The Sussex Netball team lost by 37 goals to 34 at home to local rivals Brighton in another tight contest last Wednesday. Sussex may have felt disappointed to not have come away with a victory in a game that saw them win all but one quarter. Sussex Captain, Sarah Young, acknowledged their performance was: “The best we’ve played as a team.” It certainly was an impressive effort against a team that were three places above them in the league prior to the start of the match.

Sophie Molyneux (L) and Sally Simonds (R) in action for Sussex (photo: Alex Browne)

Sophie Molyneux (L) and Sally Simonds (R) in action for Sussex (photo: Alex Browne)

The game got underway with a nervy start from both sides. Sussex Goal Attack, Kelly Scowen, scored the first goal of the game and that settled a few nerves and before long Sussex had a 3-1 lead. The early exchanges saw some solid defending from Laura Holdstock and Jo Lorimer, playing at Goal Keeper and Goal Defence respectively.

Holdstock made a decent interception that stopped the Brighton attack from an almost certain goal. In a game which would go right down to the final quarter, such defending was invaluable.

Liz Easton, playing confidently at Centre, threaded two incisive passes through to Young to score quick back to back goals. A few moments later Easton was at the heart of a lovely move, which saw Sally Simonds perform a deftly lobbed pass to Easton, who then lay the ball off to Young for a goal. Sussex held a narrow 9-8 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter got underway in much the same manner as the first, with Scowen scoring early on. However, after that there was little similarity with the first quarter bar a swift move involving Scowen, Simonds and Young which led to a well taken goal. Sussex seemed to lose the plot a little and became frustrated as Brighton were more and more in the ascendancy. It allowed Brighton to open up a 6 point lead at half-time and would mean that Sussex were always playing catch-up from then on.

Sussex made one change at half-time; Sophie Molyneux replacing the tireless Easton at centre. It was the only change Sussex made throughout the entire four quarters. Molyneux managed to find room and lay off some nice passes which allowed for a resurgence from Sussex. Moments later she was involved in the move of the game. Wing Defence, Hayley Miller, picked up a loose ball in the middle and layed it off to Molyneux. Molyneux found Simonds out wide, who passed it into the centre for Scowen to lay back to Molyneux whom in turn threaded the ball through to Young to finish off a wonderful move. Sussex were playing some great Netball whilst Brighton were becoming a little over physical. Scowen was twice knocked over during the third quarter.

The final quarter started with Sussex trailing by 4 goals. The game became quite tense as both sides were on edge. Brighton were twice penalised late on for off the ball obstructions. Sussex at this point were giving it their all. Lorimer, picking up a lot of the ball in her own half, started to get things moving again. Young, who had found her range in the third quarter, along with Scowen, were doing their best to claw back the four goals needed for a famous victory. However, it was not to be and Brighton walked away victorious after four entertaining quarters.

After the game Young said: “We thought it would be tougher and in the end were quite happy with the way it turned out.” A three goal defeat to Brighton is nothing to be ashamed of and the team could hold their heads up high at the final whistle. Brighton captain, Alice Bryson –no relation to Bill unfortunately- added: “We were happy with the victory, although we would have preferred it to have been by a larger margin. It’s always stressful playing Sussex due to the rivalry yet it turned out to be an enjoyable game.”

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