Dominant second-half gives Leeds deserved victory

When fighting for the title, it’s always important to avoid slipping up against the teams fighting for survival. Therefore, Leeds’ Netball 2s will have been delighted with their performance against Sheffield Hallam 2s, as they won comfortably 60-37 on Wednesday afternoon. Leeds started the day tied on points with York St John and Hallam’s 1s teams, whereas Hallam needed a win to have any chance of staying in the division next season.

Goal shooter Chloe Vialou-Clark put her height advantage over the Hallam defence to good use in the early stages of the first quarter, helping the home side take an early 3-0 lead. Leeds were putting a lot of pressure on Hallam when defending, forcing the away side to go for long passes, which were surprisingly successful, as they levelled the scores up at 3-3, before Leeds retook the advantage. Quick reactions on the rebound for goal keeper Kate Bowman helped to maintain this lead at 10-5, before Hallam began to work their way into the game more, with their goal attack proving lethal to level the scores at 10-10. The away side kept making the most of their chances, to end the final quarter at 12-12.

Hallam’s clinical finishing was a feature at the beginning of the second quarter as well, as Leeds seemed to have the majority of the play but couldn’t pull away, with Hallam coming back from two down to level the scores at 18-18. A good team move started off by centre Jess King helped give Leeds some breathing space, with Vialou-Clark showing fantastic accuracy from close-range, as the home side scored four goals in succession. The attack and defence of Leeds looked more organised during the latter periods of the half, taking a seven goal lead into the second half, with the home side leading 30-23.

Leeds extended their lead in the third quarter, despite Hallam having the best chances. The three substitutes made by the Gryphons appeared to give them extra energy, as they scored nine goals without reply, and limited the away side to only three points all quarter. Wing attack Helena Grennan was crucial on the counter attack, as she showed great passing accuracy throughout. Hallam still looked good when they have possession, but Leeds’ teamwork was proving too much for them to handle, as the score was 45-26 going into the final quarter.

With three teams on the same amount of points at the top of the table, Leeds were determined to score as much as possible in the final quarter, in order to boost their goal difference. Hallam weren’t giving up however, coming close on numerous occasions, but Leeds were winning the majority of the rebounds, helping them to take a twenty goal lead for the first time in the match. Despite being far ahead, the home side were still willing to fight for every ball, making many crucial intercepts during the quarter, before Vialou-Clark got the final goal of the game, to secure a 60-37 victory for Leeds.

The league isn’t the only chance of silverware for Leeds this season. Next week, they play in the quarter finals of the Northern Conference Cup against York. With only two league games left before the end of the season, Leeds will be hoping to repeat Wednesday’s performance against their rivals, as they look to complete the double.

Luke Etheridge

Featured Image: The Gryphon

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