The opening game of the season for Leeds’ Netball 4s was a challenging one to say the least, as the Northumbria 3s took an undefeatable stand against our Gryphons. It was all seemingly equal from the outset of the first quarter as Leeds took the first throw in, keeping possession and charging it down the court to threaten Northumbria’s defence. Despite this bold start, the ball quickly changed hands as the opposition was in no state of mind to let Leeds pass them. Following a few failed attempts at goal from Leeds’ goal attack, Northumbria were rapid in bringing the score board to 4-0 after 7 attempts at goal. Their goal shooter stood out from the outset of the game as a huge threat for Leeds as the score was raised to 6-1. However, despite the widening score gap, possession seemed fairly equal between the teams as they ran the ball up and down the court, fighting for dominance. In a slight turn of events, as it would seem from the opening few minutes, Leeds tried their best to chase down the ever increasing score of 11-7. Once again the outstanding goal shooter on the opposition rarely failed a shot. Leeds were going to have to up their accuracy when it came to the art of shooting if they wanted to turn this game around. However, despite the impressive play from Northumbria, the score at the end of the first quarter, 14-7, certainly didn’t reflect the lack of effort from the Leeds players.
Possession for Leeds was short-lived at the start of the second quarter. However, after a few failed attempts at goal by Northumbria’s goal attack, Leeds found the confidence to take the ball back to where they thought it belonged, making a stand and securing the first goal of the second quarter. This only added fuel to the fire as Northumbria retaliated with vengeance, shooting goal after goal within minutes of each other, bringing the score-board to 22-8, and really rattling up the Leeds spectators. It seemed by this point that the fate of this game was decided, as Northumbria didn’t falter in their play whatsoever. However, we remained hopeful, and so we should have. Leeds fought back with some agile side steps and spot on passes which allowed them a few more opportunities at goal. The second quarter closed at 23-12.
Play resumed as normal, but this was definitely Leeds’ time to shine. They came back to the third quarter with an extra bout of determination and somehow rocketed the score to 23-18, the closest it had been since the first fifteen minutes of play. At this point, it was definitely not impossible to expect an upturn in events as they ran circles around Northumbria, chasing them down on the score-board, all too closely for their liking. Despite this, during the excitement of the game we were forgetting the skill of Northumbria’s goal shooter. As soon as the ball found its way into her hands there was cause for concern. The third quarter ended on 26-19.
It seemed inevitable how the final quarter was going to unfold. With an injury for Leeds’ centre in the first minute of play and a quick substitution, it seemed like there wasn’t much luck left in it for Leeds. Northumbria raised the bar, yet again, with a vast amount of play being in Leeds’ own half. They bumped the score up to 30-19 with Leeds’ still giving it their all, and eventually finished the game on 22-37. Despite the result, Leeds never wavered in their efforts to deter the strong Northumbrian side. Captain Steph Archer comments ‘I am really proud of everyone, we are all new to each other this year and still learning how to play as a team. Despite our loss, everyone put a lot of effort in, and for the first match of the season we did really well. I am looking forward to the rest of the season’.
Photo Credit: University of Leeds