New combinations show promise in winning start
SAFFERY PANTHERS got their newest South Division Three campaign off to a winning start with a commanding team performance at Beau Sejour.
Despite their opening opponents Rushmoor Two being the underdogs of last season, the eventual winners did not take anything for granted and the Sunday lunchtime clash had been a surprisingly well-contested one at times.
Some ‘new’ faces such as match-long goal-shooter Clare Henry and defensive sub Gemma Batiste contributed to Panthers’ victory margin, working harmoniously with the island team regulars and making up for the loss of several key players over the summer break.
Rushmoor drew first blood in a frenzied start but following a largely goal-for-goal early few minutes, Panthers entered a small scoring run soon after and created a clear lead.
Some great defensive play limited the opposition’s retaliatory efforts and the home side’s superb attack allowed them to lead 15-7 at the first break.
Following a largely even start to the next quarter, Panthers again managed to stamp their dominance as the clock ticked on to half-time and by then were 27-15 up.
The third quarter followed much of the same pattern.
Although they were back to trading goals early on, the Greens ended the quarter with a run of five unanswered goals.
Panthers led 40-20 heading into the final stanza and it had become clear that the outcome would not change from there.
Indeed, Panthers quickly added another five to this impressive scoring streak and certainly had more left in them at this late stage.
They remained in control and produced their highest-scoring quarter while giving Rushmoor few chances to answer back, winning 57-24.
All this made it an excellent start for Panthers captain Tiff Gervaise-Brazier, who is now that bit more confident for their four consecutive away games to follow.
‘We’ve had a few new combinations today and it really paid off,’ she said.
‘We’re much more clinical today than we have been and we put in today what we’d done in training, which is really promising.
‘The shooting made a massive difference today – Abbie [Greening], Steph [Batiste] and Clare absolutely gave it their all.
‘Throughout the court, we knew what we were doing and we executed it well.’