Health365 Hatters face a massive challenge if they’re to hold on to their National Division One title.
Their agonising one point defeat at top-of-the-table UWIC Archers saw them drop to third in the league behind the unbeaten Welsh side and the other team they have been beaten by, Sevenoaks Suns.
The only consolation to Hatters is that they’ve still got to face their two main rivals on their home court in the new year, games which have ‘must win’ written all over them.
Hatters edged the first quarter 25-24 and extended it to four at the break (41-37). They increased their advantage in a strong third quarter and at one stage held a double-figure lead for the first time in the game but finally settled for a nine point cushion going into the final quarter.
Archers cut the gap to three points with six minutes remaining and then to one point in the closing 20 seconds. A controversial out of bounds call gave the home side the final play and they closed out to take the session by 10 points and the match, 81-80.
Hatters top scorers: Stephanie Gandy 29, Helen Naylor 13, Lauren Thomas-Johnson 10
Vanessa Ellis’s side now face a double-header weekend starting with tomorrow’ (Saturday’s) home clash against Leeds Carnegie and Sunday’s vital National Cup semi-final at Nottingham Wildcats.
The second team return to action at All Saints on Saturday in a Division Two North clash against Sefton Starlights.
Hatters Under-16s secured a comfortable 76-31 victory at Barrow Thorns after a very impressive third quarter ‘charge’ which brought them 30 points.
Team and scorers: Courtney Shaw 16, Serena Sampson 16, Jess Dooley 10, Elaine Anderson 9, Mairiad Faulkner 7, Rianna Laing 6, Jo Lowry 4, Abbie Simpson 4 Zuiko Kfamba 4.
The Under-14s maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a comprehensive 85-41 win at Newcastle Eagles.
They travel to Cheshire Juniors on Sunday.