Sleaford Barge Netball Club’s East Midlands Regional League teams were feeling extra motivated on Sunday after a special personal good luck message from Australian superstar Sharni Layton.
All the girls were determined to make her proud and went out with intent from the first whistle.
First up were Sleaford Barge Tornadoes in their second outing in Division Three against Nottingham City Comets, and the game did not disappoint.
The first quarter saw Sleaford take an early lead with slick feeds from Emma Dewar, followed by steady shooting from Lily Storer and player-of-the-match Beth Davys.
However, the Comets quickly responded with some impressive defensive work and ended 10-9 in front.
The second quarter saw more of the same as neither side gave an inch.
Lily Hughes and Amy Foster worked hard in slowing Nottingham’s progress down the court, but the Comets retained a narrow lead, 19-17, at half-time.
Changes were made, with Alice Tetther coming on at goal shooter, and Melissa Cook at wing attack and they brought calmness to the attacking line-up.
Allied to hard defensive graft throughout the team, Tornadoes finished the quarter strongly with a three-goal run, putting them 29-27 ahead going into the final 15 minutes.
The last quarter saw the same line-up retained as Sleaford settled into their rhythm.
With possession contested strongly from both sides, the game started to heat up, but Tornadoes kept their heads.
The Notts shooting began to succumb under Laura Jesson and Laura Maloney’s defensive pressure, and with strong rebounds, Tornadoes grasped the opportunity to stretch the gap.
Jenny Goodwin completed the squad and provided much-needed direction as the Tornadoes ran out 38-35 winners.
* In the second match of the day, Sleaford Barge Hurricanes faced newly-promoted Bridgford in the first division.
Hurricanes came out of the blocks firing and quickly took the lead with seven unanswered points.
Anne Sharpe and Sarah Brinkworth closed down the Bridgford attack and forced multiple turnovers, leading to a first quarter lead of 14-6.
Sleaford extended their lead in the second quarter thanks to some classy mid-court play from Lily Chow and Shannon Boothright.
When Hurricanes weren’t in possession, every player worked hard defensively to pressure every Bridgford pass, while any mistakes were quickly capitalised on as Sleaford calmly took the ball to goal.
At half time the Hurricanes led 29-14.
Emily Watson joined Sleaford’s attacking line-up at half-time and her pace around the edge of the circle provided some accurate passes for the shooters.
Katie Clarke had another storming game at wing defence, with vital turnovers at key moments throughout the match.
Sleaford moved 39-25 up going into the last 15 minutes and carried their dominance into the final quarter.
Wonderful drives into the circle and accurate shooting by Emma Sharpe and Gemma Gunter gave Sleaford their highest scoring quarter as they wrapped up a 53-34 win.
Anne Sharpe was player-of-the-match for her excellent circle defensive play which neutralised the Bridgford attack.