The spotlight this week was on intramural netball, with 2nd placed Sketball preparing to take on the Globe Trotters. Donning the mustard bibs, Sketball had won their last two games and featured Newcastle first-team player, Franky Fenn. In contrast their blue-clad opposition were playing together for the first time, so they were an unknown quantity going into the match.
Once Sketball’s Harriet Noble had taken the first centre pass, the game was a fast-paced encounter. Although Sketball started fiercely, it was the Geographers who struck first, with Goal Attack Sarah Todhunter taking first blood.
Within the first ten minutes, after Kirst Duncanson had replied for Sketball, neither team managed to pull ahead. Ellie Junod was in fine form, netting three for the Globe Trotters; however not one goal was without a reply as Franky Fenn and Duncanson were on hand to retain the stalemate.
“sloppy shooting from the Globe Trotters’ attack allowed Skets to take advantage”
With the game finely poised at 4-4, Sketball began to dominate. Some sloppy shooting from the Globe Trotters’ attack allowed Skets to take advantage, with Duncanson and Fenn bagging two each. Sketball Centre Harriet Noble was the instigator of this resurgence, orchestrating the play from the centre, both vocally and technically.
But the opposition responded well as a Todhunter goal was followed by two more from Junod. As half-time approached the game opened up. A turnover in the Skets’ goal circle led to a counter attack, allowing Wing Attack Alexia Fenn to tee up Franky Fenn to score her fourth of the game.
This momentum was continued after the restart as an Argentina-esque passing move ended in a well-earned point. Franky Fenn spread the play to Noble who swiftly moved the ball on to Duncanson who clinically dispatched from a yard out.
In the first half, it seemed that every time the Geographers turned over possession, Sketball won it back minutes later. This is in part down to the physical performance from Noble, but also the imperious Katrina Hindly in Goal Defence made a number of key blocks and interceptions.
“In the first half, it seemed that every time the Geographers turned over possession, Sketball won it back minutes later”
Having pulled the score back to 11-9 by the half-time break, Globe Trotters were keen to keep up the intensity whilst defending more rigorously. A number of the team seemed to be struggling with various illnesses, at least by the sounds of the continuing coughing, so some Berocca may have been in order to help them overcome the deficit.
In contrast, the Sketball team were focusing more on fitness as the team inhaler was passed around to boost recovery. These performance-enhancing drugs exploited a grey area, as the league rules do not express the prohibition of such substances. Expect a full inquiry, a confession to Oprah and a feature film on the matter in the coming years.
The bright blue Geographers were keen to maintain the fast pace of the first-half. This ferocity wasn’t matched by the opposition, allowing the team to draw the score level to 11-11. Sketball, a team of 3rd and 4th years, then responded though BUCS player Fenn to once again edge ahead. Globe Trotters fell further behind due to two quick-fire Sketball goals, and poor handling ruined their chance to pull more back.
By this point in the game the lack of substitutes had taken its toll on the two teams, relying on some sturdy defending to keep the score down. Globe Trotters’ Goal Keeper Katie Hunter and Sketball’s Emily Brock were both notably assertive, whilst Katrina Hindly (having moved to Goal Keeper) remained commanding in defence.
“Skets had a team chemistry that Globe Trotters were ultimately unable to rival”
Throughout the match the Wing Attacks had been marked out of the game by their respective Wing Defences, but Globe Trotter Nathalie Spink was given more space towards the end of the match. The Wing Attack’s on-point passing led a resurgence amongst the Geographers, with Todhunter putting away three goals before the final whistle. However another Franky Fenn finish gave Skets enough breathing space to see out the game until time was up.
The final score of 19-15 was probably representative of the match as a whole, due to the quality and experience of Sketball. Despite only forming this season, Skets had a team chemistry that Globe Trotters were ultimately unable to rival.
Having said that, there were positives for the Geographers. The level of intensity that the team maintained was impressive, and 15 points is an impressive tally that could be improved upon if they are more clinical next time around. More games will allow the team to gel and potentially become a real force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.