Leeds Rhinos Netball’s U19 NPL squad took to the road this weekend for their away game at Team Bath, which saw all twelve athletes play their part in a comprehensive 59-43 win.
The Rhinos side entered the game full of confidence after securing recent wins against Mavericks – a replay of their December game which was challenged by the opponent team – plus North East and Severn Stars, both of which were played at home in Yorkshire.
The first quarter saw some rock-solid defence from the Rhinos, preventing the opposition from scoring any goals before they’d put a healthy 15 points on the board, the period ending 3-19 in Leeds’ favour. This continued for the second 15 minutes, with relentless attacks from the Rhinos, seeing their lead extend further to 13-34 by half time.
Whilst Bath may take solace in reducing the goal difference to 16 through a commendable ‘never give up’ attitude during the game’s second half, it was too late to catch a dominant Rhinos, the final score 43-59.
Victory gives the squad a huge boost ahead of this week’s final home fixture of the season, a vital top-of-the-table clash against current league leaders Manchester Thunder. Currently neck and neck on 27 points, with Thunder just ahead due to goal average, there is everything to play for and both teams will be going all out to take the win.
Leeds Rhinos Team Captain, Georgia Pexton said: “It was a great game against Bath. The main thing was that all 12 players took to court, it’s amazing to have the strength and depth to take a 16-goal win using our entire bench. The first quarter, Bath were shocked by our defensive pressure and we were clinical in attack too. Starting like that is definitely something we need to take forward, particularly into this week’s game against Thunder who we know if they get a lead, they will take the game.
“In training, we will look at the Bath game and where we lacked consistency, while the coaches do their analysis of Thunder to relay to us how best we can combat their style of play. With a team like Thunder, it’s about belief. We need to go into this Yorkshire-Lancashire derby with that mindset, knowing it will be a 60-minutes grind-out. But if we stick to game plan there’s no reason we can’t take the win.”
Also happy with progress is Lead Pathway coach, Emily Perry, who added: “I’m pleased we delivered a good performance and have ironed out some of the difficulties around preparing for away games. The defensive pressure we applied was fantastic and really pleasing to see as we have worked on this in training recently.
“We now have well established partnerships and connections in all units, which enables the girls to play with more freedom and fluidity. Their trust in each other has led to some great moments of play in every game and we look forward to showing more of that every time we step on court.”
Tickets are on sale now for Saturday’s game, which will be played at the University of York, with first centre pass at 4.30pm.
Book your tickets at www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/events/nplh3/.