Match Report: Round 17: Celtic Dragons 31 London Pulse 51

Before the netball even started everyone knew an exciting evening was in store with fans in the arena for the VNSL 2021 for the very first time this season.  Earlier in the season, Pulse’s ‘home’ match against Celtic Dragons ended in a 20-goal win for Pulse but both teams had made major steps forward since that game and this was an opportunity to show just how far forward the teams had moved.

The first quarter started goal-for goal as the teams were finding their feet but Pulse’s defensive pressure from Fadoju and Keable began to cause more and more errors from the Dragons attack.  With Pulse’s attack beginning to capitalise, the score drew out to 5-9 in Pulse’s favour. A trademark flying intercept from Fadoju, picked up by Rademan delighted the fans and the quarter ended with a goal from Tchine and the score at 7-11 to Pulse.

No changes to the 7 on court for the 2nd Q and Tchine kicked off the goal scoring finding plenty of space in the circle.  Strong through court play and excellent movement in and around the circle from Rademan saw Pulse displaying moments of brilliance, but the momentum flipped from one side to the other and the teams went into the half time break with Pulse’s lead still at 4 goals – 18-22.

Pulse made some changes for the 3rd Q with Burger entering at GS and Rattu at WD.  The on-court chemistry between the South African shooters had a great impact on the game along with some amazing turnovers from the defensive unit meant Pulse quickly pulled out to a 9-goal lead.  Mid quarter Drayne entered the game at C and soon after Thomas at WA injecting fantastic pace into the attack and as the quarter came to an end Pulse were firing on all cylinders and had a strong lead 25-35.

The start of the final quarter saw no further changes and Pulse put their foot firmly down on the accelerator taking the lead out to 28-48.  At this point, to the absolute delight of the fans in the arena, 17-year-old Peace Akinyemi entered the game at GK to make her VNSL debut as Pulse player #31.  The youngster grabbed the opportunity with both getting a fantastic tip and turnover within her first minute on court. Final Score – Pulse take the win 31-51.  PoM Léfebre Rademan

Head Coach Sam Bird had this to say: “A lovely performance from us to perform this well in front of our fans and reward them with a strong win. You could hear from our players delight at Peace making her debut and Febs getting PoM, how much they all mean to each other – whoever is on the court it’s a full team performance and that’s the culture we are so proud of here at Pulse.”

Pulse’s starting line-up was Keable GK, Fadoju GD, Everitt WD, Dekker C, Rothwell WA, Rademan GA, Tchine GS.