Teams make debut on the opening night of the season

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A quartet of teams made their debut on the opening night of the Rutland County Netball League’s winter season.

Stan’s Stars, Rutland Belles , Rutland Rockets and Mr Gray’s Girls took to the Catmose Sports Centre courts for the first time, joining teams who competed in the first ever summer season this year.

The league is now split into two divisions and Cavells took on Mercury in the top flight, eventually winning 31-12.

Fine defensive efforts from Carly Latham (GD) and Megan Clarke (GK) for Cavells saw them take a 6-1 lead at the end of the first quarter, and they continued to dominate for the rest of the game, despite an impressive defensive effort from Gemma Young at goal defence for Mercury, and a slow start and inconsistent shooting from GS Tina Sayers and GA Laura Wilkinson for Cavells. But Sayers and Wilkinson found form by the third quarter and Cavells raced away to am opening night win.

Cavells: Megan Clarke, Carly Latham, Amy Cavell-Taylor, Laura Baines, Liz Shiffner, Laura Wilkison, Tina Sayers.

Mercury: Julie Owen, Gemma Young, Beth, Alberga, Kat Bradshaw, Vicki Sanders, Emma Morley, Debbie Roe.

On court two, Rutland Belles met Mr Gray’s girls for their debut division two match.

The two sides were evenly matched in the first half with just four goals separating them; largely thanks to Louise Beaver’s lively interceptions for Rutland Belles.

However, Mr Grey’s Girls dominated in the second half to win 25-4.

Mr Gray’s Girls: Helen Takala, Michelle Osborne, Laura Gale, Jody Cripps, Emma Reynolds, Clare Miller, Hannah Brown, Vicki Uttley.

Rutland Belles: Marth Rhodes, Louise Beaver, Jane Booth, Melanie O’Beg, Jemima Mason, Amanda Mason, Deborah Stewart.

In the second set of matches, Pink Panthers took on the Rockets division one, and in division two Rutland Jewells met Stan’s Stars.

In what was a friendly but competitive game, Rutland Rockets fought valiantly against Rutland Panthers, with the Panther taking a 9-7 scoreline at the mid-point.

Both teams played some excellent netball, and Panther’s newest addition, Jo Creighton (GK), made an excellent debut holding Rockets to just three goals in the third quarter and enabling Panthers to stretch ahead by eight goals.

Panthers experience showed as they opened up a winning 24-15 scoreline.

Rutland Rockets: Deborah Kennard-Kettle, Francessca Kennard-Kettle, Amber O’Berg, Becky Bond, Megan Scott, Celia Cunningham, Samantha Griffin.

Pink Panthers: Jo Creighton, Lucy Eayrs, Kate McCagen, Cath McComb, Kim Wills, Penny Cooper, Naomi Cooper.

The match of the night was between Rutland Jewells and Stan’s Stars, with Jewells desperate for their first ever win after suffering 12 straight loses in their RCNL first season.

The first quarter was electric, with Star’s Mel Asher storming through the defence to net a number of impressive goals.

Jewells’s Caroline Drage used her height and experience to provide her team with shooting opportunities and they pulled away in the final quarter to win 31-15 thanks to great leadership from captain Michelle Pickersgill, outstanding shooting from Caroline Drage, strong centre court play from C Heather Wallwork and strong defensive actions from GK Kathi Aylward.

The Star’s had a lot of positives to take from their debut. Asher’s shooting was strong, centre Sam Lake was quick to find space on court and Sonia Newton made some great interceptions alongside Anna Robinson and Michelle Pugh.

Rutland Jewells: Kathi Aylward, Michelle Bennett, Jo Harley, Heather Wallwork, Michelle Pickersgill, Katy Duncan, Caroline Drage.

Stan’s Stars: Michelle Pugh, Anna Robinson, Tracey Worthington, Sam Lake, Nicola Forbes, Mel Asher, Danielle Munton, Sonia Newton.