One of the drawbacks of living next to the Cherwell’s Sport Editor is that when you happen to have sat through an entire game of netball it becomes a racing certainty that you will have to pen a few thoughts for the benefit of the readership. However, I am happy to do so as the performance I witnessed was not only truly impressive but a revelation to me.
My reason for attending, which I tried to stress to the friends who raised an eyebrow when I said I was spending my Wednesday afternoon watching a girl’s netball match alone, was to see an old friend who was representing Warwick’s team.
The game was dominated by Oxford with the final score a fair reflection of their comprehensive dismantling of Warwick’s 1st team. The sequencing of passing was both fluid and accurate; this was clearly a team who had learnt to anticipate each other’s positioning on court to great effect.
It did not take long for the goal shooter to be given the chance to score, which she capitalized on almost without fail. By the end of the first quarter the pattern of play had been established and Warwick did not seem able to offer anything to disrupt Oxford’s seamless passage of passes.
The main impetus for Oxford’s impressive scoring rate was a strong performance from Sarah Godlee at goal attack, who is new to the team, combined with Nat Hoon, goal shooter, who put the game beyond the reach of Warwick. However, the standout performance of the match came from Hannah McKay in goal defence who made a series of effortless interceptions in the circle and midcourt to neutralize any resistance that Warwick could offer.
It was a credit to the team as a whole that despite securing the match early on the girls continued to demonstrate an exceptionally high standard of netball to the final whistle. The ease of victory was all the more remarkable given that this was the first game of the season and the first time the girls had all played together; in these early stages it would seem that this is a team to watch this year.
I have to confess that this was actually the first full game of netball I have watched; yet despite initially going just to see a friend I was entertained and enthralled throughout, so if you are stuck for something to do of an afternoon, get yourself down to Iffley and support a little publicized but very talented side.