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11th November 2013

The only way is hoop

Leeds too strong for valiant Manchester in relegation battle at the Armitage Centre

Manchester women’s basketball 1sts suffered their fourth consecutive defeat of the season on Wednesday, losing 45-32 to fellow strugglers Leeds Carnegie 2nds at the Armitage Centre.

Both sides entered the game experiencing torrid runs of form, with Manchester without a win in their last five and Leeds in their last three.   However, while Leeds had opened their 2013-14 campaign with two narrow defeats, Manchester’s opening three games saw them going into the match with an eye-watering points difference of -102, much as a result of their 62-12 defeat at home to Newcastle in their second game.

This however did not show in the spirits of the Manchester squad, who along with coach John Brady looked ready and raring to go prior to the start.

In the battle of the Northern 1A bottom two it was the visitors who took the early initiative, racing into a 6-0 lead in just a matter of minutes. Sadly, the six point deficit was as close as the hosts would get to Leeds for the remainder of the match, as they toiled to get back into contention against the physical visitors.

Missed chances proved costly for Manchester  who failed to convert any of their six free-throws in the first period. Leeds on the other hand were far more effective on the break, regularly converting chances to race into a 12-4 lead at the end of the first period.

Manchester came out stronger in the second period, with their number six Hamzah converting a number of chances to keep the hosts in touching distance. However despite Leeds being notably less clinical, they still managed to retain a strong lead thanks to their powerful number nine, ending the second period 24-15 in front.

Despite continuous hard work Manchester struggled to close the gap in the third period, though Rawat was unfortunate not to score from distance on a number of occasions, which, on another day would have brought Manchester back into contention.

An increasingly physical game was typified by Hamzah taking a knock to the face half way through the third period as Manchester reaped little joy from their attempts to drive through the cente, taking them into the final quarter nine points behind at 21-30.

And any hope of a fairytale comeback was dashed by the visitors within minutes of the final period beginning, as some good attacking play from Leeds saw them add a further seven points without a purple reply.

By the time the hosts did begin to put points on the board, it was sadly too little, too late, with Leeds able to comfortably see out the game with a convincing 45-32 victory.

It is however testament to the home team that they continued to press until the very end, and their coach John Brady was the first to congratulate their efforts as the horn sounded for full time.

While Leeds returned home celebrating their first win of the campaign, it is now sadly six defeats in a row for Manchester, with a trip to Lancaster coming up next week. With

Lancaster sitting third bottom of the table before Wednesday’s fixtures, you do feel that it is now somewhat of a must win game for Manchester, if they are to avoid being one of the two sides to be relegated at the end of the season from an incredibly tough Northern 1A division.

However on today’s evidence, regardless of the results MUBC women’s 1sts will undoubtedly continue to exhibit their unrivalled team spirit and hunger for the remainder of the season, and for that, they and their coach deserve huge credit.

Woman of the match: F. Hamzah (6).

Was a powerful driving forward for the home-side, and on another day would have scored a hatful of points. 

Thomas Turner

Thomas Turner

Thomas Turner is a Politics writer for The Mancunion. A second-year Politics and International Relations student from Burnley, he hopes one day to work in either journalism or international relations. He is also a member of the University of Manchester Pool and Snooker Club. You can follow him on Twitter @_ThomasTurner

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