Varsity 2013: Netball Post-match Report

29th March 2013

Varsity Super Wednesday kicked off with Netball at the Sports Centre on University Park campus, with a crowd of over 100 people there to enjoy the spectacle. Before the game, Nottingham University led the series 6-2 and what followed was a fantastic, very tense game which saw Nottingham Uni triumph 54-34. This Uni victory put them within just 1 point of overall Varsity victory at 7-2 and gave them a chance to retain the trophy with a win in the Lacrosse later the same day.

The 1st quarter was a edgy affair with both teams trying to work out and counter the other’s game tactics. Trent scored first in the opening minute but their lead didn’t last for long. Nottingham Uni’s goal shooter Rochelle Powell, who’s all of 6ft 4in tall, equalising and it was clear to see from the outset that Uni’s tactic revolved around get the ball as quickly as they could to Powell who towered over Trent’s goal keeper. The rest of the quarter saw Powell score 11 of Uni’s 13 baskets with Rule gaining the other 2 baskets. Trent, despite being very wasteful in possession at times and struggling to mark Powell, remained in the game at the end of the 1st quarter with the score 13-10 in the hosts’ favour.

Nottingham Uni came flying out of the blocks at the start of the 2nd quarter. Powell asserted her domination by scoring 8 baskets without reply to take the score to 21-10 as Trent continued to struggle with her presence and physicality in the goal area. Uni’s tactic was simple yet effective; Centre Sophie Freemantle would launch long and incredibly accurate passes from inside her own half to Powell who would, more often than not, convert the chance. Half time came and with Trent, whose tactic of slowly working attacking opportunities by switching the ball between various players’ hands starkly contrasted to Uni’s style, only able to score 4 times in the quarter, Uni had a runaway 30-14 lead.

Trent looked physically demoralised at the start of the 3rd quarter and it was more of the same from Uni. Trent opted to employ 2 defenders to deal with Powell, however, this merely allowed Freemantle to pick out her invariably unmarked goal attacker, Rule, which resulted in the latter getting in on the goal scoring action. It’s also worth noting that Uni’s defence were solid all game, making a number of important interceptions with one particularly memorable turnover by Jaffa leading to a slick counter attack and another Powell basket. The end of the 3rd quarter saw the score at 45-22.

The final quarter was a formality for Uni. Trent were not helped when their wing attack went off with a nasty looking knee injury. Uni seemed to take their foot off the pedal and made numerous changes although both Powell and the tireless Freemantle remained on court, highlighting their importance to the team. In the final 2 minutes of the game Trent scored 4 baskets in a row but it was little more than scant consolation as the damage had already been done and Uni ultimately ran out comfortable victors, 54-34.

After the game Luke Baker caught up with goal shooter Rochelle Powell to find out if they’d set out to use her height to their advantage and asked an all important question – Is she a machine?!

Simon Shah also caught up with Uni centre Sophie Freemantle for her take on the game.

Varsity Netball final score: Uni 54-34 Trent
University of Nottingham victory

Simon Shah and Luke Baker