Risky decision pays off for dynamic Devils

Devils under-16s ensured a risky decision from the coach paid off with a superb display
Devils under-16s ensured a risky decision from the coach paid off with a superb display
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Devils had a great win in their debut season in the Hampshire under-16 league against Swan Sapphires.

The Portsmouth and Fareham-based team shone.

They were keen to impress their team captain Stevie Lewry, while she elsewhere on the day, qualifying as a UKCC level one netball coach.

Led by vice-captain Charlotte Wallace the girls took to the court with a solid first quarter.

Sapphires took the lead but by one goal only.

Shooting duo Amber Chapman and 13-year-old Olivia Anderson were defended well by the Swan defence but some great passes in by Wallace soon built their confidence.

In the second quarter it was the turn of the Devils defence to shone.

Charlotte Pitcher and Elisha Parham adapted their game and stayed nearer the goal circle to stop leaving mid courters Ella Bicknall and Millie Bradbury to break down the Swan attacking unit before they got the ball to the goal.

Both girls took several interceptions and turned ball at centre pass, putting Devils at three goals up at half-time.

The team were jubilant but knew that keeping the pressure on and remaining focused throughout was still a tough job ahead against this talented team from Swan.

Anderson and Chapman upped their shooting stats in the third quarter with Anderson missing nothing and Chapman only one goal not converted.

Bradbury was outstanding in midcourt not leaving any ball to chance.

And Devils increased their lead to eight goals.

It was a risky decision not to put fresh legs on court.

Coach Helen Keet said: ‘The girls were playing as a team, which we’ve struggled with as new club.

Our strongest players at the moment aren’t all under-16s so we’re a mixed bunch.

‘It was also my toughest decision yet not to bring any subs on court, it was just working and I didn’t want to upset the balance that they’d found.

‘Going into the fourth quarter was very nerve-racking.’

Devils were starting to tire and Swan pushed even harder, starting to match their performance in the first quarter, winning the final quarter.

A last-minute rally from Wallace pulled Devils back into the game who then dug their heels in and held on for a 42-37 win.