Mystics U14s began the 2016-17 season with an emphatic 133-18 away win at Lancashire Spinners last Sunday. (I was going to call it the 2016-17 campaign but that makes it sound like part of a war and this game was anything but as brutal as the scoreline suggests. It was played and officiated in tremendous spirit throughout.) At 6-4 two minutes in, not even Psychic Sally could have predicted what was in store over the next 38 minutes of playing time.
Due to a delay in registering a number of players, (those who seemingly read and write slowly!) Mystics had only nine players on duty for this fixture but all nine certainly made telling contributions. In number order, Charli Wroe showed that size doesn’t matter when you have a skill set as varied and accomplished as she has. Elli Atherton demonstrated that she is now a real threat both on the break and from mid-range. Elli Hatton confirmed that controlled aggression does have a place- well four places actually- in a ‘non-contact’ sport and that she now has effective three-point range. Captain Courtney Kenyon-Betts again performed with style, poise and a maturity way beyond her years. Beth McLoughlin made so many telling passes that even her dad lost count! Olivia Forster proved that determination and a willingness to listen and learn always pays dividends – just as the Co-op used to. (That’s one for any readers old enough to be on the Saga mailing list!)
Lucy Bryan hardly put a foot, or a hand, wrong during the whole game. Holly Bryan hardly put a hand, or a foot, wrong during the whole game. These two newcomers will be huge assets for us in future, more demanding circumstances. Suffice to say that Lauren Addey scored more points in this single game than she did in the whole of last season which should give her the confidence to shoot the ball from now on. She put her success down to the energy drink she was sipping rather than the Doritos she scoffed at half-time. I put it down to working hard and being determined to improve. As with the rest of the team, she can be very pleased with her display.
Faced with such ability and togetherness, Spinners were understandably somewhat overwhelmed but deserve enormous credit for never once dropping their heads or giving up. Their captain, K Shimmons, in particular, gave all she had and showed genuine potential. Spinners seemed to appreciate the fact that on no occasion did we press them which allowed them to have a decent amount of possession so that they could feel that they had contributed positively to an enjoyable encounter which left no one feeling either smug or totally disillusioned.
There will be tougher tests ahead for Mystics, such as GCSEs and A levels, but the early signs look most promising. Many thanks to assistant coach James, team manager Sammy and all parents for your help and support. It is much appreciated. Next game- home to Stockport on Sunday 2 October with a 12.30 tip.
Report by Jim Carnegie