After losing their last three matches, Birmingham needed a win more than anything, with this being the final game before the Christmas break. Manchester sat in 5th place, just below Birmingham, meaning there was all to play for.
At the end of the first quarter, the score line showed the teams were quite evenly balanced, with Birmingham slightly edging it to lead 13-11. However in the first quarter Emily Sutton and Ashley Thomas- Rowe hadn’t quite got their eye in which meant a few key shots were missed leading to a turnover in possession and this is where Manchester capitalised, cutting down the Lions’ lead to a slender two points.
In the second quarter, the match became a lot more physical with both teams fighting for points fiercely. Manchester were controlling the game, holding possession and getting goals, although the Birmingham shooters had had warmed up, they were unable to stop the torrent of points from the away side. Despite the score remaining quite close through this quarter, in the final few minutes Manchester just pushed past the Lions to end the first half leading 28-16.
— BurnFM Sport (@BurnFM_Sport) December 9, 2015
It must be noted that the atmosphere in the Munrow Sports Centre which began so positive soon became unpleasant. By the end of the first half a large crowd had developed. Some fellow netball players who were cheering on their friends and team mates, but some individuals were there todo more than support the team. The alcohol was flowing, and they were obnoxiously booing Manchester for scoring and chanting personal songs about Birmingham players. This is not the sort of atmosphere that is ideal for a netball match, where at times, especially shooting, silence is needed. And it seemed the rowdier the crowd got the more panicked the Birmingham side got, which unfortunately had a diverse effect on their performance.
The third quarter unfortunately is where the score line widened and not in the favour of Birmingham. Manchester were off straight from the first whistle in this quarter and demonstrated that although Birmingham appeared to be stronger throughout the court, a few key players can dictate the game. Manchester’s GA was an outstanding player, rarely missing a shot from any position in the D and with no rebounds for the Birmingham defence to turn over player from Manchester’s lead kept increasing. What the Lions didn’t do was attempt to block the Manchester GA out of the game and if they had the score would most likely have been a lot tighter as she was the reason that Manchester were winning. By the end of the third quarter it was 44-32 to Manchester.
In the fourth and final quarter, Birmingham narrowed their gap in the score line. However this was not enough as Manchester won the game 55-46. Birmingham kept going throughout the final quarter, keeping their heads up and doing everything they could to narrow the score. It was the third quarter that let them down as that is where the game was lost for them. It was an unlucky loss, one that Birmingham didn’t deserve. The Lions now move down into 5th place in the BUCS League. A disappointing result going into the Christmas break, they’ll look to bounce back in their next game against Leeds Beckett in February.