A fantastic win by the 1st VII to progress to the quarterfinals of the Independent Schools Cup. A squad of 10 travelled to Portsmouth with every girl making an impact on court. In the opening quarter, it was clear the game was going to be close. Both sides played excellent netball, rarely making errors.Calm and controlled play by Adahna Ekoku (Rv), Ellie Cooke (R) and Elizabeth Phizackerley (Cr) in centre court and confident shooting by Ellie Thwaites (M) and India Binnie (R) proved crucial.
Team changes were made at the quarter break and the girls started to put the pressure on defensively with, in particular, Ebube Akojie (Wh) hunting the ball exceptionally well, frustrating the Portsmouth attack and helping to secure crucial interceptions. The ball was played excellently through the court by Jennifer Phizackerley (Cr), Sophie Rhodes (R), Ellie Cooke and Elizabeth Phizackerley and delivered safely to the shooting partnership of Ellie Thwaites and India Binnie who maintained their shooting accuracy against strong Portsmouth defence – putting up shots from wherever they were in the circle and with a shooting percentage of over 90%. The girls finished the half four goals up.
Team changes going into the crucial third quarter worked well, with Ellie Cooke switching the centre role with Grace Crompton (R), who was playing in the 1st team for the first time. Hannah Palmer (M) came on as Wing Attack and gave a new impetus to the Epsom girls’ attacking play and they continued to pull ahead. Going into the last quarter they were eight goals up.
An injury to key shooter India Binnie momentarily slowed the girls’ determination but Elizabeth Phizackerley took back the Wing Attack position and Hannah Palmer stepped into the Goal Attack role seamlessly, taking on the Portsmouth defence strongly. Ellie Thwaites in the Goal Shooter position played her best netball to date. She was unstoppable, dominating her excellent Goal Keeper and continuing with excellent shooting.
Despite Portsmouth’s best efforts to eat away at the Epsom lead, they were unable to and Epsom hung on to keep the goal difference at 8 and take the win 33 goals to 25.
Players of the Match: Ellie Thwaites (M) and Ebube Akojie (Wh)