Woking Blackhawks Girls v Yateley Silverbacks 26-25

Bracknell League U14 - 22 September 2017, Wellington College, Crowthorne

Friday evening. The satnav took us on a tour of Crowthorne but we finally made it into the car park with time to spare. Alanagh and her mum were there already and soon four more of our players arrived. At least we had a team.

Alexandra and her mum came the same way we did, so they had a tour of the town too before they made it in just before tip. We now had a sub too!

The 5-Out offensive set looked good during the warm-up and so did the 4-Out. The young ref and the even-younger table officials were at the ready, our supporters had taken their seats and we tipped at 9pm against a much shorter but lively team from Yateley.

Laura won the tip but we failed to score. Yateley had their chance and took it but at the next attack, Laura drop-stepped to the baseline and evened the score.

Things looked good for a moment.

Then it all unraveled into an 8-point-no-reply situation which forced coach Costa into a time-out. Defensive duties explained and assigned, and offensive sets duly re-emphasised, we went back on the court and finished the first quarter 4-14.

Anthonia subbed in and together with Nora they injected a new life into our defensive play while Laura and Alanagh scored 4 a-piece to finish the second quarter impressively 8-0.

The recovery was complete and we were starting the game afresh and with renewed hope for the win.

Q3 was a more balanced affair but the Blackhawks edged it out 8-4 with Laura, Alanagh and Anthonia all scoring with gusto while Nora, Alex and Amelia held their positions well.

At the beginning of Q4 we found ourselves briefly up by 6 points and then it was a question of protecting that lead and hanging in to the end of the game fighting against tiredness and table officials who were more interested in chatting away amongst them than watching the game and scoring it correctly.

Our hawk-eyed supporters had to intervene and point out that the table had allocated a basket to the wrong team (to Yateley’s no.11 as opposed to Alanagh).

All of this would have made a bit of a difference of course, because if one does the math, Yateley would have won 22-25. As it happened, the Commissionaire on the day accepted our protestations and the score difference was corrected (but not the actual score on the scoresheet).

With a minute of playing time to go and 24-23 on the scoreboard (when it should have really been 26-25), Nora went to the charity line and made 2 out of 2 but none of them counted as she stepped over the free-throw line.

The Silverbacks fought back and with 3 seconds on the clock won a foul of their own. Their player stepped up to take the two free grows and sunk the first. Alas it would not count as he too stepped over the line. The tension mounted. We all held our collective breaths as the second free throw missed, the ball was contested for what seemed like a lifetime and finally came to rest in Amelia’s thankful hands and to the relief of everyone in the Blackhawks camp.

And so we found ourselves celebrating our first win of the season with just six players on the court who gave it their all. Be proud girls!

Q1: 4-14, Q2: 8-0, Q3: 8-4, Q4: 6-9
Blackhawks: Laura (14), Alanagh (10), Anthonia (2), Nora, Amelia, Alexandra.

Coach: Costas Rakitzis

Team Manager: Janice Springall