Our Academy Squads Make it a 4/4 Winning Weekend

Following the NSL win v Sirens on Friday, our U17, U19 and U21 were looking to make it a 4 from 4 weekend with wins in their National Performance League matches v Team Bath (U17) and North East (U19/U21). They did not disappoint with all 3 winning their matches with confidence and completing the winning weekend for the club. Check out our match reports below:

First up were our U21s

U21 Match report by Rudee Robinson

On the 6th April London Pulse U21’s had their penultimate game of the league versus the determined North East Phoenix side. The team had come off the back of a good two weeks of training improving the difficulties that appeared in their last game against Leeds Rhinos. They arrived at Brunel University with a game plan and they were intent on executing it as well as possible.

The starting seven was as follows:
Ali Mecklenburgh (GS)
Regan Peters (GA)
Hannah Knightbridge (WA)
Izzi Phillips  (C)
Rudee Robinson (WD)
Darcie Everitt (GD)
Tami Fapohunda (GK)

North East had the first center pass, but Pulse defensive pressure led to a forced error and Pulse took possession, securing the first goal. London Pulse were finding their feet in this first quarter, still working on an efficient transition from defence to attack but they succeeded in gaining an early lead at the end of the first quarter 15-7.

The same Pulse 7 entered for the second quarter but North East had made some midcourt changes. The team knew they had reward each other more in this quarter to ensure that the score line would widen. The attack worked dynamically and Regan’s convincing draws pulled the North East defence and created a lovely safe ball to Ali. The attack and defence center passes worked very well. North East were forced to turn back before bringing the ball down. The team restricted North East to 3 goals during this entire 15 minutes and the half time score was 32-10.

Following half-time, Princess came on to GK, resting Tami and this was the only change ,meanwhile North East made more changes in their attack to try and penetrate London Pulse’s tight defence. This quarter saw a great whole team effort right from the whistle with Princess taking a stunning fly from a North East second-phase ball. There were also interceptions from Darcie, Izzi, Rudee and Regan. The team also endured increased physicality from the opposition but they adapted and played their own game. Superb midcourt precision was on display with Hannah and Izzi’s feeds into Ali. The quarter ended 47-12.

For the final quarter, Elsie entered into GS and Ali took to the bench. The team continued in strength and prowess throughout the quarter, making minimal errors and capitalising on turnovers. Alice and Holly also took the court with Izzi and Regan getting a well-deserved rest. This meant that the full squad entered the court which is only inspiring to see as the team head into their last game of the season next week. The girls continued the defensive pressure for the final 15 minutes. One of the very well-merited coaches players went to Darcie who played GD the whole game and gained countless possession. The other, deservedly went to Hannah who also played the whole game and made the change from WA to C in the final quarter. The squad finished the game with an admirable scoreline of 60-14.

Coaches Players – Hannah and Darcie

Opposition’s Player – Rudee

Next up were our U19s also facing North East

U19 Match report by Hannah Gibson

On the 6th April, London Pulse faced North East Phoenix at the University of Brunel. Still unbeaten, Pulse were determined to make it 8 wins out of 8 to continue their winning streak. After training hard to build on connections and structures, it was time to face a strong North East side. 

Starting seven:

GS – Coco Williams

GA – Hannah Gibson

WA – Daisy Beer

C – Summer Chapman

WD – Beth Long

GD – Ellie Sadler

GK – Zaneya Cunningham 

Substitutions: Evie Light, Emily Greensmith, Lois Levy, Temi Dawodu, Tami Fapohunda

Quarter 1:

Straight out of the blocks, North East scored from their first centre pass, so it was down to Pulse to level that. However, a strong wall of defence from both Sadler and Cunningham meant that some crucial turnovers were made, seeing Pulse take an early lead. With incredible shooting from Williams and Gibson as well as pin-point feeds from Chapman and Beer, Pulse continued to increase their lead with a great starting performance, causing problems for the North East defence. A final push at the end of the quarter, with forced errors caused by Long and outstanding pressure in the defensive circle, the girls managed to secure an amazing 9-goal lead. Quarter 1 score: 19-10

(Changes for quarter 2 = Cunningham to GD, Sadler to GK)

Quarter 2:

Wanting to push on from their strong start, Pulse continued to show their skill with their slick through-court attack and outstanding shooting. With great centre pass structures, Beer and Gibson dominated with quick drives and change of direction. A 7-player effort on defence also causing a lot of pressure, leading to held balls that were then converted to goals. Sadler leading her defensive end and shutting down lots of ball in the circle, with Cunningham backing her up and causing major problems for the North East attack. Widening their lead even more, the girls continued their hard work and put themselves into a great position going into the second half. End of quarter 2 score: 35-17

(Changes for quarter 3 = Greensmith on at GS, Light on at WD, Fapohunda on at GD)

Quarter 3:

With the physicality increasing after a few changes from North East, it was important for Pulse to step up and keep their heads. With impact straight away from Light and Fapohunda on centre pass defence, Pulse were able to capitalise on these turnovers with speedy through-court play and great shooting from Greensmith. Sadler also taking some crucial interceptions, making it difficult for the North East attack to keep their flow. With dominating drives and flawless play from Chapman and Beer, they were able to secure some great feeds into Gibson. Outstanding play from the whole team meant that Pulse maintained their convincing lead going into the final quarter. End of quarter 3 score: 49-23

