Wins in the First Two Rounds of NPL for Pulse U19s
U19 Round 1: 55 Pulse – 36 Loughborough Lightning
Match report by Amani Kohler
Starting line up:
Tami Fapohunda Sasha Howard Izzi Phillips Sophia Shalabi Hannah Knightbridge Hannah Gibson Hannah Anyanwu
Amani Kohler Ronnie Thomas Coco Williams Ellie Sadler Alice Obrien
For London Pulse U19’s first fixture we travelled to Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village to play against Loughborough Lightning in the opening weekend. We were expecting a very competitive game but one we could definitely win. This being the first game of the season limited our ability to study our opponents before but the hopes for our first game were very high.
In quarter one we set out with the intention to start fast and never let them into the game. We started with our first centre and brought it quickly down to goal, and after a couple mistakes, an exception interception from Sophia, a tip from Hannah K in the centre third and a clean take from Tami in the D, we scored off our first centre pass. With Hannah G getting a stunning 100% shooting statistic and multiple tips and interceptions from many of the girls, we ended the quarter with a clear lead of 18-9.
Changes at the beginning of quarter 2: Hannah K off Alice O to WA
The quarter started off with a couple mistakes from both sides resulting in the first few minutes having a low score line. However, the speed begun to pick up after some tips from Alice and Izzi and a clean take from Sophia in the centre third. Whilst the quarter did end with Lightning closing the gap by two goals (11-13 quarter score), there were some excellent passages of play through court from Pulse. Often ending in great movement and shots from both Hannah G and Hannah A. Some lovely tips in the defensive circle from Tami and Sasha maintained the pressure on the Lightening shooters.
Changes at the beginning of quarter 3: Sophia and Tami off Sasha back to GK, Izzi back to GD, Alice back to C Ellie on at WD, Hannah K on to WA
To start off quarter 3, Pulse took the first centre. After losing the ball early, Sasha made an excellent tip in the defensive D to bring the ball down court. Finally Pulse started the third quarter off with a good feed from Hannah K and a goal from Hannah A. Even with lots of pressure from the defence through court and a couple Lightning passes off their backline, Pulse begun the third quarter looking a little rushed. Halfway through the third quarter Amani came on. In the second half of the
third quarter Pulse’s pressure throughout court transferred the stress back onto Lightning. The attacking combinations also maintained the strong feeds and shots and eventually Pulse finished the quarter up by 40-32 (11-10 in the third quarter).
Changes at the beginning of quarter 4: Sasha off Tami on to GK
Pulse came on to quarter four looking confident. With some strong pressure from the midcourt and interceptions from Tami, Hannah K, Hannah G, Izzi, etc. the team begun to pull away. As the fourth quarter continued Pulse grew their lead. After some changes of Coco to GS and then Ronnie to GA, the team ended on a high with the ball being forced off the backline by Izzi in GD and a final whole team attack.
The final score ended at 55-36 to London Pulse after some strong competition throughout. Hannah Anyanwu was named opposition Player of the Match after shooting brilliantly and London Pulse came away with a confident win, only wavering very slightly in the middle. The team left Nottingham with high hopes for the season and game ahead. Saracens Mavericks were our next opponents on the coming Saturday (10th December) and we left the opening weekend feeling ready to take them on.
Thank you to Loughborough Lightning for an excellent and challenging game, to all the officials and umpires, and to the supporters from both sides.
U19 Rd 2: SARACENS MAVERICKS 34 LONDON PULSE 67
Match report by Ronnie Thomas
On a cold but bright Saturday morning Pulse U19s travelled to Hertfordshire Sport Village to take on Saracens Mavericks, with the ultimate objective of making it two wins from two and to go into the Christmas break unbeaten. On the other hand Saracen Mavericks having given Manchester Thunder a really good game the previous week were keen to gain their first win of the season.
The starting seven was as follows ;-
GS – Hannah Anyanwu
GA – Hannah Gibson
WA – Hannah Knightsbridge
C – Sophia Shalabi
WD – Izzi Phillips
GD – Sasha Howard
GK – Tami Fapohunda
Bench – Zaneya Cunningham, Alice O’Brien, Ellie Sadler, Ronnie Thomas, Coco Williams
Pulse clearly meant business and were extremely fast out the blocks, quickly building up a healthy advantage before Mavericks had time to settle into the game. Pulse continued to frustrate Mavericks with some excellent defending throughout the whole court, and with the defence looking sharp at picking up any rebounds had established a lead of 19-7 at the end of Q1.
Q2 changes – No Team Changes
If the 1st Quarter was all about Pulse’s defending the second was all about their attacking skills. The transition from defence to attack with slick passes was very attractive to watch, and with feeds coming in at all angles it was very difficult for Mavericks to defend. The shooters with great accuracy ensured the chances were taken and at half time Pulse had extended their lead out to 38-15.
Q3 changes – Alice to C, Ellie to GD, Sasha to GK
The 3rd quarter continued in the same vein as the first half, Pulse’s work rate was extremely high, and a key factor in continuing to make it hard for Maverick’s to penetrate Pulse’s defence. Pulse won the quarter by 9 and meant that their lead now stood at 53-21.
Q4 changes – Coco to GS, Ronnie to WA, Zaneya to WD
Q4 mid Q changes – Ronnie to GA, Hannah K to WA, Izzi to C
The 4th quarter saw Mavericks produce their best netball of the match, their passes flowed freely allowing them to create far more chances. However, Pulse stayed focused to the end taking the quarter by one 14-13
Final Score – Saracen Mavericks 34 London Pulse 67
Player of the Match – Hannah Anyanwu – always making herself available in the circle and excellent shooting stats.
Thank you Mavericks for a tough competitive match, and for being fantastic hosts, also to the umpires and officials who did a great job as always. Finally we would like to thank all the supporters from both sides who added to the atmosphere, and it was great to see some Superleague players supporting us from the balcony – it is much appreciated.