One week after starting slowly and merely squeezing through their top-of-table test against Lightning A, the Premier Division champions beat Blaze 43-29 in Tuesday night’s Grammar School showdown.
On paper that is the widest victory margin of any duel between the Deloitte Winter League’s big three so far this season – but they did not have it easy.
Blaze had led the way in the first half to give Rezzers a little comeback challenge, which winning captain Tiff Gervaise-Brazier feels might have caught them out in previous seasons.
‘It was a good game and we were delighted to take the win, as we came from behind again,’ she said.
‘In previous seasons, we hadn’t usually pulled ahead if there was a lead early on from the opposition, so it’s really promising to see us dig deep and take the win.’
Blaze had won the first quarter 9-6 by capitalising more effectively on their centre passes and any turnovers.
They introduced teenager Vicky Yabsley during quarter one and she shot her way to player of the match, rotating with their other circle options.
Rezzers also made good use of rotating substitutes in attack and defence, with Harriet Savident, Becky Chamberlain, Cassie Le Page and Evie Robinson taking to the court.
They closed the gap by one before half-time, but Blaze still led 17-15.
Rezzers found another gear in quarter three and GA Emma Sykes – their own POM – particularly shone.
They converted several turnovers and pulled 29-21 ahead as Blaze struggled to get the ball into the circle and score – often thanks to greens GK Abby McCracken.
Although Rezzers widened the winning margin in the last 15 minutes, Gervaise-Brazier considered the third quarter pivotal.
‘The work rate was pretty relentless throughout the mid-court and we had to be very patient with getting the ball into the shooters,’ she said of that battle to gain and hold the lead.
‘Sometimes it was 10 or 12 passes before we took a shot, which is hard to sustain without making an error, but we just kept chipping away to convert.
‘In the final quarter, we stepped up again but it did go goal-for-goal for at least the first five minutes.
‘In the last quarter last week, we were quite tired, but this week we made the ball do the work when we were tired and played fairly simple netball, which paid off. Sometimes we can be guilty of making it very hard for ourselves.’
Blaze captain Nena Copperwaite admitted to a real game of two halves.
‘Great first half, then terrible second,’ she said.
‘We really struggled to get the ball into the circle and shots in.
‘We just completely switched off in the third quarter and it was game over.
‘I’d say that’s the worst match we’ve played this season so far – well, the second half. Just frustrating errors and lack of goals.’
Rezzers also had plenty to smile about in their B team’s battling loss to the league leaders.
Rezzers Black took one league point from Lightning A, which may prove handy in their push for the last of the four play-off spots, due to the small goal difference of their 54-47 defeat.
Lightning set off with a defensive headache – both Lorna Hall and Sammie Cox were absent – and their pain only got worse when GD Anais Flatres hurt her thumb mid-match.
They pulled away only gradually against a strong performance from the ever-improving Blacks, who had POM Savannah Goddard calming the court from the middle as they attacked with precision.
Flatres fought on and shared POM with teenage GS Immy Giles for Lightning, who had won the first three quarters 14-11, 12-9 and 15-14 before being matched in the last.