By Jordan Jones
BATH University’s Fifths netball team inflicted a heavy defeat on the University of South Wales Seconds on the opening day of the Western 6A league.
It’s the heaviest margin that USW’s seconds have lost by since their formation in 2011 and leaves them bottom of the division.
Bath Fifths were returning to the netball scene, having recently reformed. This was their first match in five years – and they won in convincing fashion.
Gail Calford’s side were beginning life in a new division, having finished bottom of the Western 5B Division, their second relegation in as many years. USW fielded a new look team, including assistant coach and chiropractic student Tessa Hepburn.
The game began in a way that suggested the outcome would be more even.
USW went ahead through Georgina Ellans, but that was one of just seven goals scored by the hosts in the whole hour. USW’s highest tally for points came in the first quarter when they picked up three more goals from Kelly Nicol.
For much of the game Bath penned USW into their own half. Both Eleanor Killip and Isabelle Dryden were prolific in front of goal for the away side.
Florence Williams worked well in providing the attackers with service.
In the second quarter, Bath went goal crazy and continued to pepper the USW net. Williams continued to be involved in the attacks, but it was Eve Samardzija who came on for Dryden, following her footsteps in goal shooting.
At the break, USW trailed by 28 points with just five goals scored in the first half.
Despite a number of positional changes at the break the pattern didn’t change for USW who had a difficult task in dealing with the Bath attack.
And it was in the third quarter that Bath plundered most of their goals.
Dryden returned to the action and picked up where she left off, scoring three times in quick succession.
USW’s midfield went missing too often, leaving gaps for the Bath defence to go over the top to their attackers. Sophie Christie continued to exploit this.
In the final quarter, Bath continued to pile on the misery on their hosts.
USW’s defence worked hard to keep the scoreline competitive, but Bath made the most of sloppy passes from the midfielders.
Bath’s Killip and Dryden linked up well and Christie pushed further forward to supplement the attackers.
USW now remain winless in two and a half years, with their last victory coming in March 2016.
Assistant coach Tessa Hepburn talked after the game about what needs to improve.
“Everything on a whole. We’re a new team, none of us has worked together, we’ve all got different styles,” she said.
“Defensively and attacking, we need to work together.”
USW Seconds now travel to Bath Spa University, to play their Second side, aiming to bounce back from this crushing defeat.