Stacey Francis - Yorkshire Jets: Revival fails to arrive as frustration continues
For the 40 days of Lent prior to Easter I had hoped that all athletes, fans and support staff of Yorkshire Jets fully invested in the fasting, prayer and penance required.
Given that Easter is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead the very least we might have hoped for was a revival on the courts.
However, with an ever-growing fear of sounding repetitive, the Yorkshire Jets faced another challenging day in the Vitality Netball Superleague as we were beaten 56-39 by the reigning champions, Surrey Storm, in Leeds.
Although it was another heavy defeat, there were signs of improvement given the 30 goals we conceded to Team Bath last week.
A welcome return was made with experienced head, Alex Kirk, returning from injury and taking the GS bib for the whole game, paired with Lucy Harris at GA.
Imogen Allison returned to the squad following a promising week at training.
The pairing started well in the first quarter while being challenged by an established Storm defensive partnership.
It was a close opening 15 minutes with the opposition only managing to open up a two-goal advantage.
The second quarter, proved to be where the result was decided.
The opening seven minutes of the quarter was all even at 8-8.
However, Storm stepped things up a gear and our inconsistency and ability to execute under pressure returned.
We lost the remaining seven minutes, not scoring at all and conceding eight goals. As half-time rolled around the score was 29-18.
Changes were made at the break, and intensity increased which resulted in a much more competitive quarter, losing it by four, although with the damage already done it wasn’t enough to stop Storm extending their advantage as they took a 15-goal lead into the final 15 minutes.
When you concede so many goals early on in a game it then becomes about attempting to find a level of consistency and performance that will carry you forward for the remainder of the season.
The final quarter proved much more evenly contested, although we lost the quarter by two goals.
Training this week will follow a similar structure to normal, however, our focus will undoubtedly be on the second half of the second quarter where the damage was really done. Despite some good periods of play last week such a disappointing quarter needs to be focused on.
We are still struggling with pass selection across the whole court, and also having appropriate options at a centre pass that will result in a good second phase.
As a team, we make a phenomenal amount of individual errors and our focus is always about finding ways to reduce this deficit that we put ourselves under pressure without the opposition winning ball for themselves.
Given that I handle the ball a lot, this increases my chances of making errors.
However, my focus in every game is about making sure that my net gain at the end of a match is a positive one.
Put simply, this means that the amount of ball that I win needs to significantly outweigh the amount of errors that I make so that I am contributing to a competitive team performance.
Our final home game is now upon us as the next round sees us play host to Team Northumbria.
I know that I speak on behalf of the whole franchise when I say that we are hoping that we can deliver not only a 60-minute performance, but also a result that the Yorkshire crowd can be proud of as the support that we have received this season – especially when playing at home – has been unwavering.