Lisa Hutchinson and Stephanie Gandy are two of a kind ... they’re ultra-talented individuals and more importantly, they’re both winners.
Now the sum of the parts is, and always will be, far greater than any individual for Health365 Hatters but there’s no denying that this particular double act continues to play a huge part in the team’s success story.
Lisa, who has taken over as skipper from mother-to-be Katie Crowley, marked her role by leading the current holders to their first silverware of the domestic season with a 65-56 victory over UWIC Archers in the National Cup Final at Ponds Forge.
Last season it was Lisa who took the Most Valuable Player award, this time it went to Stephanie after her match-winning tally of 27 points and 15 rebounds.
“It was a great team effort,” said Lisa. “More especially, a fantastic defensive performance and this made the difference as both teams struggled to convert offensively.”
“I thought we showed great composure in the last few minutes of the game to deny them any way back.
“Steph really deserved to be named MVP as although it was a team effort she is always consistent and you can trust her to get us those points when we need them,” she added.
Stephanie also pinpointed the Hatters defensive qualities as key to their success: “It was a good win for us, especially against a side who we consider to be our greatest rivals and who were unbeaten so far this season.
“We stepped it up defensively and although we made it difficult for ourselves on a few occasions, we came through in the end.
“It sets us up perfectly for the remainder of the season,” she added.
Hatters came into the game as underdogs, despite home city advantage, with UWIC holding a 100 per cent record in all competitions and with a clear lead in the National League table.
The Welsh side put the first points on the board to take an early 7-2 lead before Hatters posted 11 unanswered points and finally ended the first quarter with an 18-15 advantage.
It was an equally tight second period and the lead exchanged hands six times before Hatters posted a two point lead at half-time (29-27). The gap remained the same going into the final quarter (44-42) and there was still only two points in it with just under three minutes left.
But that was as close as UWIC were to get as Hatters closed out the match with a nine point advantage – the largest of the whole game – to claim the prize.
Leading scorers: Stephanie Gandy 27 points and 15 rebounds, Lauren Thomas-Johnson 13 points and six rebounds.
Squad: Lisa Hutchinson, Stephanie Gandy, Lauren Thomas-Johnson, Sarah Naylor, Helen Naylor, Joanna Clayden, Charmain Purcell, Ashleigh Sumner, Ellis Clayton, Naomi Campbell, Holly Hodson.
The Under-16s had a convincing 74-27 victory over Newcastle Eagles in their National League North clash to set themselves up for this weekend’s trip to top of the table Cheshire Juniors. Team and scorers: Courtney Shaw 13, Sirena Sampson 12, Rhianna Laing 10, Jess Dooley 8, Mairead Faulkner 8, Abbie Simpson 7, Zuiko Kfamba 6, Elaine Anderson 4, Isabel Hannity 4 and Katie Burgoyne 2.