Two defeats so far but Guernsey's netballers relishing 'Island Games' exposure
The Guernsey team have taken some positives from a challenging first two days at the inaugural Island Invitational Netball Games.
They faced a baptism of fire against hosts Isle of Man on Tuesday night, losing 58-27, while yesterday a hot start against Orkney ended in a 55-31 defeat.
Given that the Isle of Man sit 27th in the World Netball rankings, Guernsey co-captain Donna Brehaut said she expected Tuesday’s match to be ‘probably the toughest game’ in the tournament.
Sharp and clinical in attack while applying relentless pressure on defence, the hosts opened quarter one with a five-goal scoring run and hit a massive streak of 10 going into half-time, at which point they led 33-11.
But Guernsey held their own for most of the second half after adapting to the Manx challenge.
‘It was an extremely physical game and that was a bit of a shock,’ Brehaut said.
‘Having that as a first game, and seeing how we played, it will be good going forwards.
‘We came out really positive. We met all of our targets [set by head coach Sally Carns] and everybody took to court.’
However, Orkney proved tougher opposition than their form suggested.
In an end-to-end first quarter, Guernsey performed strongly throughout the court and shot impeccably to lead for nearly 13 minutes.
But the reds soon capitalised on mid-court intercepts and Guernsey’s errors to open up a gap, leading 30-15 at half-time.
The onslaught continued in quarter three, after which Orkney led 43-22, though the Sarnians limited the damage with a solid finish.
‘I think today we might come away a bit more downhearted,’ co-captain Zola Saunders said.
‘We’ve just got to go away and pick ourselves up, ready for the next game.’
Brehaut added: ‘We just need to be more consistent over the 60 minutes – in periods we played really well.’
The co-captains have also praised the classy set-up at the National Sports Centre.
‘None of us have had the chance to play at this standard before and this exposure, so it’s been a really good set-up,’ Saunders said.
‘We’re enjoying it and loving being here.’
Brehaut added: ‘It’s a really good atmosphere.
‘It’s the first time we’ve played in an event like that, where it’s being live-streamed with commentary.’
Today marks an inter-insular-style clash against the more familiar reds, Jersey, and live-streaming is available on Isle of Man Netball’s YouTube channel. Centre pass is at 2pm.