In theory, an away trip to Bury to play Lancashire Spinners U14s doesn’t take as long as it does to cook a Sunday roast. It took us even longer than that yesterday due to the fact that we had to contend with the fact that every car owner in Greater Manchester and Lancashire decided to take their cars out for an evening spin!
The resultant late arrival for our players and kit left us with a severely curtailed warm-up session. Instead of our usual 30 minutes, we were afforded a less-than-generous 2 minutes to prepare. This was about as useful as asking the girls to warm-up by sucking a peppermint in an igloo!
Unsurprisingly, we under-performed in the first quarter, initially falling behind when scoring appeared to be as difficult as eating soup with a fork. We managed to draw level at 12-12 before hitting our stride in the second quarter which we won 16-9 with our 8 baskets shared amongst 6 players.
I asked for a fast start after half-time and that’s precisely what I was given! At times, we had been guilty of too much unnecessary dribbling but now no bibs were required as we replaced this with incisive ball and player movement. This yielded 23 points in 10 minutes to make the outcome as safe as a safe!
I was now able to change players as often as Italy changes its Prime Minister throughout the fourth period without compromising the outcome. We still managed to shade the quarter 15-14 to emerge with a hard-fought, fully deserved 66-48 victory over worthy opponents.
I was pleased with with number of scoring opportunities we created when we kept things simple to share the basketball rather than dribbling it into areas more congested than Tokyo (the world’s most densely populated capital city.) Our rebounding became more and more impressive as the game progressed and all 12 Mystics made positive contributions on and off the bench.
That said, the most gratifying aspect for me, as with the away game at Sheffield, was that 2 of those not playing on this occasion again turned up to support their team-mates and friends. The team spirit amongst this group is sky high. This will pay dividends in close games. Despite being happy with the win the girls seemed more delighted with the claim that they had surpassed the target I set of 5 box outs by 1 to receive the reward of donuts for all which I made in a moment of weakness. I shall refrain from demanding a recount and search some out for Sunday or Monday.
As always, many thanks to Louise and James for all they do and to all parent taxi drivers. Your support was much-appreciated and most apparent. See you on Sunday.