Strong finish sees Saints over the line

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St Andrews 1sts            34

Heriot-Watt 1sts           29

 

St Andrews 2nds          28

Glasgow 1sts                 29

 

St Andrews Netball 1sts dominated the final quarter of their match against grudge rivals Heriot-Watt, allowing them to claim victory in a hard-fought encounter.

There were entirely different emotions for the 2nd team, who surrendered their lead over Glasgow 1sts in the final minute of play, slipping to an extremely cruel defeat.

The Saturday morning double-header began with the 2nds’ game against Glasgow 1sts, who were top of BUCS Scottish 2A at the beginning of the day. However, Saints had beaten them in the reverse fixture.

The home side had much the faster start, rapidly taking a 4-0 lead. Their passing was far more fluid than Glasgow’s, who were also wasteful when in shooting positions.

By the end of the first period, the teams seemed more evenly matched, although Saints were holding onto their advantage at 9-4.

Come the second period, Glasgow grabbed five unanswered goals to cut the gap to 11-9, as the hosts’ passing suddenly went awry.

Saints did manage to stop the rot, and the away team’s profligacy in the goal circle returned.

That trend was not long-lived, however, and Saints found themselves increasingly under the cosh. Glasgow had seized the initiative, and with just one period to go and the score at 20-19, the hosts needed to rethink and re-jig their line-up.

That they did and they started the final period in determined fashion, dominating the opposition goal circle and moving 25-22 ahead.

Crucially, the visitors did not let their heads drop despite their disadvantage late in the game, and stayed in touch. When Saints were careless in possession in their own third they were punished, as Glasgow levelled it up at 27-27.

A final push from either side would win it. Saints thought they had it when they nudged one goal ahead, but the telling pressure then came from the away side. Glasgow turned the screw in the final minute and snatched the lead for the first time in the whole match, with time up seconds after.

It was a bitter blow for Saints, who had led for virtually the whole match, but they could never quite shake off their dogged opponents, who finished in the ascendancy.

The overall performance nonetheless pleased them, as did finding out that Glasgow had thought they were playing St Andrews’ 1st team.

The actual 1sts were on court straight after, aiming to hold onto their third place in BUCS Scottish 1A by defeating Heriot-Watt 1sts.

In contrast to the first match, the home side took their time getting into gear, rapidly conceding two goals without reply.

The rest of the first quarter saw Saints just about staying in touch but the visitors looked comfortable in maintaining their lead (7-10).

Saints captain Caroline Sargeant used the break to urge her team to remain calm and focus on cleaner passing. Those words, and a couple of substitutions, seemed to make their mark, as the home team steadily reduced the deficit and Heriot-Watt began making more frequent mistakes.

A brilliantly-worked move and score put Saints ahead at 13-12. Heriot-Watt, much to their credit, did not crumble and bit back to ensure the teams were level at 16-16 halfway through the match.

The sides appeared so evenly matched that neither could build up a decisive lead. Although the away team gained a four-point advantage during a particularly barren spell for the hosts, that lead was wiped out at 24-24 as Saints finished the quarter with more passes finding their mark and more shots finding the goal.

The final period was the one in which the home side finally tightened their grip on the game. They swiftly took the lead and did not relinquish it, as Sargeant in particular  proved herself too much of a handful for the visiting defence. Heriot-Watt did score the final goal of the game, but it could do nothing to change the result.

The day’s action brought two good performances from the Saints teams but two very different results. The 2nds know that they have a good solid base to build on, while the 1sts will have gleaned great pleasure from their ability to take control of a match that could have gone either way and force victory out of it.

 

 

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