Forget United v City, the real Manchester derby took place at the ABC Theatre of Dreams last Saturday when Mystics U14 II hosted Mystics U14 I in front of a sell out crowd. Mystics I, still in shock from the realisation that Mystics U16 II had pinched their black kit to go to Derby, immediately received a second shock, in what could only be termed as a shocking day so far, when Emily Taylor had the nerve to give Mystics II a 2-0 lead. Two buckets from the unshakeable Lily Hayes and one each from the high scoring duo of Olivia Forster and Nia Molloy then restored the perceived status quo. (Not one of my favourite groups. They provide as much variety as a one-flavoured box of chocolates.)
After a couple of flashes- literally (now you see her, now you don’t), from the gifted N. Mahmoud who is marginally swifter than a gale force wind, Mystics I made full use of their extra experience to instigate a whirlwind of their own in the form of a 22 point surge in just 6 minutes with the ever improving Lia Vourliotis and her promising cousin Jo Vourliotis prominent.
The second quarter was similarly productive for Mystics I. ( I was going to shorten it to MI but if I had some people might have thought I was referring to a motorway!) with a further 28 points scored principally on the break or following a series of crisp, accurate passes. Mystics II tried hard to respond and could not be faulted for their never-say-die attitude but nevertheless trailed 13-58 by half-time.
Such a large lead gave Mystics I licence to be as experimental as Dr. Jekyl and Prof. Frankenstein combined over the remaining 20 minutes. Defensive match-ups were changed and an alternative offensive philosophy was adopted. To their credit, Mystics II took full advantage , winning the third quarter 16-15 and going down by just one at 10-11 in the fourth as N. Mahmoud and E. Costa combined successfully on several occasions. G Tuck also caught the eye with a couple of nice finishes.
For Mystics I, the aforementioned Lily, Olivia and Nia all showed great skill and commendable maturity in the manner in which they shared the basketball. (They wouldn’t be so generous if cakes were involved!) This enabled one of the youngest players on show, the talented Daisy Bryan to emerge as the game’s leading scorer with 21 points. After seeing their side out-rebounded in the early stages, the spring-heeled Esha Nayar, the hard-working Zara Masadeh-Tate and the all-action Eleni Vourliotis- they are everywhere!- made sure there was no re-occurence thereafter and all 3 were most impressive in their domination of the boards.
As expected, or demanded, this highly entertaining game was played in a delightful spirit and superbly officiated on the floor and on the table.Considering the fact that all but 2 of the players on show are eligible to compete at this level again next season, the future looks even brighter than Orange.
Thanks to all who helped and supported us. Next up for Mystics I is Tameside Royals at Home this Sunday at 12:30pm.