Superior fitness tells for Hatters

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Defence ruled the day for Health 365 Hatters in their first home game of the season against Barking Abbey.

Without the injured Jo Clayden and Char Purcell, their other new signing, Lauren Thomas-Johnson netted early threes that saw Hatters edge the first quarter 21-17.

They managed to extend this to nine points at the interval but the level of defence was so high in the second half that both teams struggled to score.

Sarah Naylor eased the pressure with back-to-back three pointers and then her team’s superior fitness finally told in the final session as they out-scored the visitors by 13 points to clinch a 79-54 victory.

Top scorers: Stepahnie Gandy 19, Sarah Naylor 18, Lauren Tomas-Johnson 17.

Hatters face a tough trip to National League Division One rivals Nottingham on Saturday.

The second team suffered an 84-45 defeat by early season National Division Two North pacesetters Manchester Mystics at All Saints. Hatters trailed by seven at the break (26-19) but the visitors controlled the second half, particularly the final quarter when they scored 23 and restricted the home side to just seven.

Leading scorers: Ellis Clayton 17, Hodson 7, Georgia Gayle 6.

Jess Dooley again headed the scoring charts for the Under-16s in their 88-70 victory at Stockport Lapwings.

Hatters dominated the second and third quarters to take a 65-44 lead and then closed out their National North game against one of their main rivals for honours.

Team and scorers: Jess Dooley 19, Mairead Faulkner 14, Isabel Hannity 14, Naomi Jenkinson 14, Eleanor Goodwin 11, Courtney Shaw 9, Sirena Simpson 3, Elaine Anderson 2 and Zuiko Kfamba 2.

The Under-14s ran out comfortable 95-32 winners over Barrow Thorns.