Isle of Man Netball’s new 2023-24 Santander-sponsored Senior League season tipped over on Sunday.
Simcocks Red Eagles 21 v 39 Manx Fellas
Games between Simcocks Reds and Manx Fellas are always tightly contested, and this game was no different.
From the first whistle the match went goal for goal, with Fellas able to convert two turnovers taking them into a 10-6 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Defensively, Simcocks were trying to apply pressure to create turnover opportunities to help level the game, but with slick passing by Rob Mason and Ste Ronan there was little to intercept.
Rachel Johnstone was working overtime in the midcourt, picking up all loose balls she could, but the accurate shooting of Poppy Bowman (Simcocks) was equally matched by Michael Josem (Fellas), with the second quarter ending 21-13 to Fellas.
Substitutions at half-time for Simcocks saw Emily Osbourne join Bowman in the shooting circle and she immediately made an impact in creating movement.
Despite their best efforts to keep chipping away at the scoreline, Fellas found another gear and took the game away in the final quarter, with the game finishing 39-21.
Player of the match was Michael Pardoe who was instrumental for Fellas both in the defensive circle, but also helping carry the ball down the court.
The opening game of the Championship season between Young Farmers and Castletown was always going to be a closely-contested match.
Nerves were high for both sides, particularly Young Farmers who had a few new players and some welcome returning players. From the first whistle, it was set to be a close battle.
The game began evenly with both teams’ mid-court players bringing the ball down the court well. Castletown’s solid defensive unit of Eloisha Dunn and Ashley Skelly made getting the ball into the D tricky for the Farmers.
The Young Farmers’ tight knit defensive unit settled and picked up a couple of turnovers to give them a two-goal lead after the first quarter.
Going into the second period, Castletown came out even stronger. With some great shooting from the Town attack, Farmers had to work hard in defence to keep the scoreline down.
Young Farmers were missing Dani Kelly as GS so were heavily reliant on goal attack Nicci Cain who made some great movements in the D and converted some super goals. The second quarter ended up even at 13-all.
Both teams went into the third quarter with everything to play for, hoping to take the lead. The play was even once again, with both teams using their mid-court players effectively to bring the ball to their own ends.
The defenders were kept on their toes, with some great shots being played. After a good battle, Young Farmers led by one goal (21-20) going into the final part of the game.
The last quarter was a tough fight to the end as both teams started to get tired, with mistakes made as rebounds and intercepting of the ball allowed Castletown to get three goals ahead. The Young Farmers did not stop and carried on though, netting more goals and started to close the gap.
The final whistle was blown just as the Young Farmers had managed to get the ball back down to their D and no shot was made, allowing Castletown to take the win by one point. It was a great game to start the season and both teams played and fought hard to the end. Player of the match was Eloisha Dunne.
Simcocks Green Eagles 22 v 10 Ballasalla D
A nervous start for both teams with possession changing hands several times as each defence created problems for the shooters.
The play was fast at times, moving from each end of the court and scoring was difficult for both teams. Simcocks shooters Mikeala Harris and Mia Pearson started to combine well to finish the opening quarter strongly, with Simcocks leading 6-3.
Simcocks started the second quarter in the same way they finished the first as the centre court players Jo Callister, Neve Moyer and Jo Steriopulos linked well to bring the ball into the attacking circle regularly.
Drifts continued to battle in defence, with Clare Crowe, Charlotte Brooks and Eve Hall making interceptions and claiming rebounds which allowed their shooters Jo Hicks and Lucy Radcliffe to score when they were given the opportunity. Despite this, Simcocks increased their lead and won the quarter 9-3 to finish the first half leading 15-6.
Both teams came out strong again for the third quarter. Drifts made a couple of changes, with Amy Gelling going into GD and Annabelle Clague to WA. These fresh legs gave Drifts a boost and allowed then to take a slight advantage in the quarter.
Again the Drifts shooters took the chances they were given against strong circle defence, both Jess Christian and Rachel Craig worked well together and used their superior height advantage to make shooting difficult.
This quarter was dominated by good defending from both teams and interceptions were made by each side, with Simcocks controlling the centre third and Callister continuing to link well with Steriopulos and Moyer. Ballasalla edged the quarter 4-3 but Simcocks continued to lead overall 18-10.
The fourth quarter started with more changes to the Drifts team as Charlotte Brooks and Caitlin Henery came back on to WD and WA, Annabelle Clague moving to centre. Additional time this year in each quarter began to take its toll on each team but the commitment from both sides was excellent to see.
Simcocks were able to combine well, denying Drifts the opportunity to score and continuing to bring the ball down the court accurately to feed into Harris and Pearson at regular intervals. Simcocks led the quarter 4-0 to finish the game with a 22 -10 victory, while player of the match went to Callister (Simcocks Green).
Castletown Vikings 18 v 14 Misfits B
With the Misfits B team being new to the league and Vikings having a new line-up, it was very unknown for both teams going into this game. It was certainly all to fight for and neither team disappointed.
The start of the first quarter showed how evenly matched these two teams were, with the first goal taking a while to come. It was Vikings that hit the scoresheet first though after some first game nerves from both sides.
With both defences being extremely strong, it was a low-scoring quarter with Vikings building on that first goal and not allowing Misfits to take any turnovers to goal. The quarter ended 4-0 to Vikings.
The second quarter started with an early Misfits goal after some great work to turn the ball over following the Vikings centre pass. The same great level of defence by both teams continued from the first quarter, notably with the Misfits defensive circle team not giving the Vikings shooters an inch.
Both teams had to work hard for every ball and it was very evenly matched which was also reflected in the drawn score for this quarter at 4-4, making the overall score 8-4 to Vikings at half-time.
This even play was then reflected throughout the second half of the match with each team taking their turn to go slightly ahead in the quarter’s scoreline. Both the third and fourth quarter scores were five goals each.
Vikings were able to retain the overall lead though, with their first quarter win holding strong for them to the end as the game finished 18-14 to Vikings.
The defensive work by both teams was excellent in this game and the final score certainly reflects that.
Player of the match went to Anna McChesney from Misfits who played very well at both GD and C.
Sunday, September 24:
10am Bemahague 2 Simcocks Red Eagles v Ballasalla B
10am NSC 2 Ballasalla A v Simcocks Blue Eagles
9am Bemahague 2 Thompson 2 v Misfits A
10am Bemahague 1 Castletown Spaniards v Ramsey Blacks
10am NSC 1 Investec Zebras v Castletown Celts
12pm NSC 2 Route 1 Turbos v Ballasalla C
9am NSC 1 Manx Gems Emeralds v Castletown Jets
9am Bemahague 1 Manx Gems Sapphires v Simcocks Green Eagles
11am Bemahague 1 Route 1 Volts v Investec Dazzles
11am NSC 1 Ballasalla D v Ramsey Reds
9am NSC 2 Simcocks Silver Eagles v Thompson 4
11am Bemahague 2 Ramsey Jets v Ramsey Scarletts
12pm NSC 1 Thompson 3 v Manx Gems Corals
12pm Bemahague 1 Misfits B v Route 1 Sparks
REPORTS AND RESULTS IN NEXT WEEK’S EDITION OF THE MANX INDEPENDENT