MATCH REPORTS – 25 September

Route 1 Turbos 26, SMP Balla A 41

This was an exciting game to watch. The contest in both circles made great viewing. The understanding between Kate Tebay and Ashley Hall in attack for SMP Ballasalla A is slick and makes very hard work for any defence. Kat Keeling and Hannah Snidal gave everything they had in defence and managed to make a nuisance of themselves denying SMP Ballasalla the easy game play. Lydia Shaw continues to impress in the mid court for SMP Ballasalla linking well throughout the court and picking up some great interceptions. Route 1 taught their way through this game and after the third quarter the score was 29 – 23 to SMP Ballasalla. Route 1 went into the final quarter with the aim to keep the score line close but tiredness kicked in and it seemed a struggle for the Route 1 attack to get that final ball in to the shooters, SMP Ballasalla picked up the pace and collected the 3 points. Route 1 will be happy with their performance.

PotM: Kat Keeling (Route 1 Turbos)

SMP Ballasalla B 65, Manx Glass Saints 12
The first match of the new season saw last season’s Premiership team SMP Ballasalla B playing Manx Glass Saints in the new look Division 1. Given their respective positions at the end of the 2015/6 season, this game was Ballasalla’s to win although with three new players in the line-up nothing is ever guaranteed. The southerners started strongly with Danielle Murphy, returning to the club after university, settling well in the GA position and combining well with GS Gemma Kirkham. Saints are fielding a slightly weaker team having lost one or two key players during the off season but Sarah Breen at GD is always a force to be reckoned with and is totally committed in both defence and attack. The two first quarters both finished at 17 – 4 to SMP Ballasalla giving them a convincing 34 – 8 lead at half time. In the third quarter Saints settled a little more and held Ballasalla to a 12 – 4 score line but in the final quarter another of the Ballasalla club’s new signings, Sam Hoffman, showed her defensive skills and picked off several interceptions to prevent Saints getting the ball to their shooters Graihagh Betteridge and Charlotte Casement (a new signing for Saints) while Sarah Linehan (C) and Janet Lawrenson (WA) were now feeding the Ballasalla shooters with accuracy.

PotM: Gemma Kirkham (SMP Ballasalla B)

SMP Ballasalla C 60, Route 1 Reactors 3

Having met twice last season with a win either way both teams were very eager to secure 3 points in their first fixture of the new season. The first quarter was well fought and evenly matched. A few excellent goals from Route 1’s shooters kept them in contention but the quarter ended with SMP Ballasalla taking a 11 goal lead. The second quarter was a different story as SMP Ballasalla upped their pace; their mid-court coupling of Alex Smith and Gemma Collister worked excellently supported by their defensive duo Gem White and Ashleigh Cowin. Despite a consistent effort by Route 1 they did not manage to convert any attempts to goals in the second quarter. At half time Route 1 lost their C and were forced to reshuffle and return to the court with only 6 players. SMP Ballasalla took this opportunity to increase their unassailable lead with their shooting duo of Amelia Quinn and Sarah McKenna converting almost every attempt at goal despite a noteworthy performance from the Route 1 GK Linda Green.

The final result saw a goal difference of 57 and an excellent start for the SMP Ballasalla C squad.

PotM: Sarah McKenna (SMP Ballasalla C)

Castletown 35, Marbree Motors 31

At the start of the first quarter both teams were nervous and a little shaky. The ball went end to end with few goals. Marbree settled down first and so Castletown's established defence had to work hard to interrupt Marbree's keen pace. As both sets of shooters found their aim Castletown pushed hard towards the end of the quarter. However, Marbree's drive and ability to pick up any loose balls catapulted them to an early 11-7 lead.

As the second quarter commenced it became clear Castletown had changed their game plan. Castletown's C Sarah Curphey really took control of the midcourt and was dominate going towards goal repeatedly sending accurate feeds to the shooting circle taking, advantage of the slight height advantage of the Castletown shooters. These passes nearly always converted to goals. As the quarter progressed the Marbree shooters impressed with their shooting form but found in consistently hard to get the ball past Castletown GK Amy Dunne who appeared to get a hand on most incoming balls. Castletown's decisive push in this quarter was the tipping point and they pulled ahead to 20-13.

Castletown went into the second half in a very positive fashion finding lots of space and utilizing all the court. Marbree managed to stop Castletown moving further ahead by reading some of the long diagonal passes up the court and getting some well-earned interceptions. This quarter was very even ending 27-20 to Castletown.

The last quarter of the game did not see a drop in pace at all, if anything it increased as Marbree were determined to put a dent in Castletown's lead. Marbree managed to keep most of the ball possession with their C and WD working incredibly hard around Castletown's shooting circle to try and stop the last ball into Castletown's shooters. At the other end of the court Marbree's attack frantically tried everything to get through Castletown's defence, but they held tight and Castletown came away with a 35-31 win.

PotM: Louise Skelly (Castletown)

Absolute Scaffolding 17, Route 1 Sparks 28

Both teams had something to prove in this season opener - Sparks just missed out on promotion last season and Absolute are back from Division 1. Route 1's defence kept the Absolute girls off the scoreboard until deep into the first quarter, Susie Roelofse (GK) showing strong defence in her first match in green. Solid defence from Absolute's Rachel Andrews and Gill Cunningham made the Sparks shooters really have to work hard around the shooting circle. At half time, Sparks lead 18:7 Both teams had new young centres, Leah Goddard for Absolute showing her athleticism though Sparks' Jodie Wickers was more than a match for her. Absolute showed resilience and came back at Sparks in the second half, both teams scoring 10 goals in the second half, with strong shooting especially from Penny Duran (Absolute). An energetic match played in good spirit.

PotM: Jodie Wickers (Route 1 Sparks)

Route 1 Connections 48, Brown Craine Toomraiders 23

It took both teams a few minutes to get into the game with it being the first match day of the season. It was Brown Craine Toomraiders that took the first goal even though it was a Route 1 centre pass. Route 1 pulled up their socks and got into the game opening up a lead in the first quarter. Toomraiders continued to fight hard and with some good distance shooting they managed to score a few flurries of goals but it wasn't enough to keep them in the game as the slick movement and passing from Route 1 proved overpowering and with both Route 1 shooters, Nikki Spencer and Erin Keggen shooting well the challenge to bring it back was too tough and Route 1 take their first win of the season.

PotM: Kat Keeling (Route 1 Connections)

Route 1 Volts 59, Missfits C 7

This was Route 1 Volts senior league debut. With Missfits only fielding 5 players it was not the game they expected. The Route 1 girls came out strong and kept the momentum going throughout the game, they kept their passing slick and moved onto the ball well. Struggling for numbers the Missfits girls did their very best to try to stay in the game but it is hard for the players to keep their heads in the game knowing they are not the team they could be. The girls that did play should give themselves a massive pat on the back for keeping up the intensity and drive with only 5 players. Missfits will surely be disappointed but should be proud and Route 1 will be happy with their first game being a win for them.