17th April 2017
Friday saw Mavericks hit the M4 to travel to Bath for the return leg match up with Team Bath. On this occasion both the U21s and the seniors were playing and there was much confidence for double success. The U21s got the day underway with a fantastic display - winning 54-41 (read more here) and then it was over to the seniors. The first meeting between these two teams this season had been a close and fiercely contested affair at Super Ten that ended with a Team Bath victory. The entire Mavericks squad were keen to reverse that result and take a much needed away win.
Starting 7: Summer Artman (GK) Razia Quashie (GD) Zara Everitt (WD) Rose Morgan Smith (C) Keshia Grant (WA) Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (GA) Vicklyn Joseph (GS and Captain)
Used Sub: Ash Neal (Q3)
The match was a high intensity, physical one from the outset with both teams eager to make their mark early. With that in mind it started as a goal for goal affair but a lost ball from Bath at 6-5 was quickly capitalised on by Mavericks and they pushed forward to 8-5. This was followed by some great team work across the court with back up for the attack coming from Everitt and Quashie enabling the score to push out to 12-8. Patient play around the circle from Morgan Smith and Grant coupled with an ever blossoming partnership in the circle between Drakeford Lewis and Joseph meant that Mavericks went into the Q1 break with a strong 14-9 lead.
No changes were made to the 7 for Q2 and it was Joseph for Mavericks who slotted the first goal. Fantastic play by Mavericks across the court quickly saw the lead push out to 10 goals - 22-12 - not least because of some fantastic play from both the attacking and defensive units in the circles.
Bath then pulled back a couple of goals thanks to some great turnover of their own and in the final moments of the first half the score sat at 25-18. With 3 seconds left on the clock Joseph sunk a pressure shot and the teams went into the half time break with Mavericks leading 26-18.
One change was made for Q3 with Neal on at GA for Drakeford Lewis. This time the first goal of the quarter was Bath’s. The quarter saw a number of turnovers by one side being turned back over by the other side as play became a little frenzied. Tips and turnovers from Artman, Quashie and Everitt calmed the play a little and following a sensational take by Keshia Grant - Mavericks held the lead midway through the 3rd at 30-23.
Continued patient play across the court saw Mavericks continue to put points on the board but again some spirited play from the Team Bath squad saw them pull back a little. However, Mavericks saw out the quarter with a couple of quick goals - again Joseph slotting a pressure shot on the buzzer and Q3 ended with Mavericks holding a 9 goal lead - 38-29.
Changes for Q4 - Drakeford Lewis back on at GA for Neal.
With a 9 goal lead it would be easy to believe that the game was all but over, but you can never underestimate Team Bath. And they came out all guns blazing. First goal of the quarter belonged to Mavericks and Drakeford Lewis with a fantastic long range shot. But Bath quickly hit back and scored off their own centre followed by a turnover that was worked to goal. After another from Drakeford Lewis, Bath then took a run of 4 goals to reduce Mavericks lead to 5 goals. With 6 minutes left on the clock, a passionate and feisty period of play from both teams saw 5 turnovers without a goal scored. Mavericks were the first to score again but Bath’s heads did not drop and bouyed by an exuberant crowd anticipating a potential turnaround of fortune they pushed on.
With less than 3 minutes on the clock there were 4 goals in it. Then a scoreboard malfunction that caused the time to stand still meant that no one in the crowd knew how long was left to play. Another turnover from Bath and the score sat at 45-44 to Mavericks - with no idea where the clock was. Drakeford Lewis then slotted probably the most pressured shot of the match to take the lead back out to two goals and the Mavericks bench signalled one minute left. Bath scored again - one in it. Mavericks dug deep and moved the ball into its attacking end - shortly followed by the final whistle! Mavericks took the win 46-45. I doubt a single Mavericks supporter in the crowd had control of their heart rate at that point after what was a nail-biting final quarter. Huge credit to Bath for the comeback and to Mavericks for digging deep in the final moments and taking the win.
Co-Captain Vicklyn Joseph had this to say following the game: “We pulled out a fantastic performance against Team Bath. We had great connections and were very patient with the ball which helped us keep control for the majority of the game. This definitely puts us in a great position to take on Wasps on Easter Monday. I have the belief in my team that we can capture another win and be back in contention for a top four place.”
Head Coach Robyn Broughton commented: “We got away to a good start against Team Bath and maintained momentum throughout the first quarter. Accurate shooting, sharp attacking play and a structured defensive effort ensure a 5 goal quarter time lead. The team continued to exert defensive pressure through the 2nd Q and continued accurate shooting gave us a healthy lead at half time.”
“Going into the third quarter we faltered and lost momentum. Team Bath were quick to take advantage but we kept to our game plan and were pleased to have a 9 goal leading going into the fourth. The final quarter was disappointing as we let silly errors creep into our game and again the experienced Bath side were quick to capitalise and significantly narrowed the gap. However, every Mavericks player then showed grit and determination to battle through, we eliminated the errors, regained composure and pushed through to a narrow win. Narrow but significant. We played as a team, to our game plan and all areas of the court performed exceptionally well giving 100 percent against strong physical opponents.”
Talking about the next match V Wasps, Broughton had this to say: “I’m sure this game against Bath will hold us in good stead to play confidently against Wasps. I feel we made huge strides in this game and we are now determined to put the same confidence and determination out on our home court. Our always fantastic and loyal supporters will also add impetus to our game.
On Monday 17th April our U21s face Wasps at 4.30 - looking for their 3rd win from three outing and our seniors also face Wasps at 7.30. We look forward to seeing many of you at the game and if you cannot make it you can get live updates via our twitter feed - @hertsmavericks