the quarter by 6 goals to 5 and take us into the final quarter.

So.... Choice had 20 goals and Westoning 19 – Westoning needed to win the last quarter and by 2 goals – could they pull it off. Choice had brought Lorna back on to shoot and her accuracy from the lst quarter was back and took Choice to a 4 goals to 1 lead. Both teams were nervous and we had lots of unforced errors but Westoning were determined to keep battling on and pulled the score back to 4 goals to 3 with their centre pass to come. But this team their shooting let them down a little and with Shannon and Lorna still on excellent form Choice took a 6 goals to 3 lead with 90 seconds to go. Westoning ran out of steam and time and Choice took the last quarter and the cup by 7 goals to 5. An excellent season’s double.

Player of the match award went to Shannon Tatham from Choice Diamonds.

We now moved to the last of our finals – the Premier division final between league champions Ampthill Amazons and 1st Choice. Ampthill had won the Premier League Cup for the past 3 years – could they make it 4 in a row or would the success of Choice Diamonds spur on their team mates to success.

Certainly lst Choice were in buoyant mood when they came out – Sherma Joseph at Goal Keeper was on excellent form and Choice took an initial lead. But it was end to end play and a very exciting start with fast and accurate netball from both teams. Scores remained level until an interception by Choice would see them take the score to 5 goals to 4. This was all they needed to settle the nerves and they built solidly on their lead and took the first quarter by 10 goals to 6.

Ampthill were not quite sure what had hit them in the first quarter but they came out at full speed at the start of the second quarter and were totally focussed taking a 3 goals to 0 lead. At Goal Attack Donna Lee was on excellent form and with sister Helen directing the centre court play Ampthill held on to their 1 goal lead and brought the score to 6 goals to 5. Both teams then had their chances to change the pattern of the game but it was Ampthill who converted their opportunities and took the second quarter by 9 goals to 6.

After half time both teams seemed nervous – Ampthill had brought on Emma Sears and now we had 3 sisters on court – would this be a winning combination. Both teams fought hard and kept the scores level until Ampthill made the all important interception to take the score to 5 goals to 3. But Choice came straight back at them and dug their heels in - we got to 5 goal apiece and in the dying seconds of the quarter Choice got the all important goal to win by 6 goals to 5.

So as we went into the last quarter the score was 22 goals to Choice and 20 to Ampthill. If Ampthill were to win for a 4th time they needed to take the quarter by 3 goals – with lst Choice on their excellent form – especially the defence – could they pull it off. Both teams played excellent tight and accurate netball and it was 3 goals apiece with 4 minutes to go. Was there enough time for Ampthill or would lst Choice hang on. Ampthill turned on the heat and with Donna’s shooting on excellent form they pushed the score to 7 goals to 3. 1st Choice kept fighting and pulled one back – but Ampthill dug in and as the final whistle went it was 9 goals to 4 – they had won overall by 29 goals to 26. An excellent season’s double and an amazing 4th cup win.

Player of the match award went to Helen Sears of Ampthill Amazons.

Congratulations go to the umpires for the evening – Holly Lau, Emma Radley, Gabi Gabriel, Kay Smith, Bern Palmer & Claire Bailey.

The plate winners for Division Four were Oakley Diamonds, for Division Two Angels and for the Premier Division, Ampthill Azures.

The Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council, Councillor Jade Uko, very kindly presented all the trophies on the night.

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