Yet again we head to Bower Park School, to represent the ladies of Wychelm with our usual creative curse words, sliding mid-court splits and our trademark bickering / banter…
By Katie Garner
The fast flurry of Ladies games has now hit its peak, with only three fixtures left to tick off our dwindling list. Tonight, Corinthians B were running the show at their green base in Bower Park School, Collier Row. Despite the frosty weather outside, we were fired up and raring to go, our win last week giving us a shot of unadulterated hope that a repeat performance could actually be on the cards. We were limbering up against Emerson Eagles and host side Corinthians B.
Against Emerson Eagles:
- 21-17 / 21-10
Rather a rare occurrence but one that is always a pleasure to welcome – the two game win. Emerson Eagles were not playing their usual pair tonight, using one of their substitutes, which may have affected their tactics and game plan. Regardless of that, we had our eye on the prize and our very own tactics to try and steal the win. We basically wanted to play to our strengths, and totally annihilate at the net with aggressive interceptive smashes and steals. As a plan, it actually worked very well, and our rotation seems to have improved so much, meaning that our court coverage is more widespread. We tried to stay in an attacking front and back formation, using rotation to cover the sides when necessary to cover all bases.
The first game, I think we were all hitting our stride which is why it was so close – almost like you’re sussing each other and the environment out. The incredibly annoying thing about playing at Corinthians is that their sports hall floor seconds as an unregistered ice rink. I have no clue what makes it so damn slippy, all I know is when I try and run anywhere, one foot goes in one direction, and my other foot slides in the other. All of us visitors were showing off the acrobatics with an array of intriguing looking squats, splits and slides that would have a gymnastics team in raptures. To be honest, we didn’t even know we were that flexible.
This game was great fun, as Eagles are always friendly anyway, but there were also numerous ‘jammy’ lucky shots that unforeseen to what was intended, just do their own thing anyway, trickling and plopping where they please. Definitely adds an element of surprise in the mix, usually when it is unwanted! However, at the end of this game, I feel we fought well and played to our advantages, which clearly worked against the pair from Eagles, who probably also weren’t as adjusted to playing with each other. All in all, a pleasing victory.
Against Corinthians B:
- 21-18 / 17-21 / 18-21
This one on the other hand, has got to be the most annoying game I have experienced in a while. What makes it so frustrating, is how incredibly close we came to winning. We had control at many points in the various games, but there was also a definite ebb and flow movement of momentum, for both us and Corinthians. They are also about the same level as us, and tonight, were also using very similar tactics, not being afraid to come to the net and play us at our own game. They also had a particularly strong player covering the back of the court, punishing any weak shots that we may have tentatively hovered over. The score lines themselves show the intensity and how close the games were – it really could have been anyone’s win. Just makes you want to hit your head against a brick wall when it isn’t you.
Our main tactics here were to clear it at the good net player when she was at the back, and to generally try and aim where they weren’t, again trying to emphasise and impose our strength at the front of the court. This pair in particular play a great deal of sneaky cross court shots, that mean excellent movement is a must from us and at times this was lacking (although I’m going to partly blame the floor – has to be done). They definitely playing us from side to side, cross court shots really being their forte, and sometimes it was difficult to get a good shot in edgeways. However, we held our end up and did take control of the net enough times to be problematic for them and it was by no means a walk in the park for any of us. The annoying thing again for us was our lack of closing ability, as all three games were pretty much neck and neck the whole way. We let them get a mini lead at the beginning of the last two games, so I suppose they always had that cushion, and we were always playing catch up – which is never a great place to be. On the whole though, a tight one.
What has been great about these past two weeks is that we are finally seeing some results and consistency from our hard work. We have been desperately trying to improve our ladies game for a while now, getting pairs of the blokes to take us on during club night for additional practice. Just goes to prove that the men shouldn’t be so fussy as this technique clearly works. I can even see a difference in our play, which is fascinating, and obviously the results are now finally coming through, with one win last week and one win this week, with our losing games again being tantalisingly close. It is simply so encouraging to see things coming together and to embrace an even more positive attitude that is laced with subtle hope. Fingers crossed we can continue this momentum, even though the next match isn’t until 13th February, and actually try not to come last this season.
It feels so good when the improvements start adding up. Thanks for all of your support team.