London Pulse faced a tough contest against Team Bath in Round 8 and were not able to combat the consistent pressure and experience from the unbeaten side. Whist the opposition proved to be a challenge for our young squad, we were able to take away some key wins as we look to build on our past performances over this season.
With an unchanged starting seven from the past three games, the team went into this contest with determination and positivity, knowing it would be a tough match against a very strong side. An early win for Pulse on the transverse line saw us steal possession and Sigi Burger opened her account, slotting the first goal of the game.
Imogen Allison from Bath went down in the opening few minutes with an injury and was replaced by Tash Pavelin. The Bath defenders did not skip a beat and were making it difficult for Ash Dekker to find Burger in good shooting position. As the quarter progressed, Team Bath continued to be relentless – hunting for ball and punishing accurately at the post. However, the work rate from Pulse was high and pressure started to build with Zara Everitt and Halimat Adio providing opportunities and hustling the Bath attack. The Pulse defence were working hard to win the ball but possession was being lost in the attacking third and Bath were able to push the scoreline out to 4 -11. Olivia Tchine came in to goal shooter and faced a tough battle against Eboni Usoro-Brown. The opening quarter was a tough start for Pulse, and they trailed by 4 goals to 14 at the first break.
Lefébre Rademan took to the court in the goal attack position for Pulse in the second quarter, using her speed to try and carve up the smothering Bath defence. Bath were making it extremely difficult for Pulse to bring the ball through to goal. A quick passage of play saw Tchine find Rademan on the baseline and Pulse were able to add one more to the scoreboard, but the experience of the Bath defence shut down the next Pulse attacking drive and allowed Bath to extend their lead. At the half time break, Bath led 27 – 8 and were showing no signs of slowing.
Pulse came into the second half with renewed intensity and passion, and co-captain Halimat Adio won an early ball to give the team a much-needed confidence boost. With Kira Rothwell and Sigi Burger combining in the goal circle, Pulse were finding more fluidity in attack and the first few minutes of the quarter were goal for goal. Bath worked their way into the contest, with Summer Artman tussling with Burger under the post and coming out with more steals for her side. Kira Rothwell came into her own and took on more of the shooting load, and the Pulse attacking line were able to convert some of their hard-earned turnover ball. Unfortunately, the scoreline from the first half meant Pulse were still on the back foot, and we were not able to get the game back within reach. At the end of the third quarter, Bath were ahead with 41 goals to 19, with all Bath shooters sitting on 100 per cent accuracy.
Wholesale changes for both sides in the final quarter saw several youngsters come on and make an impact. Pulse showed huge improvements from the first half, drawing the quarter 10-10. The final score was Bath 51 to London Pulse 29, and Bath continue their successful season. We will look ahead to our next game against Rhinos and will be hoping to take some of the key learnings away from this contest.