After a short break from fixtures, last Wednesday saw the UOB Netball 1s return to competitive play, with a dominant 81-29 win over the University of Gloucestershire 1s. The result places the team into the semi finals of the BUCS National Championship, bringing the girls one step closer to a spot in the final held on big BUCS Wednesday.
Despite Birmingham’s consistently strong performances across the season, uncertainty loomed heading into the match. With both teams having convincing wins in the run up to the quarters, it was very much anyone’s game to take. As the girls warmed up, we spoke to 5th team members who explained what progression into the semi’s would mean for the girls on court. Having had the 19/20 season cut short weeks before they were due to play in the BUCS final along with the cancellation of the following season, older members of the squad were robbed of a potential BUCS win. Alongside the younger members, the prospect of the semis would push the team one step closer to an exciting BUCS final experience.
From the start of the first quarter, it was clear UOB had the fight to overcome a strong Gloucestershire side. Collaborative moves from WA and GA brought energy to the attacking play, allowing for smooth transitions from the center pass right into the hands of the GS. With outstanding accuracy of both passes and shots, the home side finished quarter one with a respectable lead. Heading into the second and third with the confidence of an early lead, UOB continued to rack up the points. Gloucestershire struggled to shake the nerves from the first quarter, leading to a few sloppy passes easily intercepted by the strong Birmingham defense. Steadfast performances from UOB’s WD and GD laid on the pressure in the center third, forcing the away side to look for passes back to their defensive players as a result. A Gloucestershire substitution prompted a stronger attack in the third quarter, yet Birmingham was quick to respond. From the beginning of the match all the way into the fourth quarter, UOB’s GK fiercely won rebounds back into Birmingham’s possession. Together with unshakable marking that denied Gloucestershire of their shooting options, this standout performance won them player of the match. As the buzzer called the end of the final quarter, the home side’s honorable performance had earned them an 81-29 win over their opponents.
Wednesdays comfortable win provides added determination for the 1s as they progress into the Semifinals of the National trophy. Scheduled for the 9th March, Birmingham will face Exeter 1s, where we wish them all the luck as they continue their quest for the BUCS national title.