Coach Jim's Report

Coach Jim’s report: the local derby

Despite being like Samson after Delilah lobbed off most of his hair, -we weren’t at full strength – Mystics U14 produced a first half performance to be proud of against near neighbours Mystics II last Sunday in front of a sell-out crowd. My pre-game team talk centred around defensive roles (as opposed to forward rolls) as well as looking for the early pass rather than unnecessary dribbling. Those who were awake – it was, after all, a 10.00 tip off – certainly took notice for most of the proceedings.

Our impressive ball and player movement, orchestrated, in turn, by Adele and Akeala, were rewarded with a massive first half 50 points. Alternatively, our focus on individual and team defence since the Christmas break did what the Co-op used to do – it paid dividends. Despite their efforts, the hard-working, well-drilled (due to regular visits to the dentist?) Mystics II were restricted to a mere 12 points in reply. 

Someone must have spiked our drinks at half-time because we came out after the interval with all the energy of a sloth! Our display over the next 5 or 6 minutes proved the notion that it can be as difficult for young players to perform at the top of their game for an entire game as it is for former American Presidents and British Prime Ministers with dodgy hair to tell the truth. Our passing became as wayward as a broken Sat-nav and I was concerned that some of our girls had suddenly been stricken with colour blindness! 

A decision to start dribbling all over the place prompted me to think about playing in bibs and our previously water tight defence now had more holes in it than a golf course and a shop full of colanders. To their credit, our opponents took full advantage to win the quarter 16-20. To our girls’ credit, they appeared to list to my mixture of advice and constructive criticism and responded in ideal fashion.

I was convinced our downturn was principally due to complacency prompted by such a big lead. I called for greater focus and effort. I got it. The five who started set off like a scene from Gun Fight at the OK Coral – with all guns blazing. Multiple substitutions then, understandably, slowed our momentum somewhat but, inspired by the ubiquitous Jane and the unstoppable Mojan, we totalled 84 points. Excellent defensive displays from all 12 Mystics, most notably Neeusha, Alycia, Elsa and Mya limited our gallant opponents to 36 whilst positive contributions from Lola T, the two Sophies and Eniola are also worthy of mention.

We host Newcastle and Spinners over the next two weeks before season-defining fixtures at home and away to our biggest rivals Sheffield on 4 and 17 February.

Many thanks to James, Louise and Annette for your assistance and to all parents for your unfailing support.