Netball 1st Girls Reach Last 16 of Smile Cup | Epsom College
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Netball 1st Girls Reach Last 16 of Smile Cup

Losing possession on the first pass was not the ideal start to the game and Eastbourne took an early two-goal lead. However, the girls quickly regrouped, settled the nerves and pulled back to even the score and then dominated to have a run of five unanswered goals to pull ahead.

As the game progressed, the play through the court improved, with the girls reading off each other better and giving options on the ball, to produce some lovely untouchable play through the court.

Combined with excellent defence by every single player, which forced Eastbourne to make errors, and some key interceptions by Ebube Akojie (Wh) and Heidi Warren (Rv) in circle defence, Epsom were able to extend their lead through every quarter and take a convincing win.

India Binnie (R) and Ellie Thwaites (M) in the shooting circle have developed much more of an awareness of each other and worked hard to ensure they played as a unit. Their shooting was excellent, and on the rare occasion they missed, they fought hard for the rebound. Natascha Penwarden (Cr) started nervously in the centre position, but soon found her momentum to be a key player through the court both in attack and defence.

Elisabeth Phizackerley (Cr) could be relied upon to play calm, intelligent netball, making good decisions and ensuring possession was maintained in the attacking third. Jennifer Phizackerley (Cr) worked tirelessly to limit the Eastbourne Wing Attack’s impact, and was crucial at bringing the ball through the court effectively.

The strength of the bench in the Epsom team was clearly evident when in the third quarter Izzy Mitchell (R) and Hannah Palmer (M) came on in the Wing Defence and Wing Attack positions. Their slightly different styles of play gave Eastbourne something more to think about, with Izzy Mitchell showing great vision to give the long ball through court when in attack, and holding up her WA to deny her the circle edge when in defence.

Hannah Palmer’s movement and positioning was excellent, with her balancing the court, timing her moves well and being available when needed. She linked seamlessly with Ellie and India in the circle, being patient with her pass, and placing the ball well. Last but not least, Grace Crompton (R) gave a much-needed burst of energy to keep the momentum going, coming on as Centre in the last quarter. She read off her teammates excellently, making strong drives when needed, but ensuring she played the link role of the Centre. Her drives to the circle edge were excellent, and her positioning round the circle saw some lovely quick interplays between her and the shooters.

A great squad effort, with every girl making a significant impact, and a deserved win to take the team through to the last 16 in the cup.

WON 52-36