This weekend saw Burn FM’s return to the campus league courts in a valiant battle against a strong Heeley Road Ants squad. Heading into the fixture as one of the top teams in the league, the Ants posed as Burn’s first threat to their 3-game winning streak.
Spirits and numbers were high as the team descending on the sunny court five. With the return of Ella Kipling and Saskia Hirst after a reading week hiatus, the squad took to the court for the first quarter. Hirst’s unmatched agility prevailed over the opposition, and she was able to easily hold space underneath the net to put up shot after shot. Down at the other end of the court, dominant defensive play from Oscar Frost, Jasmine Sandhar and Lauren Frewin-Smith pressured the Ant’s centre passes, rewarding Burn with the early lead.
As the second quarter progressed, the Ants began to ease into play, providing energy that was eagerly matched by the Burn side. At the forefront of the effort was Cecilia Lockyer at Centre, who’s fluid play down court bolstered Burn’s counter-attack efforts. Kipling consistently drove in fiercely to receive the centre pass, working well alongside Bella Shepherd-Evans at Goal Attack to play the ball into Hirst. Nonetheless, the opposition fought well to gain the lead by the end of the quarter.
The energy and skill brought by the Ants called for a substitution in the form of new signing Joe Camp, who slotted into Wing Defense for the third quarter. Camp immediately began to assist the defensive efforts as the ants continued to drive into their attacking third. As Frost’s ankle decided to time out and force him to step off the court, Sandhar and Camp remained undeterred. Their combined efforts provided for exciting interceptions, much to the delight of our faithful supporters on the sidelines. Despite an earnest team performance, the Ants had begun to prove the stronger side. This suggests Burn did in fact party harder on the Saturday night.
Burn’s spirits remained high as they entered the final quarter. The physical dominance of Frost and Camp at Goal Keeper and Goal defense denied the ants of the looped ball plays they had been reliant on in earlier quarters. Now at Wing Defense, Sandhar renewed Burn’s attacking efforts, by providing vital support on the attacking third line. Coupled with Lockyer, the two encouraged dynamic play across the middle third, which earned Lockyer a well-deserved player of the match title. As the whistle signaled the end of the match, the Heeley Road Ants secured the win. Despite a loss, Burn Fm had much to celebrate. The pressure of a strong opposition brought out some of the best play as a squad thus far, and hopefully this momentum can be carried forward to future fixtures.