Calderdale on fire as Phoenix hopes crumble

CALDERDALE’s first and third teams were beaten in the West Yorkshire League on Saturday but the seconds floored top of the league Wakefield Phoenix to make it a hat-trick of wins.

Non-playing captain Sarah Heaton’s side won 27-25 in the Premier Division at Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre.

The girls knew a tough challenge lay ahead and were up for it. Play was fast and furious in the first quarter. Both sides passed with urgency and made errors but neither side could capitalise on the mistakes.

However, Laura Kennedy and Claire Higgins ensured Calderdale’s chances were converted under intense pressure from Wakefield’s defence and they took a 9-7 lead.

Phoenix stepped it up in the second quarter, forced errors from Calderdale and pulled it back to 15-15.

Gill Coldwell made numerous interceptions at wing defence and supported the passing up court while Higgins continued to work doggedly.

During the third quarter Calderdale began to take charge again. Gail Gledhill came on as goal shooter and Kennedy moved to centre court.

Passes became more accurate and attacking runs were timed to perfection, especially from Lisa Lund.

Michelle Haley and Sue Seymour dominated the defending circle and Haley ensured every rebound was hers.

Calderdale headed into the final quarter with a three goal lead. Calm heads were needed to retain possession and although there were a few hiccups in front of an anxious crowd, Calderdale kept their noses in front to show they are are improving fast.

The firsts had earlier lost 51-38 to Super League leaders Leeds Athletic at the same venue.

Leeds made an unusually nervous start and that helped Calderdale settle into their game quickly.

Roxy Rothery and Kim Roy maintained their composure and shot well, despite being under immense pressure from the Leeds defence.

Natalie Castell made her return to the firsts at wing defence and contributed to a string of interceptions which helped Calderdale go 9-7 up.

A worried but determined Leeds side were looking to dominate the second quarter and both teams fought for every ball.

Sophia Samuels and Louise Stones continued to read the game well and restrict the Leeds shooters. Pia Rattigan held her own at wing attack against a very physical opponent, working well with Jane Parker at centre to feed into the circle. Leeds led 18-17 at half time.

With some fresh legs required in this physical match, Kate Ineson and Lauren Liburd came on at wing defence and wing attack.

Injury to a Leeds defender prompted a substitution with former England player and Calderdale coach Maggie Birkenshaw playing goal defence for the second half. Her exceptional skill and presence changed the balance in Leeds’ favour. Calderdale lost momentum and were 38-24 down after the third quarter.

With Castell back on at wing defence and Sam Grace taking the tough position of wing attack, Calderdale worked hard to try and regain the quality of netball displayed in the first half and to reduce Leeds’ lead.

Whilst Calderdale did that and out-scored their foes in the final quarter, the gap was too great but they took a deserved point from the tough contest.

Calderdale thirds had another setback in Division One, losing 54-35 to Templars at Halifax High School.

They started promisingly with solid defence from Suzanne Forrest and Heather Parkinson and came off 10-9 up with successful shots from Georgina Parkinson and Pauline Williamson.

Templars moved up a gear in the second quarter and took a 22-16 lead in spite of some good interceptions from Hollie Thomas and Jo Williamson in mid-court.

Calderdale lost their way in the third quarter. Veronica McBride came on at goalkeeper and Heather Parkinson went to goal attack but things just didn’t work out.

In the final quarter Kirsty Parker went to goal attack and Georgina Parkinson came back on at wing attack. In spite of goals from Parker, Templars extended their lead.

WHITE Rose boosted their promotion hopes in Division Two of the West Yorkshire League with a 39-36 victory over CJs at Park Lane High School, Exley on Saturday.

Good shooting from Alex Quinn and Stacey Devine gave them a handy lead but CJs rallied in the second half and it took some determined defence from Emma Eldridge, Sandy Illingworth and Lorna Davidson to hold them at bay.

CALDERDALE LEAGUE

RESULTS: TAG 34 Saints 36, Halifax PLC 32 Ravens 29, Rockets 26 Tommos 28.

TOMORROW: 7pm, Sparks v Sparkles; 8pm, Jokers v Queens; 9pm, Tigers v Yoyos.