The St Andrews Netball 1st team cemented their place alongside the Edinburgh 1s atop the Scottish 1A League thanks to a comfortable 52-43 victory over Edinburgh 2s on Saturday 29 October.
The general feeling coming from the Saints camp before the game was that it would be close but that Saints were marginal favourites to take the game. That closeness in skill level was apparent from the get-go with both sides moving the ball quickly around the court and scoring with decent regularity. St Andrews led 4-3 after five minutes, suggesting that the game was going to be just as close as the fixture the previous year that saw Edinburgh triumph 52-44.
St Andrews led throughout the first quarter but never by any more than two points until a late flurry at the end of the first quarter saw them lead 14-9.
Saints began the second quarter in the same vein and their lead was soon extended to nine points thanks to some pinpoint shooting. Their impressive attacking play was combined with some impressive interceptions and defensive organisation, something that was clearly affecting the Edinburgh side who began to miss with some regularity.
The pace of the game decidedly dipped during the second quarter, which led Saints coach Heather Gaunt to call for more intensity and quicker ball movement. That sentiment, however, was heeded by both teams who traded points to finish the quarter, with St Andrews 25-19 ahead at the halfway stage.
The best word to describe the third quarter would be even. Both sides appeared to be suffering from fatigue as their passes increased in length and more mistakes crept into the play. Edinburgh managed to close the gap to four points at one stage but the pinpoint accuracy of the St Andrews shooters proved too much and they ended up pushing the gap back out to 6 by the end of the quarter with St Andrews leading 36-30.
If fatigue had begun to settle in during the third quarter, the introduction of substitutes by both sides revitalised the game and both sides enjoyed their highest scoring quarter. Saints began the final fifteen minutes with a 6-2 run which pushed the lead out to a game high 10 points. The game had really opened out into an exciting end-to-end affair with neither side passing up shooting opportunities afforded to them. However, it was St Andrews who would edge the quarter 16-13 and finish the game 52-43 up.
That victory is their third of the season, following on from earlier wins against Glasgow and Strathclyde. The 1st team continue their campaign next weekend with a trip to Edinburgh to face the Edinburgh 1st team, who also remain unbeaten after three games but top the table thanks to superior points difference.
Both the St Andrews 2nd and 3rd Netball teams were also successful on a bumper day of action at the Sports Centre. The 2nd team comprehensively beat Aberdeen’s second team 51-26 to secure their second win of the season, whilst the 3rd team thumped the Heriot-Watt second team 54-20 to earn their first victory of the season.
The quality of action throughout the morning was incredibly high and was very entertaining. I implore you, my fellow students, to check the Netball teams when they are next in action at home on Saturday 26 November against Heriot-Watt.