Birmingham sat fourth in their league following the first half of the season, so post-Christmas break they would have been looking for a positive result to kick start their season. Neither side had played since before Christmas, so they were both well rested and ready for an intense match. The last time these two teams played, Birmingham lost 66-33. Leeds Beckett sat in second in the league going into this encounter and after their defeat last time out UoB knew that they had to come out fighting if they were going to win this game.
From the first centre pass Birmingham were intense in both their pace and agility. Maddie Turner the Birmingham Centre seemed to have a constant supply of energy as there was not a place on the court she wasn’t ready to receive a pass. Birmingham’s defence was composed and organised, especially in their defensive circle making life very hard for Leeds Beckett. The main reason for this impressive lead in the first quarter was Birmingham’s capability to capitalise on all interceptions and turnover balls. Brum dominated this first quarter with excellent shooting from Ashley Thomas- Rowe and Emily Sutton which allowed the Lions to secure a win in the first quarter of 15-6.
The second quarter was a more equal game between both sides with Birmingham’s intensity remaining high, however Leeds Beckett’s hunger for the win increased. The Birmingham shooters remained consistent in this quarter still getting the majority of shots in and working well in their attacking circle to demand the best position for their shot. Leeds Becket shooters woke up in this second quarter which meant that Birmingham’s lead narrowed, so at half time the score stood at 24-17 to Birmingham.
The atmosphere in the Munrow Centre was fantastic with many friends, family and other UoB netball teams showing their support and willing the girls on.
The second half demonstrated a more physical game than the previous half. Although the physicality was noticed in the first half, Birmingham increased their fight even more in the final half. Physicality plays a vital role in any team sport, however since netball is a non-contact sport, most people in the crowd seemed shocked at the amount of contact that wasn’t being penalised by the umpires. Birmingham opted for a very physical game which clearly aided in them securing a win in the first half, however with different umpires they may have been greatly penalised for this.
But Brum let their standards slip in the third quarter, appearing fatigued after their impressive and intense first half. Leeds Becket exploited this, allowing them to narrow the gap throughout this quarter. Birmingham made basic errors in this quarter such as poor passes making it easy for Leeds to turn over the ball and have their shooters score. At the end of this third quarter Birmingham were no longer in the lead but were now losing 31-29.
From the atmosphere on the court in the final quarter it was clear that Birmingham were panicked. They needed to relax and trust themselves, as they know how well they can play. However, this panic continued, leading into the final score being 47-37 to Leeds Becket. Unfortunately, in the final quarter Birmingham shooters accuracy drifted off due to Leeds Becket tightening up in defence meaning that it became almost impossible for them to score.
Birmingham were clearly disheartened by this result as now meant that they have lost the last five games in a row. There are so many positives to take away from this game including their fantastic intensity and physicality of their first half. If they put in a performance similar to their one in the first half here, they have a good chance of ending their negative streak.