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Sirens Make an Impact in Season Opener

23rd February 2017

Sirens hosted Wasps Netball in their inaugural match in the Vitality Netball Superleague in front of a packed Emirates Arena in Glasgow.  The match also launched this years’ season Live on Sky Sports, so gave an added edge to proceedings.

With all other teams having had their season openers over the weekend, Sirens and Wasps’ season was at last underway.  With sirens echoing around the area – the teams were ready, the crowd was ready and game day was finally here!

Starting Line Up: Sirens

GS Carla Borrego
GA Ellen Halpenny
WA Nicola McCleery
C Caroline O’Hanlon
WD Claire Brownie (Captain)
GD Rachel Forbes
GK Nicole Aiken Pinnock

 

Starting Line Up – Wasps

GS George Fisher
GA Rachel Dunn
WA Natalie Haythornthwaite
C Bongiwe Msomi
WD Amy Flanagan
GD Sam May
GK Hannah Reid (Captain)

 

Being the season opener for both brand new Franchises in the new look 10 team Superleague, there were bound to be some nerves.  Wasps started as the stronger side, racing to a 7-3 lead with Dunn and Fisher settling quickly.  Sirens then found some rhythm with Halpenny linking well with Borrego, who started to dominate in their attacking end, levelling the game at 9-9.  For the remainder of the quarter each team were trading goals, and with only a few seconds remaining on the clock, Sirens worked their centre pass through to goal, with Borrego scoring after being awarded a penalty.  A great start for the team, with the crowd certainly getting excited and behind their team.

Quarter 1 Score 13 – 12

The second quarter started as the first ended, with every ball being contested and both teams continuing to trade goal for goal.  Wasps then stepped up their intensity and pressure forcing mistakes to creep into Sirens’ play and they struggled getting the ball through the court. With 5 minutes to go in the second half, Sirens were forced into a change with McCleery coming off, and Nicholl taking to court as GD, with Forbes, Brownie and O’Hanlon also changing position.  Wasps pressure resulted in a number of turnovers, and they stretched their lead to 13 goals by the time the half time whistle was blown.

Half Time Score 19 – 32

Wasps made some changes at half time with Huckle coming on as GK, and Reid, May and Flanagan all moving up with Msomi going to bench, with the Sirens remaining unchanged.  Needing to put the second quarter behind them, Sirens started the third quarter like they did the first with both teams trading both goals and turnovers.  Some flow from both teams was lost in this quarter, however, Sirens dug deep winning the quarter by 3, bringing the score to a 10 point game.

Quarter 3 Score: 32 – 42

Once again, Sirens remained unchained, with Wasps moving Dunn to GS, Haythornthwaite to GA and Msomi back on court as WA.  With Sirens starting the final quarter, Halpenny scored the quarter opener to bring the game back to a 9 goal differential.  With a missed shot by Haythornthwaite and Nicholl winning the rebound, Sirens had the opportunity to bring the game closer, but a loose pass to Forbes resulted in Wasps regaining possession, from which they converted.  With just under 8 minutes remaining in the match, Sirens continued to claw their way back into the game and were only 7 goals adrift.  The noise in the arena was deafening, as the 4,000 strong crowd were willing their team on.

Wasps continued to apply the pressure and this coupled with some Sirens unforced errors, Wasps pulled away in the dying minutes to a 14 goal lead. Dunn was dominant for Wasps in this final 15 minutes scoring 13 of their 15 goals in the quarter.

Final Score: 43 – 57

Although disappointed with the final result, Gail Parata, Head Coach of Sirens said “I’m very disappointed in particular with the second quarter, when we just couldn’t get a handle on the game.  Wasps got on top of us, they pushed us around and we let them – we can’t allow a gap like that to open.”  With plenty of food for thought for Parata going into the Super 10 match against Dragons on Saturday, there were positives to take from the game, she said “I’m pleased how we did in the second half though and the crowd were just awesome, so what I am disappointed with is that we couldn’t get the win for them.”

Netball is creating a stir in Scotland with the introduction of Sirens to the Superleague and Parata is looking for her team to not only compete for the title but to inspire women & girls, men and boys to take up the sport, she said “I think if they can see the awesome role models like the athletes we had on court tonight, then they will be inspired, that’s a given.”

Reflecting on the match, Wasps coach Tamsin Greenway said: “For us it was about combinations tonight.  I thought George Fisher, our Goal Shooter, was excellent tonight.  I’m happy with some aspects of the game because I thought we were excellent, although it never felt comfortable, we pulled that lead out.  I want the team to be more confident and believe in what they’re doing.  I think overall we’ve got to be pleased with that first game.”  Greenway also made reference to the event itself  “It was a great atmosphere, there was so much noise and that’s why I don’t ever think I felt comfortable.  It’s such a privilege for the players to play in an arena like this”.

Player of the Match: Hannah Reid

 

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