Norfolk United Premier squad face agony of relegation play-off


- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Norfolk United have endured mixed fortunes at the end of the season.

While the East Region Division Two squad finished second after a 35-31 victory over Crosskeys at the UEA Sportspark, the Premier squad found themselves facing a play-off to retain their league status.

The Premier squad travelled to Loughborough to take on TFC – with the winners guaranteed their Division Three place next season.

United produced a great effort and fought until the end, but after 60 minutes of end to end play, they went down 34-32, meaning they go into the play-offs on May 3-4.

United's East Region starting seven was: Maddie Ewer, Rachael Wright, Gina Hopkinson, Levi Starkings, Mollie Armes, Vanessa Coulson and Amber Parrott.

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Immediate pressure was put on centre passes, with Armes getting tips and great unit work in the circle from Coulson and Parrott saw a good number of turnovers for United. Excellent timing down the court and flawless shooting from Wright and Ewer saw United with a lead of seven, 13-6, at quarter-time.

For the second quarter, Crosskeys opted to change their shooter and GD. This made no real impact on United as they continued to pull away, increasing the lead to 11.

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Crosskeys GA, towards the end of the quarter, changed her tactic and started to play herself for the shots, which allowed them to claw three goals back and at half-time it was 22-14.

The third quarter was an untidy one for United, with too many errors down the entire court, allowing Crosskeys a chance of getting back into the game.

However, it was all to play for in the final quarter, with the score at 26-23 going into the final 15.

The final changes saw Starkings in at WA, Amy in at C and Jenny Milligan taking the WD bib. The scrappiness continued but United did break Crosskeys' flow and when it mattered towards the end, the shots were sunk with confidence, United managing to hold on and take the game 35-31.

Rachael Wright, sponsored by SC Crane Assisted Haulage, was named player of the match.

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