Sunderland City Predators defended well as they beat Astley B to go top of the league. Picture credit: Iliyana Farfarova

Sunderland City Predators had better luck against Astley B earlier this season. Picture credit: Iliyana Farfarova

The Sunderland City Predators were “gutted” to have missed out on the win in a close encounter against Astley A, but left the court knowing they had done their best in a game where neither side deserved to lose.

A remarkable netball display from Astley’s first team saw them claim a 29-32 victory to ultimately send them on top of the league and leave the Predators sitting third.

The Predators were excellent to stay in reach but a rampant fourth quarter took the game away from the Sunderland side.

Predators player Rachael Coady said: “I’m gutted about the loss because we were so close.

“I think it flowed really well but it was just some silly passing that threw it away and my chin went down a little bit.

“I thought it was a good game and I enjoyed the fact that it was one for one. I didn’t feel as much pressure actually. I thought I would but I didn’t. “

Coady added: “I think we were expecting to win because of the fact that their B team were ahead of the A team in the league before and we beat them.”

For the Predators the match was the perfect opportunity to introduce new players Sarah Lewis Obuba and Katie Goodlad that came into the team from the Back to Netball sessions.

Captain Kelsy Mavin said: “We had 12 people and Natalie (Connor) wanted everyone to play. And everyone had at least a quarter and that’s fair and that’s how I’d like to play as well.

“At the end of the day we’re never going to get better unless we’re having court play at a competitive level. Everyone needs to have court time so I’m happy with that.”

Coady agreed: “To be honest, I think it’s about fair play and all of the girls are good players and everyone should have a fair chance to play.

“In the last quarter I do think it is taught when you’re changing players all the time because it’s harder to get on court when you’re not used to playing yet but I do think the girls played really well.”

The scoreline was close throughout and was 22-22 going into the last quarter, it was all left up to the last 15 minutes. The Predators took a risk to reshuffle around some of their players for the deciding last minutes and Kelsy admits that it wasn’t ideal and it didn’t pay off.

“The girls in the last quarter had different combinations. We swapped players which doesn’t help because had already gelled together and people had to get used to a different set up.”



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