Mystics u14 I’s away game on the wrong side of the Pennines before Christmas versus Sheffield Hatters was as hard fought as any family’s tussle to take ownership of the tv remote control. I fully expected a similarly tough contest last Sunday. I was as inaccurate as a short-sighted darts player wearing sun glasses in a dark room. It turned out to be as one-sided as the Lancashire (House of Lancaster) – Yorkshire (House of York) battle to sit on the English throne which went the way of the Red Rose by 63 years to 23.
The big difference in our second encounter was, having now seen our opponents in action, a more comprehensive game plan could be formulated with their strengths and weaknesses more apparent. Plans, of course, mean very little without the resources to put theory into practice. For example, in theory, husbands are generally expected to be more adept at DIY than their wives. Not always. The only ‘tool’ I can be trusted with is a tape measure!
I digress. Our talented starters executed our plan to the letter from the opening tip. I won’t go into too much detail here as there may be one or two ‘southern spies’ on the look out for clues! In essence, (which is the French word for petrol!) we wanted to make the Hatters mad (!) by limiting opportunities for their 3 big forwards to dominate inside. Credit for accomplishing this throughout the entire 40 minutes goes to all 12 Mystics for their outstanding defensive contributions. Their focus, determination, effort and unity restricted a strong offensive outfit to a lowly average of just 9 points per quarter.
Thanks, principally, to incredible finishing by a quartet of highly gifted players, we amassed the same number of points, 36, in the first quarter as our opponents managed in the whole game. Bearing in mind that Hatters are almost certain to go into the play-offs seeded #3 or 4, this was a remarkable achievement which was so impressive that it will be difficult to repeat.
We will probably need to play somewhere near that level again in our third game at Sheffield on 17 February if we are to maintain our 100% winning record.
Thanks to James, Ivan, Dawn and Louise for their invaluable assistance and to all parents etc. for your unfailing support.