In a game dominated by the defence and some disjointed mid-court play, match 3 saw a battle between the newly formed London Pulse and a rejigged Severn Stars. Both teams fielding starting sevens with a mix of youth and experience. The first quarter was a nervy one for both teams lacking in free-flowing netball and struggling to pass to one another. London Pulse pulled ahead on several occasions by a turnover only to be pegged back soon after. Physical defence from both teams saw several players hitting the deck before a late turnover edged Pulse ahead at the end of the quarter to lead 15-13.
The second quarter started in a similar manner to the first with Pulse starting to show signs of more flowing netball on court, finding it easier than Stars to bring the ball to the circle edge. They took an early five-goal lead (20-15) before the errors of the first quarter crept back in to reduce the lead back to just two goals (20-18). Play remained scrappy with neither team managing to really break free from the opposition defence. Although passing errors and lack of on court communication were making the defenders’ jobs far easier. The changes made to the Pulse defence end in this quarter saw Stars restricted to just nine goals. But they failed to capitalise and only increased the gap by two goals in this quarter to lead 26-22 at half time.
Stars rang in the changes in mid-court in quarter three with Iona Darroch moving to centre and Cara Lee Mosely on at WA. This had an immediate impact with the lead narrowing to just two goals within the first couple of minutes. After going goal-for-goal for a few minutes the defence once again got the upper hand – this time for Severn Stars with two converted turnovers levelling the game at 34-34. Another swift turnover then saw them edge in front with the quarter ending 38-35.
The frantic pace continued into the final quarter with both sides still struggling to maintain their attacking connections and find their shooters. Momentum was briefly on the side of Stars as they turned the ball over to take a five-goal lead at 40-35. But, once again, the errors crept in and Pulse returned the turnover favours to claw their way back. Halfway through the quarter the game remained in the balance with just two goals separating the teams – Stars still leading 44-42. Yet another turnover, however, and the game was back level at 45-45. With just two minutes to go the two teams were still locked together at 49-49. In a finale that worthy of the chaotic nature of the first 58 minutes, Georgia Rowe missed from close range to give Pulse the chance to pull ahead. Chiara Semple held her nerve to score and a converted centre pass as Pulse snatched a 51-49 win.
Commenting on their win after the game, Pulse GA Chiara Semple reflected on a hard-fought game. She said: “We had a really great start and showed the crowd and the world what Pulse Netball is all about, that we’re not going to give up until the final whistle. But we made life hard for ourselves. We were up by five then they were up by five. It was only in the last 2 minutes that we really dug in. Even though it was our shooters who got it in at the end, it was our defence who got it back for us. Lots of us still need to work on our fitness and to keep pushing on so that we don’t get in a position like that again so when we get up by five (goals) we then go up by 10 and stay consistent throughout the whole game.”