Rezzers successfully douse champs Blaze
THE rigours of facing the men the week before had left Rezzers Green ready to take on anything the Premier Division women’s champions could throw at them.
Having been winners and then runners-up in the last two seasons, Rezzers are shaping up to be the main threat to Blaze in the current Winter League campaign and they set the standard at Les Beaucamps High School on Tuesday night.
They emerged from the high-pressure encounter with a 20-goal winning margin – 63-43 – much of this damage done in the final quarter.
For a side who have struggled with starts on occasions, Rezzers were very quick off the mark and established a four-goal lead in little time.
The two teams were soon into exchanging goals before Tiff Gervaise-Brazier’s side extended the gap marginally to 16-11 at the first break.
With their captain arriving after a delayed flight and accommodated at centre after a few mid-court shifts, they pushed to 30-23 at half-time.
Nena Copperwaite’s Blaze had been adept at getting the ball up the court, although between the defensive prowess of Rezzers and several unforced errors, they could not make the most of their chances.
Blaze had a stronger third quarter and had at certain advanced points hovered within five goals, with overcoming Rezzers’ 42-35 lead still an admittedly distant possibility.
But the champions finally cracked in the final stanza as the challengers very quickly pulled clear decisively.
Clare Henry and Verona Tomlin had excelled in the shooting circle, although wing-defence Cassie Le Page had been a deserving player of the match nominee for Rezzers.
‘I’m delighted with the game,’ said Gervaise-Brazier.
‘We played the men last week and the physicality, because they’re really tall and make us focus on our ball placement, helped us prepare for today.
‘We were quite relaxed in the end and we didn’t panic – we made some defensive turnovers that gave us the game really, with some great shooting from Verona and Clare.
‘It was a really physical game, but it was a great showcase for the competition and it was so well contested and credit to Blaze, they didn’t make it easy at all.’
Goal-attack Abbie Greening took Blaze’s ‘POM’ honours and captain Copperwaite credited Rezzers’ performance before finding some positives in their own.
‘There were some good things on court which we can take going forwards and it was great to get a closer competitive match under our belt this season,’ she said.
‘Although not ideal, it does take the pressure off us a bit, plus we’ve got to play each other a few more times yet.
‘We’ll be keen to rectify [Tuesday] night’s performance, which was well below par.’
Blaze found some consolation in the following match slot, though, as their B side picked up their first win in their new heights of the Prem.
The fast-learning U16s beat Thunder A 56-42 in a performance that Copperwaite termed ‘fantastic’.
‘Excellent full-court defence and they listened to instructions and things we’ve been working on with them in training,’ added Copperwaite with her coach’s hat on.
‘They were releasing the ball quicker and trying to get more width and depth when bringing it through court.’
Rezzers B also enjoyed their first win of the season, narrowly denying Zebras One that honour with a 48-45 scoreline, holding off a late comeback by Natalie Carre’s girls.
Titans held the men with an excellent first quarter before falling off pace and losing 66-34.