Surrey Storm’s NPL side maintained their 2016 unbeaten record, chalking up a fifth consecutive win, over rivals Team Bath NPL last weekend.
The three week break from competition since the squad’s last match at Netball London Live was certainly not something the team wanted to affect their play, and a strong performance kicked off the first fifteen minutes. However, despite Storm reaching a lead of 13 goals during the quarter, errors started to drift in and Team Bath were able to capitalise, bringing the gap back to eight as the first whistle went. A lead of 18-10 was very encouraging but in the team talk, the players were asked to stick to task and do the job requested of them.
With one small change resulting in a switch of positions for Goss and Drakeford-Lewis, the team returned to the court determined to create more turnover ball, reduce their errors and extend their lead. The positional change worked to good effect with the team excelling and scoring a further eighteen goals while limiting their opponent to just six. With a half-time score of 36-16, Storm were in complete control and Coaches Tallisa Haynes and Louise Hall opted to make a couple of changes, introducing Medlock and McCalla to the court.
The third quarter saw Team Bath hit the court with a renewed energy and focus, which put Storm on the back foot. A number of unforced errors due to poor decision-making saw Bath score seven, almost without reply. Frustration was increasing on the court with Storm aware they were letting their considerable lead slip away. Despite netting all goal attempts with accuracy, it was becoming increasingly difficult to create the scoring opportunities. Storm held on, but with the mistakes made and a strong fifteen minutes from Bath, the team were very disappointed to lose the quarter 8-11.
At the three-quarter break, the Coaches made clear their expectations for the final period of play and a multitude of changes saw Captain Gulvin move positions, Leach and Goss back on court and Cadogan introduced, while Dixon, Drakeford-Lewis and Medlock were rested. The team worked hard on return but were matched goal for goal by the opposition, with Storm just holding on to clinch the quarter 12-11.
Overall, a really important win for Surrey Storm NPL and the win was certainly well-deserved, with Storm finishing with an eighteen goal advantage. However it was not pretty at times, and with the aim being to be the best team in the NPL, there was much to take away from the match in terms of the improvements needed. The team will be continuing to focus on sticking to task and ensuring consistency with combinations and for the full sixty minutes. Over halfway into the season and looking for four more wins over the next four Saturdays, there will be very clear individual and team targets to work on in the coming weeks.
Well done to the team for another important win though and for keeping their heads high at some of the tougher times during the match. Credit must go to Team Bath for some superb periods of play that definitely gave Storm challenges they struggled to answer at times. Captain Emily Gulvin was the Player of the Match after a stellar performance throughout.
Surrey Storm continue at the top of the NPL league table and face West Midlands Warriors in their next match at 5pm on Saturday 2 April, away at Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire.
Storm starting 7:
GK – Quashie
GD – Williams
WD – Drakeford-Lewis
C – Goss
WA – Gulvin (Captain)
GA – Dixon
GS – Leach
Changes: Goss to WD, Drakeford-Lewis to C (Q2), Medlock to WD, McCalla to GS, Leach and Goss to bench (Q3), Gulvin to C, Leach to GA, Cadogan to WA, Goss to WD, Dixon, Medlock and Drakeford-Lewis to bench (Q4)
Q1 18-10 (18-10)
Q2 36-16 (18-6)
Q3 44-27 (8-11)
Q4 56-38 (12-11)