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MATCH REPORT 01/02/2020: SARACENS MAVERICKS U19S 45 - 52 MANCHESTER THUNDER U19S

4th February 2020

On 1st February, our Under 19 Mavericks squad travelled to Manchester to take on Manchester Thunder in our third, hotly anticipated NPL match. We trained hard over the new year and our squad stepped onto the court with confidence and lots of preparation under our belt.

The starting seven was as follows:

GS - Eleanor Butt (Captain)
GA - Libby Burgess
WA - Amy Durand
C - Bella Baylis
WD - Jada Brathwaite-Scott
GD - Vicky Booth
GK - Katie Fisher


Our supporters sat ready on the baselines and after a ferocious team shout we took to court. Thunder had the first centre pass, but Mavericks quickly set the standard. Our dynamic defending duo of Fisher and Booth executed their skills forcing a turnover and putting Mavericks on the score board first. Despite some clinical play from us Thunder quickly adjusted and took a short run reminding Mavericks exactly who they were up against. Durand and Baylis fed our shooters accurately with some satisfying screens and rolls from Butt and Burgess. The quarter continued neck and neck with two minutes to go the score reaching 11-11. Thunder stole a run of three at the very end of quarter as they took an intercept. This left the end of quarter score with Mavericks down 11-14.

The second quarter changes just saw our two shooters Butt and Burgess switch over. Once again, our defence upped the pressure with Brathwaite-Scott leaping for intercepts and snapping up loose balls. Thunder’s defence in turn responded breaking down some of our centre passes and delivering effective feeds which their accurate shooter put away. A mid quarter change saw Durand come off with Jas Nightingale taking to C and Baylis moving to WA. Baylis exhibited her rapid change of direction as she created availability on centres and fed Burgess who sunk her long shots. As the clock ran out Butt was awarded a penalty and she made it count, this gave us a quarter win of 13-10 leaving the half-time score at a tense 24-24.

The start of the second half brought changes for both teams in the attacking ends as Jemma Nightingale came on at GA and Thunder switched up their attacking circle also. Thunder’s new GA brought a new challenge to our circle defence as they had to adjust to the new dynamic. Moreover, Thunder stepped up they’re through court defence forcing Mavericks to use their back-ups and taking intercepts. We initially found Thunder’s circle defence hard to work around with their GD also tipping some of our shots. Mavericks managed to eventually break Thunder’s long run thanks to Braithwaite-Scott and Jas Nightingales relentless through court defence prompted by great communication from Fisher and Booth. With three minutes to go Butt came back on to GS with Burges to GA. Mavericks gained some flow playing the short game and took back some runs of three at the end of the quarter brining the deficit within 5 going into the forth down 33-38.

Thunder were hungry for the win but Mavericks weren’t going to let them take the game without a fight. The quarter began goal for goal as Butt and Burgess battled in the circle to hold off the defence and capitalise on their opportunities. Mavericks lost some balls in attack and Thunder flew through court to lap up these turnovers gaining a few runs. That being said, Fisher hustled at GK forcing their shooter to constantly switch up her movement and Booth was on the hunt for flies. Jas Nightingale ensured Mavericks kept their composure and helped Baylis feed our shooters through the wall of Thunder’s defence. Unfortunately, on the day it wasn’t quite enough for Mavericks to take the win despite battling until the very last play. The final score left Thunder with the win 52-45.

Overall, despite this being our first loss of the season we came away extremely proud of our performance and the resilience we demonstrated against all the obstacles through the match. The motivation from our bench and the depth in the squad is what allowed us to keep pushing. We have much to learn from this match and be sure that we will take the positives and the improvements and implement them for the rest of the season to come.

Coaches Player of the Match: Vicky Booth & Katie Fisher

Players Player of the Match: Vicky Booth