Team Bath clocked up a 64-29 Fiat Superleague home victory – their fifth from six matches so far this season – against Glasgow Wildcats at the University of Bath Sports Training Village this evening.
The gulf in form between reigning champions Team Bath and a young Scottish side was evident from the start but Bath were disappointed that their victory was not more emphatic.
“I’m definitely disappointed that the margin wasn’t bigger”, said Team Bath coach Jess Garland who made wholesale changes to her line-ups at each quarter break. “We had the cohesive team performance against Leeds on Monday night whereas today was more about giving individuals and combinations the time to prove themselves on court”.
Home captain Pamela Cookey, at goal-attack, and goal-shooter Kirsty Delves scored freely in the opening quarter whilst the visitors struggled with stray passes in attack under the pressure of a robust Team Bath defence.
“There were moments throughout tonight’s match when we really sparkled and it was good that we established ourselves early on but I was disappointed that we weren’t ahead further after 15 minutes”, said Garland.
18 year-old Glasgow goal-attack Lynsey Gallagher, playing with seasoned international Lesley McDonald in the circle, was mobile but missed four potential scoring chances in an opening quarter that Team Bath took 15-6.
Home-side play-maker Stacey Francis switched from wing-defence to goal-defence in the second quarter and wing attack Katy Rose, sandwiched unintentionally, with six minutes of the quarter gone, to the detriment of her left knee at a centre pass, was replaced at wing-attack by Mia Ritchie.
Francis, who is in superb form this season, said: “As a whole team our defence is fantastic but we are not capitalising on the ball we’re getting. Against better opposition we will need to make them all count”.
Garland was pleased with the opportunity to mix and match her players ready for impending encounters with three of the league’s current top-four ranked teams.
“Everyone expects us to win [the league]”, explained Francis. “But this season is very different. We need to put in a consistent 60 minutes of netball in the next few matches rather than play well in patches. We’re never satisfied. We always want more”.
By half-time the score had moved to 29-14 in Bath’s favour helped by two noteworthy interceptions in the centre from Serena Guthrie who looked to be troubled at times by her knee which was taped up for the match.
Garland made eight more changes for the third quarter giving Scarlett Williams some court-time at wing-defence and Asha Tett at goal-attack.
“That is the best that Asha has played this season at both goal-attack and wing-attack”, said Garland. “She was very solid”.
If the Wildcats had hoped for a big revival they were disappointed. Team Bath piled on the misery moving to 34-15, and 42-17 before reaching the interval at 46-21.
“We coped with their physicality very well and contained the deficit. They didn’t run away with it”, said Wildcats’ coach Denise Holland who was clearly pleased with the play of some of her young charges.
The third quarter was characterised by some superb home defence again from Eboni Beckford Chambers, Francis and Gemma Fletcher. Time and again they closed down Wildcats’ attacking options forcing the turn-over ball.
Holland will have been gladdened by some good counter-attacks in the opening few minutes of the final quarter which Team Bath, in yet another formation after six changes, closed out 64-29 – Cookey scoring in the final 20 seconds.
Team Bath now face a tough run of three matches against the Fiat Superleague’s other top teams so far this season. They take on Northern Thunder on 7th March and table-toppers Mavericks at home on 18th March at 7.30pm followed by an away fixture on 26 March to Surrey Storm.
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Quarter scores (TeamBath first).
Q1: 15-6; Q2 14-8 (29-14); 17- 7(46-21); 18-8 (64-29)
TeamBath starting seven:
GS Kirsty Delves, GA Pamela Cookey (capt), WA Katy Rose, C Serena Guthrie, WD Stacey Francis, GD Gemma Fletcher, GK Eboni Beckford-Chambers.
Bench: Sam Perry, Rosie Allinson, Mia Ritchie, Asha Tett, Scarlett Williams
Q2 changes: Allison bench-GS; Delves GS – bench; Rose WA-bench; Francis WD-GD; Fletcher GD-WD; Q3 changes: Tett bench – GA; Cookey GA – GS; Rose Bench – WA; Ritchie WA-C; Williams bench – WD; Guthrie C-Bench; Fletcher WD –bench; Q4 changes: Beckford-Chambers Gk-GD; Francis GD – GK; Guthrie bench- WD; Delves bench – GS; Cookey GS – GA; Tett GA-WA.
Coach: Jess Garland
Glasgow Wildcats starting seven:
GS Lesley McDonald, GA Lynsey Gallagher, WA Samantha Murphy, C Karin Connell, WD Jayne Duncan, GD Claire Brownie, GK Hayley Mulheron
Bench: June McNeill, Rachel Holmes, Stephanie McGarrity, Jenna Storey, Jacy Brown
Q2 changes: None; Q3 changes: Brown bench – WD; Duncan WD – C; Connell C-WA; Murphy WA- bench; Q4 changes: (unavailable).
Coach: Denise Holland
Team Bath: Delves 12 from 17; Cookey 37 from 42; Allison 10 from 16; Tett 6 from 6.
Glasgow Wildcats: McDonald 26 from 33; Gallagher 3 from 10.
For further information please contact the Team Bath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 443998 or (01225) 383518 or out of hours for this match (07831) 755351