IZZY BATES SHINES AS MID SUSSEX MARLINS LADIES CONTINUE OUTSTANDING SEASON
Marlins ladies continued their successful British Water Polo League campaign at Grantham last weekend, winning both their matches in the first round of the play off league for promotion to Division II.
Marlins opening game was against the speedy but relatively inexperienced Sheffield Stingrays. While on paper Marlins were favourites for this match coach, Tony Noble, had impressed on his squad the importance of imposing themselves from the start. Marlins came out of the blocks much faster than their opponents and their fast, high pressing game won most of the 50-50 tackles and forced numerous errors and scoring opportunities on which they were quick to pounce. Marlins led 6-1 by the end of the first quarter and 9-3 at half time. Noble had the luxury of being able to rest his starting seven and give his bench players some useful match experience. Even though this reduced Marlins’ free scoring a little and the game became more scrappy and error prone, the result was never in doubt and they ran out comfortable winners by 14 goals to 10.
Marlins scorers were: Isobel Bates 9 goals, Lowrie Hancock(3), Lauren Hand & Abby-Louise Rocky.
Marlins returned to the pool on Sunday to play a contrasting style of game against a highly experienced, albeit ageing, Manchester Comets team that had a clear game plan to slow down the Marlins attack. Coach Noble had asked for patience and consistency from his squad and he was delighted with the result. For the first time this season the team delivered an exemplary tactical performance for the whole game, with controlled defensive play and quickly breaking into attack to punish the Manchester team who lacked the speed and fitness of the Marlins players.
Manchester’s game plan revolved around, Fran Leighton, their imposing former Great Britain international centre forward. While Fran may have lost a yard or two of pace over the years, she has nevertheless retained her skill and great physical strength in front of goal. She was marshalled superbly and her scoring opportunities were limited to scraps as she was martialled by Marlins centre backs, L Deacon, Gilbert and Tidy who rotated in turns to keep her under control throughout the game.
In attack, Noble was delighted to see 11 of Marlins 12 outfield players get their names on the score sheet, including two junior players Liv Henderson & Emily Allgar for whom this is their first senior season. Izzy Bates dominated again with a further five goals to take her total to a remarkable 14 for the weekend and extend her lead as the league’s leading goal scorer.
Marlins romped home by 19 goals to 5. By the end of the game, Noble had the luxury of rolling his substitutions at will, keeping his squad fresh and providing more valuable experience and water time to his junior players.
Marlins scorers were: Isobel Bates 5 goals, Liv Henderson(2), Gemma Deacon(2), Lucy Deacon(2), Leah Clark(2) Lowrie Hancock, Anna Bowles, Eve tidy, Emily Allgar, Lauren Hand & Abby-Louise Rocky.
Having qualified for the play off league in December, Marlins need to finish in the top 3 (of 8) places to be sure of promotion, so need to win at least 3 of their five remaining games. The squad next head off to Northampton for round two at the beginning of February and then to Walsall in March for the final round
Marlins full squad: Amy Styles [GK & Capt], Abby-Louise Rocky, Jacquie Gilbert, Lucy Deacon, Lauren Hand, Anna Bowles, Lowrie Hancock, Eve Tidy, Emily Allgar, Leah Clark, Gemma Deacon, Isobel Bates, Olivia Henderson
Coach: Tony Noble
See attached picture:
Izzy Bates in action shooting at goal