Total dominance in centre court brought about a crushing 54-34 victory over the Old Enemy to stretch Nottingham’s overall lead in the Series to 6-2.
Centre court domination from Nottingham trio Sophie Freemantle, Harriet Johnston and Frankie Jaffa suffocated Trent from the second quarter onwards in what ended up as a slight anti-climax so extensive was Nottingham’s domination. Goal Shooter, Rochelle Powell, notched up an incredible 47 points scoring more than both Trent shooters combined, and by some margin.
The first quarter, as captain Johnston was to comment after the match, was a case of Nottingham feeling their way into the game. Nottingham looked to establish what would prove to be the killer outlet going forward, the long, floated passes from Freemantle and Johnston into Powell, whose shooting was near flawless. Trent however, started the match slightly the better and got their noses in front early on with some quick attacking play. The first quarter was very much a case of the teams feeling each other out before pushing on- but it was clear that if Trent could not keep a lid on those passes to Powell, they were stuffed. At the end of the first quarter the score stood at 13-10 to Nottingham with neither side having really revealed their hand.
The second quarter decided the game. Freemantle at Centre was dominant in centre court, completely dwarfing her Trent counterpart- who was soon substituted- while Johnston, at Wing Attack, was able to create space with which Trent’s defence seemed unable to deal. Nottingham’s hegemony in possession was in large part down to the ball-winning and defensive capabilities of Jaffa who was successful in ruining Trent’s own possession. From here Freemantle and Johnston put pass upon pass into Powell who seemed to have a tractor-beam running from the end of her arm to the Trent net. With possession few and far between, Trent’s shooters appeared to become aware of the increasing pressure on every shot, knowing that possession was scarce and that Powell was knocking them in at the other end with a fine display in the air, continually plucking the ball out of the sky. This combined with some impressive defensive work from Goal Defence, Beth Ashurst and Goal Keeper, Hattie Shaw, left Trent wiped out by half-time with the score at 30-14.
Already the game was over as a contest and the trends that had been established in the second quarter did not let up until late on in the final quarter when Trent had a little flourish scoring five unanswered points. The match ended 54-34, a thrashing in netball terms and the match as a whole and in particular that second quarter, was a credit to the sport.
Picking an MVP (Most Valuable Player) is extremely difficult. Powell’s 47 points is difficult to argue with but Freemantle’s dominance in the centre court was quite remarkable- at times it was like women against girls. A toss up between the two certainly. The difference ultimately was Nottingham’s centre court axis of Jaffa, Johnston and Freemantle that tore Trent to pieces for half an hour and established a lead that was insurmountable given Powell’s dexterity by the net. Trent’s shooters would have perhaps had a better day had they had more possession. The lack of ball they received meant that every shot had to go in, a pressure that the pair struggled with. The most one-sided Varsity match yet and thank goodness it went our way. Decent work girls.
Nottingham: GS, R. Powell; GA, G. Rule; WA, H. Johnston (c); C, S. Freemantle; WD, F. Jaffa; GD, B. Ashurst; GK, H. Shaw. Replacements: L. Juniper (GD), M. Stevenson (GA), T. Cheung (WA).
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