St John's School, Leatherhead 1st VII vs Epsom College
On: Saturday, 04 Feb 2017
A local derby like no other, the 1st VII were away to Epsom College on Saturday, looking for a win, in remaining undefeated. The netball club have a number of teams still undefeated, one of them being the U14A VII side who have had some impressive wins against some very strong Schools. As a netball club we were all very keen to try and beat our local rivals, Epsom College, and training this week has been all geared to fight to the end.
The 1st VII's encounter against Epsom on Saturday was a very tough match. Without our defensive partnership missing the likes of Ellie Grove, we knew we may struggle in this area. The Epsom GA and GS were both around 6 foot in height, and we knew we would need to breakdown their attacking court early on in their centre pass set play. Ruby Breakspear worked her socks off a GK and then GD respectively, and she should be very proud of her performance having made the switch from the centre court. Grace Sullivan had an outstanding first quarter turning over ball after ball in the centre third. St John's went 4-1 up quickly in the first few minutes, but it was a battle of the shooting ends towards the end of the first quarter with nether team letting up. Going in to the break, Epsom were biting at the heels of the St John's side to make it 7-6 to St John's. It was much of the same in the 2nd quarter, an unknown switch of Melanie Hyde to WD and Upper Fifth Pippa Hansford to C proved dividends in the first part, however, Epsom capitalised on our missed shots and were able to creep back once again, this time St John's again were up, but only just at 17-15.
During the 3rds quarter Epsom came out firing, and at once stage the score was 22-22 apiece. Natasha Davison worked tirelessley in getting to the circle edge to feed the shooters, but we struggled to penetrate the middle positioning of the shooting circle and the Epsom defence were enjoy the turnover rate here. However, in the last few moments, St John's scored 2 further goals right at the end of this quarter to make it 23-21. Moving into the final quarter, so much was at stake. The netball club had never beaten Epsom at 1st VII level in their history, and there seemed to be a lot of pressure about this leading up to this match. At one stage in the final quarter, Epsom got within 1 goal, but it was Jasmine Cornish who pulled the team through to slot 5 consecutive goals on the bounce, under huge amounts of pressure. Cornish was bashed around quite a lot in the defensive end, but she managed to be the 1st VII's game changer, but doing exactly what were asked of her. A true games player, and a much deserved Most Valuable Player at the end of tight 36-28 win against Epsom College.
A true triumph for the Netball club as well as the School! Winning the block 11 out of 15 matches.