Comeback sees Ribble win third in a row!
Ribble came into the game with good confidence after winning their last two games against Capricorn and Deeside respectively.
Coach Kahlia Rocco switched things up slightly with the starting 7, swapping Kate Asbridge and Freya-McDermott Dean round with the former going in at GS and the latter at GK, although neither are strangers to those positions.
Ribble welcomed McDermott-Dean and Anja Haworth back into their squad from Rhinos and Thunder duties last week when they opposed each other in a pre season warm up fixture.
The game started off at a frantic pace but both sides benefited from their own centres, hardly ever giving the ball away and the game didn’t see a turnover until a fair chunk into the quarter when Ribble began to just slightly take their foot off the pedal, allowing Elysium to creep into a three goal lead at 8-5.
Ribble put that blip behind them and refocussed, a controlled fifteen minutes from Jade Myers at centre and safe shooting from Asbridge and Hannah Fletcher helping them stick to the tails of Elysium. The home side shooters were in excellent form too though, rarely missing the mark, and they took a slender lead of 14-11 at the end of the first.
The second quarter provided a very similar quarter, as neither side was able to assert dominance of the game but Elysium just shading the scoring.
Ribble introduced Haworth at centre and she combined with Sophie Layfield to provide drive for the East Lancashire side. Layfield showed excellent work around the circle edge on a number of occasions and Ribble were back within two.
As the quarter was coming to an end though, the tide turned again as Elysium fired in three quick goals and the score at the halfway point stood at 27-22 Elysium.
Regrouping at half time Rocco made changes. McDermott-Dean swapped back to GS and Asbridge went into GD with Eleanor Jorgenson moving back to GK and the new combinations seemed to galvanise the East Lancashire side at both ends of the court.
There was more intensity and drive from them, the defence were first to every rebound and slick movement and interchanges allowed Ribble to take the lead for the first time midway through the third.
Much credit must go to the Ribble players who’s heads could quite easily have dropped but their courage and passion shone through and they reaped their reward.
In centre court Ribble continually rotated Haworth, skipper Layfield and Leeds Rhinos Myers, with all having excellent games. As Ribble edged in ahead in Q3 Haworth's defensive pressure from centre created a turn over to the loud appreciation of her bench and it felt like the East Lancs girls would press home their advantage.
However Ribble have shown that they specialise in nail biters and in a quarter than ebbed and flowed the final minutes saw another Elysium fight back and going into the final quarter, they had re-established a 37-35 lead.
All season Ribble have allowed nerves to affect their final quarters. Even in the preceding two wins they have put their supporters and coaches through the mill but this week was different. With a vital 5 points against fellow strugglers on offer they found arguably their best quarter of the season.
Myers returned to centre and Emma Dobson came on for fresh legs at WD. McDermott-Dean had found her shooting range straight away and Fletcher, as she has all season, showed her prowess from mid range to ensure Ribble converted when they took the ball to post. At the other end intense defending made sure it was the home team who wobbled under the pressure.
Elysium made an injury change and Rocco met those changes with some swaps of her own. Haworth was reintroduced at centre with Myers moving forward to WA and Priestley was summoned back from the bench to see the game out.
It proved excellent game management and although it was only the final couple of minutes when Ribble finally put some scoreboard daylight between the teams, it felt like they had the game under control. At the final whistle a jubilant Rocco leapt to her feet in joy as the girls in blue and green won 47-43.
One person that must be mentioned is captain Sophie Layfield. With Myers and Haworth finishing the last quarter Layfield took her seat on the bench but her encouragement and passion were clear for everybody to see, it was as though the team were playing with eight and not seven!
The win takes Ribble up to 7th in the twelve team division and they host Trafford this coming weekend, hoping to make it four wins on the bounce in the last match before Christmas.