The netball season may have been suspended until at least after Easter – but one of Spalding Netball Club’s teams picked up an impressive result before the coronavirus outbreak wreaked its havoc.
Tulips Blue stunned Boston Netball League Division B table-toppers Baby Boltz 33-27 in what was the perfect way to sign off for their enforced break.
These two teams hadn’t faced each other since the beginning of the season with Boltz taking the victory by a comfortable 36-24 margin.
Things got off to a quick start in this clash, with a fast paced first quarter.
Tulips were a little nervy in the opening stages, but settled into their rhythm and built up a four-goal advantage.
The second half saw much of the same, but Boltz turned things around and at half time it was just 15-14 to Tulips.
Fresh legs were brought on at the beginning of the second half, with Freya Davis and Tilly Garfoot reinforcing the defence and Lauren-Marie Pitts attacking.
The Tulips well and truly started to settle and played with patient and smart build up play.
The transition from defence to attack was seamlessm, with the mid-court trio pulling the strings and dictating play.
Lucy Boyce and Millie Weller were formidable in attack, scoring an impressive 11 goals.
At the same time, the defence were doing an amazing job – only conceding seven goals.
Despite Ellie-Mae Stokes suffering an ankle injury mid-quarter and Kayleigh Rowledge taking over her role on court, Blue were unshaken.
There was still everything to play for going into the final quarter, as Tulips had a narrow five goal advantage.
The team dug in deep and stuck to task, letting the ball go with confidence, driving into the space and keeping a cool head.
As the final whistle blew the team were elated as they glanced at the scoreboard and realised they had got the win by six goals.
Captain Hayley Stevens said: “This game was, without a doubt the most anticipated game of the season for Tulips Blue.
“Personally it is the most intense game of netball I’ve ever played.
“As the current league number one they are the team everyone wants to come up against and do well.
“They are a young and very talented team of young women who work hard and have been trained well.
“However I feel tonight we had experience on our side. Tulips Blue is made up of women who have played netball for many years, most of which as part of Boston Netball League.
“As captain I am incredibly proud of the ladies. We were hungry for it, we dug deep, kept focused and fought hard to bring home that win.
“I would like to thank each and every one of them for their unfaltering dedication to the club and their passion for the team and the sport.”
Players’ player of the match was Millie Weller, with Mel Johnson the umpire’s pick.