Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

#BearsDay- Netball 1st storm to victory

Walking into the large, spectator-packed, and annoyingly intimidating Brunel Netball hall, it was safe to say RHUL Netball 1st were feeling the pressure to win their first match of the season. However, once that first whistle blew, all nerves vanished and everyone was 100% focused and committed on winning the game against Brunel 2nds.

RHUL had first centre and within 30 seconds Captain Freya Fownes (GA) had scored. A massive sigh of relief was had by the whole team, as that first goal is crucial and gets everyone pumped to score more. Brunel with the next centre, and as hard as the defence worked, it was soon one all. 5 minutes in, and it was still level at 3 a piece. It’s safe to say at this point the team felt we just had to pull away, and that we did.

Alexa Hassan (C) and Roxy Dixon (WA) moved the ball beautifully up the court, passing to Sophie Humphrey (GS) who then scored an impressive goal, putting us in the lead. Next centre, defence put massive pressure on the Brunel shooters, with new girl and V-Captain Jess Godfrey (GD) managing to win the ball, with the help of Steph Grant (GK) and Hannah Lennox (WD). Back up the court the ball flew and soon we had broken away. By the time the whistle blew, RHUL were leading 14-8.

After a quick team talk and a small change in the team formation (Lennox as GK, and Kasia Chidlow as WD), the second quarter was under way. RHUL managed to keep their six goal lead, with some amazing shooting by Fownes (GA) and Humphrey (GS). With the help of some great interceptions by defenders Chidlow (WD) and Godfrey (GD), the goal difference was increasing. The half time whistle blew, and RHUL were in the lead, with the score at 23-15. Even though RHUL were winning, they definitely weren’t safe, as anything could happen in the second half.

No changes in the team in the third quater, and the team were looking hopeful. RHUL managed to maintain the lead – Lennox (GK) did some beautiful leaning, putting the shooters off, which resulted in quite a few misses by the Brunel attackers. All center court players had their work cut out for them, with their opposition sticking tight and making it hard to move the ball down the court. However Chidlow (WD), Hassan (C) and Dixon (WA) held their own, and by the end of the third quarter it was 33-27.

Heading into the last quarter there was one change in the team (Grant as GK), and the team were more determined than ever to keep the lead and win the game. Brunel worked hard, and managed to almost level the score, but this just motivated the RHUL girls to play their hearts out, and increase the goal difference again. With 1 minute to go, and RHUL being 8 goals in the lead, the team ended the match in high spirits, knowing they’d won their first match of the season.

Final whilst blown, and the score was finalised at 42-35. There were smiles, hugs and cheers of excitement as we came off the court, knowing that CIYK was only hours away, and we had even more reason to celebrate. Congratulations Firsts, everyone played their absolute best, and it was a thoroughly deserved win – now, to continue the season as we started.