Welcome to the Ultimate Netball Club

18th February 2020

Our second home game of the season on the 15th of February saw our Saracens Mavericks U19 squad come up against London Pulse. We knew it would be an extremely contested game but we couldn’t wait to show Pulse exactly what we were made of.

Our starting seven was as follows:

GS - Eleanor Butt
GA - Libby Burgess
WA - Bella Baylis
C - Jasmine Nightingale
WD - Jada Braithwaite-Scott
GD - Vicky Burgess
GK - Katie Fisher

The game was off to a slightly shaky start as both teams caused turnover due to errors. Nonetheless, once Mavericks regained possession Burgess sunk her first shot home putting Mavericks first on the board. As the minutes went by it became quickly apparent that Pulse’s GS would be a force to be reckoned with as she dominated the back space in the circle and was an accurate shooter. However, Braithwaite-Scott’s well-timed leaps and pressure along with Booth on the centre pass restricted Pulse from penetrating down court and forced them to use their back-ups. Moreover, down the court Butt and Burgess were holding strong and managed to gain back three turnovers with their defensive communication and fast hands stopping Pulse’s through court attack. Consistent centre passes with only a few errors from both teams meant the score was left at 13-14 with Pulse one up at the end of the quarter.

For the second quarter Mavericks changed up their defence with Jada Cooke coming on to GK, Fisher moving to GD and Booth moving to WD. Pulse brought on a new GK who made an impact as she had a formidable jump and reach forcing Mavericks attack to adjust their tactics. Booth made some fantastic interceptions in the centre third and Baylis seamlessly delivered ball into attack easily getting free using her rapid change of pace. With just a few minutes to go the score stood 24-23 but unfortunately Pulse took a run of three right at the end capitalising on a missed shot from Mavericks leaving the score at 28-24.

The third quarter saw the only change as Jemma Nightingale coming on at GA. Mavericks knew we had to fight to get the deficit back and we did just that within 3 minutes the score was back to within 2. Jemma Nightingales efficient movement added to the attacking flow. Unfortunately, two missed shots from Mavericks meant the deficit went back to three. Halfway through the quarter both teams made a change in their attacking ends as Pulse switched their GA and Burgess returned to court as GS. As both teams pushed on Fisher snatched in loose balls and provided a valuable back up as the ball progressed through court. Pulse refused to let up as they took a run of three and battled for every single rebound at both ends. Pulse widened the gap towards the end of the quarter to six as their defence made it difficult for our shooters to finish their shots. However, a tip from Baylis with 12 seconds to go meant Mavericks gained a turnover and the quarter finished on a penalty shot at the edge of the circle from Burgess who scored. This left the end of quarter score 33-38 with Pulse still in the lead.

Going into the fourth Butt returned to court at GA and Pulse changed their GK. This final quarter saw both teams battling to get runs of three and capitalising on one another’s mistakes. Our defensive duo of Cooke and Fisher forced Pulse’s attack to make passing errors giving us opportunities for turnover. Some of which we converted beautifully with some impressive vision in our attacking third. Some errors were still made by Mavericks, but we fought hard to regain possession. As the quarter drew to a close, Mavericks showed resilience as we got a run of three goals in the last 50 seconds of the game. This meant we won this quarter 13-12 but left the final score at 46-50.

We were disappointed not to get the win on this occasion and frustrated with our missed opportunities. However, we have much to be proud from our performance as demonstrated alone by the last 50 seconds of the final quarter. Pulse were a tough opposition, but we did ourselves justice in many periods of play. Onto the next game against Loughborough Lightening, we will take on what we learnt and be hungry for the win.

Players Player of the Match - Bella Bayliss and Jada Cooke
Coaches Player of the Match - Bella Bayliss