Two matches in three days saw newly-promoted CSM1 prove themselves against strong opposition. Following a hugely successful season last year, which included being crowned undefeated winners of Cornwall Netball’s Division 3 and thrashing RSM in the Bottle Match in February, the pressure was on to continue that success in Division 2.
The team was much-changed from last season: the loss of several key players graduating this year was not felt for long as new members Kat Oddi and Dani Georgiou soon made their presence count on court. Similarly Linsey King and Ellie Pemberton, having proved themselves in CSM2 last season, were given the opportunity to play at a higher level, which they did with great success. The team was also glad to welcome back Caroline Reader, who graduated in 2014 but simply couldn’t stay away!
First match of the season, against Newquay 2, was met with great anticipation from the players. Despite having had little time to practice together, a couple of socials meant the team had already started to click and this didn’t take long to be reflected on court. Great determination, shown by the whole team in minimising unforced errors and securing turnovers, coupled with consistent shooting from Beth Humby and Caroline Reader, meant CSM1 immediately took a comfortable lead, which was only consolidated throughout the match. A final score of 72-36 was a great result for a first match of the season in a league none of the team had experienced before.
Buoyed from their victory on Tuesday, CSM1 turned up for their match against Penzance 2 on Thursday nonetheless slightly nervous at facing a team which had consistently performed in Division 2 before. A tight first quarter saw CSM1 take a six goal lead into the break, but this was quickly challenged by a fast-paced and experienced Penzance team in the second. Coach Hayley Curtis made some changes at half-time, bringing on Dani Georgiou for her first-team debut after a highly commendable first half from Harri Wood in Wing Attack. A solid defensive display from Kat Oddi, Linsey King, Lily McCoy and Lily Rowland throughout the match ensured multiple turnovers which were then converted by the shooters. After a strong third quarter, CSM1 had increased their lead into the final fifteen minutes. Captain Gillian Hawley put in a typically strong performance in Centre, leading by example as she dominated centre-court both defensively and offensively. A great commitment was shown by the entire team, allowing them they fought off a Penzance resurgence in the final minutes, winning the match 55-44.
Two wins on the bounce mean CSM1 enter their match next Thursday against Storm 3 high on confidence, but aware greater challenges in the season lie ahead. CSM2 play their first match in Division 5 on Tuesday against Newquay 4. Let’s hope both teams can continue emulating the successes of last season.