8 out of the 10 Mystics on duty for last Sunday’s home game against Tameside Royals Juniors have at least 1 more year at U14 level. However, even they looked positively veteran compared to the aptly named opposition. For once, we actually out-heighted the other team and had a distinct edge in rebound potential. Lily Hayes, Esha Nayar, Eleni Vourliotis and Zara Masadeh-Tate all certainly took full advantage of this without having to stand on any boxes for a change.
In the absence of Charli Wroe, Kizzy Spence and Lily Gilronan, I detailed Daisy Bryan and Nia Molloy to share point guard duties with Lily H and Olivia Forster. Both Lily and Olivia both showed great maturity and a sense of ‘team first’ by willingly taking something of a back seat on this occasion. The composure and level of skill shown by Daisy and Nia, our 2 youngest players, bodes well for next season.
Even though we were facing, or more accurately, looking down at very inexperienced opponents, there were plenty of positives to be drawn from the game. Top of the list is the fact that no less than 6 Mystics scored in double figures with Jo Vourliotis, Esha and Emily Wood leading the way. That said, it was Lia Vourliotis who got us started as she, her younger sister Eleni, cousin Jo (we like to keep it in the family!), Esha and Lily moved the basketball quickly and accurately enough to register a creditable 18 points in the first 5 minutes, conceding 7.
This quintet were then replaced by the 5 bench-warmers- Daisy, Nia, Olivia, Emily and Zara. Their tally was marginally less at 16 but they did restrict Tameside to just 1 point. The second quarter followed on like most books written by Barbara Cartland- it was a similar story. The younger Tameside players had been unable to match up physically or skill-wise but, unlike for Ann Boleyn, no heads dropped and they never stopped hustling.
Nothing was to be gained by seeking to double our score after the break. Restrictions were laid own. Lily, Olivia and Emily made sure they were implemented throughout the remaining 20 minutes. Tameside deserve praise for their spirited display in the fourth period and can look forward to a far more successful campaign next time round.
Mystics now go from the equivalent of being faced with a very mild Thai Red curry to having to cope with a very fierce Vindaloo in the form of the undefeated Sheffield Hatters. Mad or not, if we can overcome them by 9, we will be seeded 2 for the play-offs. if not, it will probably be number 7 seed for us which is obviously less favorable but is by no means what Christopher Columbus thought America was – the end of the world.
As usual, thanks to all helpers and supporters. Hopefully, you will all be in good voice next Sunday at 12.30pm.