Posted 13th Jan 2020

Plenty of positives as Blue & Gold U19s and U21s put up a good fight against strong Manchester Thunder opposition in NPL

Team Bath Netball’s NPL teams enjoyed good support when they took on Manchester Thunder in their first home matches of the 2019-20 season on Saturday.

The U19s got off to a slow start in the first game of a busy afternoon at the Team Bath Arena and Thunder were able to build up a substantial lead by the end of the first quarter.

However, while they couldn’t claw back the deficit, the Blue & Gold learnt from their mistakes and upped their game, only losing the second half by two goals as Thunder recorded a 56-39 victory.

Centre Emily Becconsall was the coaches’ player of the match after completing an exam at 7.30am before heading to the game, where she produced turnover after turnover even after dislocating her finger.

Millie Pearce injected some pace into proceedings and kept a great intensity throughout, while Molly Hole had a cracking game after switching from GS to GK and coming out with some amazing flying intercepts.

Head Coach Lois Rideout said: “Lots of learning came out of the game and the team are now busy prepping to face London Pulse on January 25.”

Team Bath U19 starting 7: GK Georgia Ford, GD Isla May, WD Ellie Jupp, C Emily Becconsall (c), WA Millie Pearce, GA Rosie Bartlett, GS Molly Hole. Replacements: Meg Conabeare, Sophie Ewin, Lily Jones, India Monllor, Mia Regan.

Next up was the U21 showdown which saw Team Bath and Thunder evenly matched during the first half, the home side looking strong and disciplined, before a nine-goal run in quarter three saw the visitors pull away to record a 62-42 victory.

A tight Thunder defence restricted Team Bath’s attack but there were some good passages of play from the hosts, with Hannah Passmore demonstrating experience in the circle as she took some great feeds from Anna Lebe and impressive centre Elisha New. Goal attack Georgia Jenkins also impressed and was named as players’ player of the match.

Co-captain Caitlin Rowley was a vocal leader at the other end of the court, turning over ball in defence with Jo Leslie and coaches’ player of the match Maya Meredith who provided positive and loud vocal encouragement to her team-mates throughout.

Head Coach Nikki Lloyd said: “I am proud of the learning and progress this group are making week by week. ‘Promising, positive, encouraging, optimistic and progress’ were some of the words the players used in debrief to describe the game and the squad has returned to training determined to step it up and make further performance improvement.”

Team Bath U21 starting 7: GK Jo Leslie, GD Caitlin Rowley (cc), WD Maya Meredith, C Elisha New, WA Issy Highstead, GA Georgia Jenkins, GS Hannah Passmore (cc). Replacement: A Baker, G Dawson, E Lacy, A Lebe, E Payne.

Both the U19 and U21 teams will next be in action at the University of East London on Saturday, January 25 when they face a double header against London Pulse.

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