Last week, the valiant team members of Jonathan Lee Recruitment took part in a charity netball match against Eyespace Eyewear.
Playing at Crystal Leisure Centre, Stourbridge, both teams participated to help raise money for Comic Relief. Thank you to Helen Bowen and Dudley Council for allowing us to donate the cost of the court to charity.
We last played Eyespace Eyewear four years ago in a close tie that saw Eyespace eventually win 23-20. Following our previous defeat we knew it was going to be competitive match but we were determined to win this time around!
Netball = Unfathomably Complex, Complicated Rules
Like with every other time we've played netball, the same old questions were heard; "Where can I go? What do I do? How do you pivot? What do you mean I can’t go in that area?!"
With Eyespace winning first centre, the game began with equal amounts of confusion, competitiveness and chaos. It would be kind to describe the JL team as rusty at the start, however by mid-way through the first quarter everyone seemed to know where they could go - the passes started to flow and we took advantage, taking the opening goal.
Towards the end of the first quarter, the whole of our team seemed to click into gear and we were ‘smoking’ (or gasping for air!). Nevertheless, we built on our strong start and by the end of the first quarter we led by four goals to one.
And then, bam! JL’s steady first quarter performance was stumped by Eyespace’s tactical substitutions. By tactical, we mean three or four fresh-faced, pro-netballers entered the court. It left the remainder of the match pretty tough – we were closely matched and battling until the bitter end!
Introducing the Dream Team
Starting from defence; Kevin (GK) can only be described as the Sergio Ramos of netball. He just could NOT get his head around the one metre rule: *Fouls*. “I didn’t know I was fouling”. *Fouls*. “What? Was that a foul?!” *Fouls again*. “What distance do I need to leave?” *Fouls AGAIN*.
However, you could not deny either his level of effort or his knack for putting off their shooters with his best imitation of an air traffic controller bringing planes in to land!
Jenny (GD) and our captain, Jonathan (WD), were probably the most competitive (and vocal) players in the team, getting stuck in Jordan Henderson and Aaron Ramsey-style.
Chloe (C and GD) – the interception queen, with height on her side and an innate ability of being in the right place at the right time – preventing Eyespace from shooting on several occasions.
Me (C, WD) – Prior to the match, the team were reassured that at least one of us (me) knew the rules of the game; keeping close control of the game as referee for the first quarter, before being subbed on to play. My happy memories of playing netball at school and college were soon forgotten and that rose-tinted nostalgia was quickly replaced with a rose-tinted (bright pink!) face whilst I ran around like a headless chicken, trying to keep up with the fast paced game.
On the attack we had the trick trio; Mark (GS, GA), Nick (GS, GA) and Kieron (WA). Picture if you will the world’s best attacking sporting teams, just like Liverpool FC’s Salah, Mané and Firmino (*disclaimer, this blog may contain some slight exaggerations). Between the three of them, they soon found their rhythm, showing off a remarkable array of trick shots and lightning-quick movement which had them running circles around Eyespace Eyewear's defence. And it’s just as well because Eyespace were hot on our heels, with the goal difference depleting as we approached a tense final quarter.
Can We Hold on for a Win?
Going into the fourth and final quarter, we were still ahead, 17 goals to 15, however, Eyespace were quickly closing the gap. They took the lead 22-21 going into the last few minutes, but a brilliant interception from Chloe followed by a display of some silky skills from the trick-trio, Nick scored a last minute blinder to make the final score an honourable draw; 22-22.
Whilst is was not quite the triumphant end we were hoping for, it really was a lot of fun and a good effort all round. What a great way to raise money for a very worthy cause!
Thank you Jenny for organising the match, Andrea for letting us borrow the bibs and ball, and of course thank you to Eyespace and everyone that participated/donated.
A special mention also goes to Mary for supporting the team and taking photos and Matt for the superb umpiring.
To find out more about Comic Relief, visit their website click here.