(Changes for quarter 4 = Gibson to GS, Levy on at GA, Dawodu on at WD, Sadler to GD, Fapohunda to GK)

Quarter 4: 

Going into the final 15 mins with a few changes, Pulse needed to adapt quickly to continue their strong performance. With insane pressure in the defensive circle, both Fapohunda and Sadler made some crucial turnovers which were then converted to goal. Great impact from Dawodu saw some forced errors made by North East, and non-stop hard work from Chapman at C meant Pulse transitioned the ball quickly down court which Gibson finished with the goal. With 5 minutes left, Pulse saw Long enter the court again at WA, with Beer moving to C and Chapman taking the bench. Continued slick play from the attack saw some great feeds from the mid court, and Levy on the scoreboard. With all 12 players getting on court, some great contest and outstanding talent demonstrated by London Pulse, the girls took the win against North East Phoenix. 

Final Score: 62-37

OPOM – Ellie Sadler, for her constant defensive pressure and outstanding intercepts!

CPOM – Coco Williams, for her incredible long-range and accurate shooting!

Thankyou to North East for a well contested match and to the umpires and officials. Also a big thankyou to everyone who came to watch and support London Pulse! One final push now as Pulse face Central Warriors next week for their last game of the season!

Finally on Sunday our U17s were up facing Team Bath, looking to take the final win to complete the weekend for the club

U17 Match report by Brogan Bostock

Since their last NPL match against Mavericks with a strong win, Pulse U17s went into the next round against Bath feeling ready after two more weeks of hard training having the chance to continue to build connections and structures.

Starting 7

GS Mia

GA Ella C

WA Ash

C Brogan

WD Ava

GD Evie L

GK Zaneya

Pulse had the first centre pass but made an error giving Bath possession but they couldn’t get it into the shooting circle with the pressure from Evie and Zaneya at the back helping Pulse gain possession again and get the first goal 2 minutes in. The defence continuously turned over the ball and with the help of Ava driving the ball through the court, Ash consistently gave accurate feeds into Mia holding strongly under the post. Pulse started strongly having a lead of 11-4 with 4 minutes left of the quarter. Pulse had a slight drop in momentum allowing Bath to shorten the gap finishing the quarter 13-9 to Pulse.

Changes for Q2: Katie at WD and Evie S at GK.

Pulse couldn’t take their first centre to goal but the excellent tracking of both Evie’s at the back resulted in Evie S coming out with a strong intercept to win the ball back for Pulse, in which they took to goal. Ella C doing strong drives and playing herself to post helped Pulse get a stronger lead. A tactical change saw Sophie enter the court at WA just over 4 minutes into the quarter. A great feed from Sophie to Mia under the post who then scored left the score 18-13 to Pulse with 8 minutes until halftime. Excellent tracking from Katie on circle edge getting around her player resulted in her getting an intercept in which Pulse took to goal. A strong pass from Brogan into Mia under the post helped Pulse gain a nine goal lead which not long after was a 10 goal lead. Sophie also worked hard in defence getting an intercept in the middle third contributing to the half time score of 28-16 to Pulse.

Q3 changes: Ash to WA and Coco to GS

Pulse didn’t have a great start after half time with it taking them 3 minutes before they got their first goal which was by Coco. Shortly after, Sophie re-entered the court at WA to help settle the attack. Excellent work from Ella coming down to help defend on Bath’s centre pulse saw her win the ball but unfortunately the Pulse attack were still unsettled making unforced errors and couldn’t take it to goal. The defence unit tracked tightly resulting in Evie L coming out with strong intercepts. Pulse got back their 10 goal lead with the help of Coco driving out to create space and then driving to post to get another goal. Katie yet again tracked tightly, coming out with a tip which she chased down and managed to keep on court with the help of Sophie backing her up. A quick roll from Coco leaving her free under the

post and an accurate feed from Ella resulted in her getting another goal. The score after quarter three was 36-27 to Pulse.

Q4 changes: Zaneya to GD

Pulse got the first goal of the quarter. Shortly after, Evie S got a pickup at the back and with the help of Zaneya driving the ball through the court, Coco got another goal. Shortly after, Zaneya came out with a strong rebound followed by an intercept shortly after. With 9 minutes left of the quarter, Holly came on at C and Mia at GS, so Coco moved out to GA and Brogan moved to WA. Another change saw Ava come back on at WD. Pulse lost the ball in the attack but the attack tracked tightly to win the ball back allowing Brogan to come out with an intercept which this time Pulse took to goal. Evie S came out with a flying intercept and managed to keep it on court with Zaneya managing to pick it up. Changes saw Zaneya move back to GK and Katie re-enter the court at GD. An unforced error saw Pulse lose the ball in the attack but that didn’t stop Holly from winning the ball back down the court. The final score was 46-35 to Pulse.

Opposition’s player of the match went to Evie L for her constant tracking and interceptions in the defence- picking up from where she left off in the last match- and coaches player of the match went to Katie for her tight tracking and work rate throughout the whole game.

Pulse U17s would like to thank the umpires and officials, and to anyone who came to support London Pulse.

Our academy squads all now prep for their final NPL matches next weekend.