Health 365Hatters are back on familiar territory this weekend ... bidding for more silverware.
The city’s most successful ever sports team head to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre for the National Cup Final showdown against UWIC Archers on Sunday (1.15pm).
This time, however, there’s a slight difference as despite the fact they’re the current holders, they go into the match as underdogs against the Welsh side who currently head the Women’s National League Division One table.
It’s not a tag normally associated with Vanessa Ellis’ side and the head coach is unlikely to agree with it but there’s one thing very much in their favour - there’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded Hatter!
They lost narrowly to Archers in the league and were also edged out by Sevenoaks Suns, although they gained revenge in some style last weekend with a superb 83-53 victory at All Saints to move into second place in the league.
Another sickener for Hatters was the decision by the EBL’s Competition Committee to forfeit their match against Nottingham Wildcats after a licence cards oversight.
The match was played and duly won but it proved to be of no avail.
Archers show a 100 per cent record from 10 matches played so far, six points ahead of Hatters and Sevenoaks although the Sheffield side have three matches in hand, the crucial one being the home clash between the two sides later in the season.
“As you can expect, we’re not happy about the decision,” said Vanessa, “Nobody can really believe it but we have to except it and move on.”
No better way, therefore, than to make it a Super Sunday.
“We played really well against Sevenoaks. Maybe it was to prove a point but we certainly did that,” said Vanessa.
“If we show similar commitment and dicipline against UWIC then I’m sure we’ll be OK.
“They didn’t win the league game against us as it was our fault that we lost it.
“They’re top of the league, undefeated and have a lot of experience in their side with four current GB internationals but we know if we’re at the top of our game we can beat them.
“Discipline on court is key; whoever maintains that will win the day,” she added. Hatters will be without Char Purcell who is to undergo a knee operation and will be out of action for up to six weeks.
Lauren Thomas-Johnson top-scored with 22 points against Sevenoaks and Hatters will again look to her and the scoring exploits of Stephanie Gandy and Helen Naylor, who netted 19 and 17 points respectively, to give them the edge against UWIC.
The second team cruised to an 87-25 victory over Sunderland City Predators in their National Division 2 North clash.
Naomi Campbell led the wauy with 29 points, followed by Mercer with 18 and Gayle, 15.
It will be much tougher on Saturday when they visit leaders Manchester Mystics at the Amaechi Centre
The Under-16s completed a winning double in the National League North with an 87-37 victory over Leeds Carnegie and 69-26 over Hatfield Fliers.
Team and scorers: v Leeds: Courtney Shaw 16, Rhianna Laing 16, Sirena Sampson 12, Isabel Hannity 12, Jess Dooley 9, Abbie Simpson 6, Naomi Jenkinson 6, Mairead Faulkner 5, Elaine Anderson 4, Katie Burgoyne 1 and Zuiko Kfamba; v Hatfield Fliers: Shaw 19 (including 4 three pointers), Jenkinson 14, Dooley 10, Faulkner 8, Laing 6, Sampson 4, Anderson 4, Hannity 2, Simpson 2, Burgoyne and Kfamba.
They host Newcastle on Saturday at All Saints.
The Under-14s slipped to their first defeat of the seson when they went down 65-56 to Manchester Mystics.