NSL Match Report: A Win On The Road v Team Bath

For round 12 of the NSL season, London Pulse had to jump on a coach and make the 3-hour journey to Bath to take on Team Bath, who are currently sat 8th in the table.

Pulse had a change up in their usual 12, with Alicia Scholes being unavailable for selection and so Freya Henshall, a young and talented GS for Pulse, got the call up. Henshall is one of the current training partners for London Pulse and is also a Roses Academy athlete.

Sam Bird’s starting seven for London Pulse:

GS – Olivia Tchine (VC)

GA – Berri Neil

WA – Chelsea Pitman

C – Jade Clarke

WD – Zara Everitt (C)

GD – Funmi Fadoju

GK – Halimat Adio

Substitutions: Ashleigh Dekker, Freya Henshall, Linsday Keable, Sacha McDonald and Ellie Rattu

Pulse have the first centre pass and the first chance to put a score on the board. However, an uncharacteristic first miss looks like Bath are going to beat them to it, but Clarke steals the ball back and Tchine slots the first goal of the match in. Down the other end, Bath take their first centre pass to goal easily and it looks like it’s going to be a tough battle. Despite a missed shot from Bath and tips from Fadoju, the ball remains with the home side and they get another on the board. The game remains tight and goes goal for goal for the first 7 minutes. Fadoju takes two consecutive interceptions in the circle and Pulse take a lead 9-5. Great defensive work from Adio sets Fadoju up for another interception in the circle and now Pulse have doubled their opponents score, 12-6. Pulse continue to apply the pressure on centre pass defence. The ball ping pongs from one end to the other, with both teams getting turnover but neither one having success converting it. After 5 changes of possession, it’s Tchine who slots it in. The last 3 minutes were steady, with both teams taking their ball to goal and it ends 17-10.

The second quarter starts off strong again for Pulse as the ball is turned over and taken to goal. Clarke and Pitman look comfortable swinging the ball around the attacking third until finding Neil or Tchine free in the circle. Similarly, Corbin finds Creak under the post early and

feeds her from just inside the attacking third. Clarke gets the memo and sends a beautiful long ball into Tchine in the next phase of play. However, Pitman also wants in on the fun and her next feed is from distance. Bath come back with a great centre pass, using the long swing ball to open up the Pulse defence and Creak slots it in. Former London Pulse player, Jayda Pechova comes flying out the circle, tips the ball and ends up with a Bath throw in. Great defensive pressure means that Adio takes the interception and stops it being converted. The score going into half time is 35-26.

One change is made for the Pulse side at half time with Keable coming on at GK and Adio coming off. Bath start with the ball, but a missed shot gives the ball into Keable’s hands on a backline. Pulse convert and have the ball, but Bath steal it back on the first phase and begin to play it down the court. Quick transition from attack to defence sees Bath under pressure and make a passing error which Neil is there to sweep up and they take to goal. Another backline is won by Pulse but the long ball this time is stolen back by Artman. More miscommunication sees another long pass gifted to Artman and Bath add another to the scoreboard. The following five minutes are uncharacteristically messy for Pulse, but in the midst of that there are still moments of brilliance with smart fakes from Clarke and Pitman and great defensive effort from Keable, Everitt and Fadoju. With five minutes left, Rattu comes on for Everitt at WD and McDonald comes on for Neil at GA. Pulse win a held ball for their defensive work on Bath’s centre pass and McDonald gets her first goal on the board. She follows it up with a lovely drive along the baseline for her next two goals. Both Creak and Corbin sink some impressive shots from distance and a missed shot from Pulse gives them a run of 3. However, Pulse are still comfortably leading as the head into the last quarter up 51-40.

For the last quarter, Dekker comes on for Pitman at WA and the rest remains the same. Bath start with the ball and take it through to goal. Dekker gets her first feed into McDonald and she adds another to the board. Keable comes out the circle to tip the ball out of court. Bath have it again but at Fadoju tips it to Keable and they bring it out the back. Alison reads the pass and tips it to a teammate. Another interception from Fadoju is transitioned at pace by Pulse and within a few phases of play it’s in Tchine’s safe shooting hands. Pulse begin to take it away, playing with speed and confidence, both in attack and defence and look like they have their flow again. Great teamwork from Clarke and Rattu result in a tip and turnover that Rattu chases down. Another great chase down from Keable finds her on the floor but with ball in hand! She gets the contact call, and the ball is taken to shot but Bath win the rebound. Clarke comes flying in down the other end of the court and snaps up a ball to the pocket and Pulse have another chance to reward their efforts, which Tchine does. Great patience and movement from Dekker allow her to connect well with McDonald and they take the next centre pass to goal. Rattu wins another ball from her arms over jump and Dekker feeds from distance. With five minutes to goal a new WA comes on for Bath, but Pulse are still firmly in the lead. A feed from Rattu at the transverse line finds Tchine home alone under the post and she nails it in. The last change of the game sees Henshall come on for Tchine at GS, making her first NSL debut. She takes her shot and gets her first Super League goal for Pulse! Pulse continue to dominate, and goals are coming in quickly. They take the win 70-48.

Congratulations Freya- London Pulse number 39 and PoM Olivia Tchine

Next up we face Severn Stars away on Friday

Photo credit: Charlotte Clark