Santander International Match Reports 07 January 2024
A great first game back after the Christmas period. Despite the break both teams came out strong. Castletown Celts begun with just 5 players but that didn’t slow them down scoring 6 goals in the first quarter. Balla just managed to take the lead 9-6. The second quarter started off an even match going goal for goal. Despite the brilliant efforts from Castletown’s shooters, Ballasalla’s defence made it very tough work for them in the goal third. A couple of incredible interceptions from the defence took Ballasalla clear in the lead to 21-13.
Castletown’s defence made work hard for the Ballasalla shooters in the third quarter but a change in pace and tactics for Ballasalla had them take a strong ending the quarter 33-18. The final quarter showed both teams fighting until the end, proven by the final scores. Castletown shooters were brilliant, not missing a shot from anywhere they put it up in the circle. Unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to take the lead and Ballasalla won the game 49-30.
POTM: Ness Farren (Ballasalla)
Despite a few festive weeks off, both Manx Gems Sapphires and Route 1 Volts blew out the Christmas cobwebs immediately from the first centre pass. Volts centre Gracie Burns blasted out of the blocks taking no prisoners, making good decisions in attack and countless intercepts in defence. Her Sapphires counterpart, Ellie Treanor, stepped up to the challenge, creating a brilliantly contested and good-natured battle between the two mid-courters from start to finish. Cracking intercepts seem to be in the Burns family genes, as Gracie's sister Isobel came up with multiple turnovers of her own at GD for Volts thanks to the opportunities created by Volts GK Dawn Worthington cutting off other options. Similar bouts unravelled throughout the entire court, all of which made for a great goal-for-goal opening quarter. Volts just got the edge though, they went into the second quarter one goal ahead, 5-4. There continued to be little between the two sides. Volts GS Sue Webster acted as a strong holding shooter in the circle, giving clear offers for the over ball whilst allowing GA Iselin Keeling to create space for different feeds thanks to her lovely, intelligent movement. Both shot calmy and effectively in the face of fantastic pressure from Sapphires GD Jess Hawkins and GK Eli Kostadinova. Hawkins showed her netball prowess out the circle too, bringing the ball down court strongly in attack and applying smothering tracking in defence. A sliver of light began to appear towards the end of quarter 2, making the score at half time Sapphires 11, Volts 9.
Volts made changes going into the third quarter. Connie Keig moved to GA for Volts, bringing a calmness and brilliant attacking front cuts and drives onto the ball with her. In the mid-court, fiercely contested match-ups played out between both sides' WA and WD. Aimee Doran remained ever unflappable in the face of excellent pressure put on by Sapphires Abi Cambell. Meanwhile, Volts WD Fern Corlett came out with lots of tips and turnovers thanks to her mixing up her defensive tactics between man-marking and looking for ball against Sapphires WA Emily Brown who fed the circle solidly throughout the whole match. Sapphires started to push into a higher gear though thanks to numerous exceptional swish shots courtesy of their GS Poppy Brown and GA Sienna Thatcher. They smashed their third quarter, coming away 21-11 ahead. After an impressive surge of 10 goals in the third quarter, Volts managed to keep Sapphires to just 3 goals in the fourth and final one. However, the same can be said for Sapphires. Mistakes started creeping in for both sides, leading to a continually well-fought match but few goals scored in the last 12 minutes of the game. Despite that, it can't be said that either team didn't continue to work hard and give everything they had right until the final whistle blew.
POTM: Jess Hawkins (Manx Gems)