Hertford’s netball club HCNC beat the college men’s football club HCAFC 11-5 in the inaugural intra-college netball match up. The game was organised by sports officer Josephine Bellman in order to fundraise for the worthwhile college charity Herford for the Homeless.
Both Hertford teams had gone their respective league seasons unbeaten, making the game was seen as a way to settle the friendly rivalry. HCAFC had often claimed they would be able to beat HCNC in a netball match, despite many members of the team having never played before and not even knowing the rules. Sunday of 1st Week therefore provided a perfect opportunity for a showdown and saw the men’s football team try to live up to their own hype.
After a brief review over the rules, the teams stepped on to the court. About 30 fans had made the treacherous journey to LMH, but were fortunately rewarded in finding Pimm’s on sale in aid of Hertford for the Homeless. HCAFC’s tactic of long balls quickly proved unsuccessful. After at least 5 over-a-third rule violations in the opening quarter, goalkeeper James Nelson finally switched to playing it out from the back. The first quarter was very competitive with a high tempo, and after some netball newbies let out their frustrations (“there are so many rules!” one player was heard shouting) both teams settled into their strides.
The quality of the play was high, even in spite of the fact that some members of the football club had never played before. The boys quickly caught on and this meant that going in to the first break, the score was level at 2-2.
After the break tensions remained high and with the rules ironed out Harry Jackson-Smith and Aisha Cooper engaged in a tense battle of the centres. Jude Lewis, last year’s HCNC captain, maintained a calm head in commanding the defence which proved difficult for the football team to breach. Even after a couple of replayed balls, and more than a few footworks (another debutant decried being penalised, arguing it can’t have been footwork as it “didn’t touch my foot”) HCAFC kept in touch with HCNC.
It was still even at the half way stage, with first years Luca Ignatius and Erik Haraldson chipping in to take the score to 5-5. Despite her obvious height disadvantage, HCNC goal attack Hayley Birks twisted her way around the towering Oliver Gardner and James Nelson to put the netball club in control. After a few goals in quick succession, HCNC made it 9-5 at the end of the penultimate quarter.
HCNC continued to dominate the game in the final quarter and were able to extend their lead, with Rachel Choi, Becky Andrews and Birks bringing the final score to 11-5 for the Netball Club.
The event proved to be a great success, raising around £60 for Hertford for the Homeless. The atmosphere was very positive and exciting, and will perhaps pave the way for future intra-college sports match ups. HCAFC were gracious in defeat, and the win filled HCNC with confidence going into netball cuppers later this term.
Hertford for the Homeless was set up by former JCR president Jude Lewis and former welfare officer Kez Smith in 2016. They are a student-led action group aiming to support local charities that tackle the immediate effects of homelessness. Hopefully, this even will lead to others like it – where the enjoyment of sport can be combined with philanthropy in the summer term.