Lightning strikes to down Panthers
SAFFERY PANTHERS will be hoping to bounce back in the new year with the resolution to get the ball to goal more effectively.
Yesterday’s 30-36 home loss against Sussex Lightning has set them further back as South Division Three enters its festive break, yet as captain Tiff Gervaise-Brazier suggested afterwards, the scoreline did not tell the whole story at Beau Sejour.
Panthers felt the game slip away only in the dying minutes after narrowly trailing the opposition for much of the hard-fought encounter.
They had welcomed several ‘new faces’ to the squad amid illness and while hard-working defenders Lorna Hall, Ella Staples and Gemma Batiste had shone in a game filled with turnovers, the Greens’ general failure to convert proved costly.
Returning goal-attack Kerri Brown formed a new-look shooting combination with Abbie Greening, giving Panthers a very short-lived advantage before the opposition retaliated and brought it to 7-9 at the quarter.
Panthers soon equalised before Lightning struck a significant scoring run, getting five in succession as the home side struggled against their sturdy defence, although the home side cut the deficit to 14-17 at half-time.
A solid third quarter saw Panthers draw level again but they entered the final stanza with that same frustrating three-goal deficit.
Panthers then rung the changes across the court, resting goal-defence Staples and accommodating Keeleigh Le Tissier in wing-attack, and they were just two down at one advanced point before their opponents broke decisively clear.
‘Really close game, obviously, the whole way through, and I’d say we were evenly matched,’ said Gervaise-Brazier as goalkeeper Hall took player-of-the-match honours.
‘Through the court, we had some really nice movement, and the six goals does not really reflect the level of play.
‘The shooters did a really good job against a really tall defence but we did not convert on a couple of times. That was the difference there – their shooting was really good.
‘After Christmas, we need to be more disciplined, as we turn over so much of the play, so we just need to convert it. We just need to work on that.’