Cambridge won by a three point marginJoseph Powell

Cambridge 1sts overcame a spirited Loughborough side to beat the Purples 4ths by a three point margin and take their Midlands Tier 2 clash 37-34.

The Light Blues played a dynamic passing game throughout, frequently switching the ball across each side of the court to release Goal Shooter Carla Hill and Goal Attack Sarah Godlee  who both showed sturdy composure to convert a healthy majority of chances which came their way.

Building to this point took some work however. Loughborough began the first quarter by throwing off and setting forth immediately, with an early miss from Goal Attack Ellie Jefferey subsequently falling to Goal Shooter Chloe Taylor to chalk up the first points of the encounter.

This was coupled with a consistent agility from the Purples, tracking Light Blue players well and covering the court with speed to force errors. Their reward game came in the establishment of an early lead, with a five point cushion established by the 12th minute and the Light Blues looking as if they might be in for a long afternoon.  

This was to be, however, the last time the Light Blues trailed all game, as the team then grew into the encounter and demonstrated a confidence and control of proceedings which would see them steadily climb the score board. 

Cambridge regrouped, with quick close quarter passing bringing the ball to the goal circle repeatedly for Hill and Godlee to convert multiple looping shots to bring the game level at 11-11 by the end of the first quarter. 

The second quarter saw both teams bursting out of the blocks, with Hill landing a quick double before Jeffrey brought the Purples level again, aided by some athletic jumping from her teammates to intercept numerous Light Blue wide balls.

Cambridge exhibited a long period of possession to follow, building a four point lead by the 20th minute. Good reach from the Light Blue midcourt players, combined with a more aggressive approach and composure at the net, saw the home team dominate the second quarter and close it out eight points ahead at 24-17.

Cambridge rolled this momentum into the penultimate quarter, employing some smart low passing to evade their opponents and add to their growing scoreline within the first few minutes. The score then climbed steadily as the result reached 27-21 with 37 minutes gone. 

Accurate passing firmly in their wheel house again, Cambridge kept possession high and broke the 30 point mark towards the end of the quarter. This had reached 32 by the buzzer, an effort matched by their opponents who had sustained the six point deficit to make it 32-26.

"Cambridge, however, remained composed amidst the late pressure"

As the final quarter got under way Loughborough looked to regain their momentum with high energy skirmishes into the goal third, an approach which yielded dividends and reduced the margin to four points at 32-28 after 47 minutes. 

This urgency remained throughout the remainder of the game, as the Purples took more risks and spent more time at the net. Cambridge, however, remained composed amidst the late pressure, again exhibiting the cool build-up play which had seen them establish their lead, moving on to 37 points to their opponents' 33.

With 20 seconds left on the clock and the final result apparent, Loughborough’s last effort could only gain a consolation from Taylor as the Purples were left to head back to Leicestershire with a three point margin of defeat as the buzzer called the game at 37-34.

The win left Cambridge two for two in the Midlands Tier 2 having triumphed over Birmingham 4ths last week, putting them in good stead to secure instant return to Tier 1 after last seasons relegation with a display rich in composure and persistence.

Both teams find themselves back at the University Sports Centre next Wednesday (06/11) to take each other on again in the Midlands Conference Cup.

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