This week the 2nd Netball hosted a powerful Leeds Met side in the Gryphons centre.
The match started evenly enough. Both teams breaking through each other’s midfield defence and gaining every opportunity to score the early points.
However, the home side really failed to capitalise on these early successes and this led to Met gaining an early lead.
Met’s lead was never allowed to get high enough to dismiss the hopes and enthusiasm of the Gryphons but it was consistent. Leeds favoured a faster pace of game than Met, going for shorter faster passes and exploiting the smaller gaps that the away team created.
Instead of this Met used their physicality and greater size to throw high balls over the Leeds side. This tactic allowed Met to make huge gains from few moves and the Leeds defence lacked the agility to keep up. All this amounted to a 1st quarter score of 12-8 to Met.
The second quarter started in much the same way the first ended, with Met dominating clearly. Leeds lacked the discipline necessary to make the tiny gains necessary to put themselves in a good scoring position in the enemy half.
However, as the quarter went on Leeds seemed to gain momentum. The mid-field was fast becoming a no mans land for both teams, merely a route they both took to the scoring zones. The Gryphons focused their efforts on this area, countering Met’s long ball and generally intercepting anything that came their way.
Their increased possession gave them greater scoring opportunities and they really used these to close the gap Met had opened in the score. The second quarter ended 20-18 to Met.
Sadly the second half of the match brought an end to the Gryphons short period of dominance. Met came away from their break with renewed vigour and worked hard to use their better size to the best effect.
It seemed for a while that Met’s fitness might be dwindling but they quickly corrected any doubts cast over them and secure a four point lead to end the third quarter.
The final 20 minutes was where it all really fell apart for the Gryphons, they lost their concentration and seemed to accept the inevitability of their defeat. Met used these small errors generated by Leeds to great effect and it allowed them to come to a comfortable win of 34-40.
Although their win was relatively comfortable Met never really felt safe. It was only right at the end of the game that Leeds buckled to their dominance and so if the home side were to work on these small errors they could have a very bright future.
Author: Nick Gandy