I have spent a significant proportion of my life on a coach.
This week involved a trip to Manchester and back for a university fixture last Wednesday, a long journey on Saturday down South to Surrey to face Surrey Storm and a jaunt up North to Newcastle to play against Team Northumbria on Monday!
There are many ways in which our team prefer to wile away the hours up and down the motorway. Firstly, there are the girls who are always bored and in constant need of entertainment.
Luckily, Maggie Birkinshaw, our assistant coach, is the queen of quizzes and always manages to produce something suitably challenging to keep us quiet for half an hour or at least until someone Googles all the answers! Athletes are sore losers! Then there are the individuals who are glued to an iPad watching the latest screening of Pitch Perfect, and giggling in synchrony.
Curled up like door mice are the players who are desperate to get in some valuable napping time, clinging on to their precious iPod hoping that its magical music will help them drift off.
Finally, there are those, like me, who spend the journey convincing ourselves that we are being very studious and not in fact staring into space.
Regardless of how you choose to spend the journey, a long trip home after a loss is never fun and unfortunately this was the case on Saturday as we suffered a 74-51 defeat against Surrey in the Superleague.
It was a strong start to the match for Jets as we managed to disrupt Storm’s play and get the ball down to Timmy Cato who shot 94 per cent throughout the whole game.
However, Storm’s attack – which currently consists of three senior England players – got into their flow in the second quarter, punishing any of our mistakes and demonstrating why they only lost by one goal to Manchester Thunder in last year’s final.
Despite the continual pressure from Storm, there were several great passages of play from Jets and definitely things to be worked on for when we play them again in round two.
There were also another couple of highlights on the night. My fellow Leeds university student, Megan Clark, joined me in defence to make her Superleague debut.
Also, my boyfriend, Mike Allen, was given the responsibility of the team’s Twitter account and much to the amusement of several of our followers decided to put his own spin on the match commentary. I don’t think many netballers have been described as jumping as high as a kangaroo on a trampoline or having more magic tricks than David Blaine!
Fortunately, these tricks really came into play on Monday night as we triumphed over Team Northumbria 59-45.
Our first half in particular, was very strong as we took a 13-goal lead and really focussed in on those all-important team principles, producing a significant lead from which Northumbria could never recover.
There was another Superleague debut from Bea Skingsley, which yet again shows how strong our squad is this year. Jessica Shaw was named player of the match in her first full Superleague game back following an operation to repair a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in her knee. ACL injuries are unfortunately all too common in netball.
Luckily there are no coach journeys scheduled this week and instead we get to play our first match of the season at the Leeds Beckett’s Headingley campus against Manchester Thunder in front of another sell out home crowd. Bring on the pink and purple madness!
Match: Yorkshire Jets v Manchester Thunder
Date: Friday, February 13
Venue: Sports Arena, Headingley Campus, Leeds Beckett University