At 12:30 on Friday the 27th of April a team from Warwick Rowing, containing members of the novice men and senior men's squad, took to the netball court in the main hall in the Warwick Sports Centre. By 13:00 these players would have recorded a dramatic 12 - 8 victory over the University of Warwick Women's Netball Club marking the single biggest success for the men's rowing squad this season.
The first quarter was a tense and tight affair. During this first quarter the rowing team played a possession dominated game as they struggled to come to terms with the rules of the game. After a comfortable start it was the rowing team who struck first with a long ball played into the opponents 'D' towards centre forward (the technical term appears to have been 'Goal Shooter') Thomas 'The Unit' Lister, earning his first cap for the Rowing Netball team, who scored his goal (basket) with a style and confidence that was to be the trademark of a determined Warwick attack. After this initial breakthrough the rowing team spent the remainder of the first quarter on the back foot, but with an energetic display from 'centre' Chris 'deltoids' Primett and a solid defensive partnership of Chris 'the enforcer' Drake and Joey' Big Friendly Giant' Pickering limited the fearsome netball attack to only four baskets, whilst quick play across the court with the nifty hands of Chris 'Rachel' Young at Wing Defence and Will 'the Bush' Bushby' at Wing Attack meant that on the counter the Warwick team where able to score a further two baskets, with inspirational attacking play from Alex 'the fashion' Kullmann who led the line well from his position as Goal attack. The score going in at the end of the first quarter was 4 - 3 to women's netball. The team had everything to do going into the second quarter.
Substitutions were made at the end of a tiring first quarter. Jack 'I play Polo' Fairweather at Wing Defence replaced young and Edward '3 feet' Woodford replaced the BFG. The Bush was replaced by Matt 'Footwork' Dabell and Primett gave up his position in the centre of the court to Oliver 'Mr Netball' James. The attacking partnership remained unchanged. This gruelling second quarter was to be defined by a change in the defensive attitude of the team. With Drake remaining strong as Goal Keeper the new defensive pairing of Fairweather and Woodford put up a strong show of breaking down the rhythm of the netball team. Demonstrating a strong knowledge of the rules these two set about their business of disrupting the netball team committing subtle fouls in areas of the pitch when the netball team looked like getting through clear on goal allowing giving James the opportunity to reorganize the defensive line. Meanwhile at the other end of the pitch The Fashion and The Unit had mixed fortune in front of the basket. The stylish USA style leggings that Alex was wearing caused havoc among the defence causing much distraction allowing Dabell to continually thread sublime balls into the area creating numerous opportunities on goal. However, a poor accuracy stat of somewhere around 30% meant that they were only able to covert two of their chances Nevertheless, the improved defensive performance meant that the teams left the field at the end of the second quarter with the scores tied at 5 - 5. It was still all to play for.
Rowing teed off the third quarter with a new found sense of belief. For the first time ever they looked like being in a position where they could win this annual clash. The changes were made to the team. Deltoids came on to replace Woodford in Goal Defence. The Chris 'Rachel' Young came back into the fray replacing Fairweather to play at Wing Defence and the Bush came back on in place of The Fashion, hoping for more luck in front of the basket. Drake gave way to the other giant of the team as the BFG came back in at Goal Keeper. This quarter was to be the most energetic of the game, with the rowing team spreading themselves around the pitch with the commitment and desire they are accustomed to showing when they enter the final few hundred meters of a close race. Such an attitude was to serve them well as they matched the more experienced netball team in all positions across the court, limiting them in both chances and possession. This was to be a closely fought quarter but it was the rowing team who created the most chances. Balls were thrown into the D from all attacking positions of the pitch as the attacking trio of James, Bushby and Dabell allowed The Unit to abuse his height and generate shooting opportunities. Alas, his poor shooting form from the previous quarter was to continue and he let the side down converting only two of his many many chances. At the other end of the pitch the netball team enjoyed a couple more chances at goal than in the previous game, also converting two of their chances in the face of a determined defensive effort on the behalf of the keeper. The scores were still tied at the end of this quarter at 7 - 7.
This was a truly tight event. With the scores tied and one quarter left to play the team needed to dig deep and find the extra gear that would enable them to secure victory. During the brief interval the team dwelt on the words of Team overseer Alex 'Hampton' Owen who had stirred them team beforehand by offering up motivational YouTube videos via the teams 'Facebook' page. With these motivational words ringing in their ears the team went through the changes for the final quarter, recognizing the fact that it was time for a hero to step up. The team lined up for the final quarter in the following lay out. Goal Keeper: The Enforcer, Goal Defence: 3 feet Woodford, Wing Defence: I play Polo, Centre: Mr Netball, Wing Attack: the Bush, Goal Attack: The BFG, Goal Shooter: The Fashion. This team took to the pitch for the final quarter, a renewed fire in their hearts, all ready to become the hero that the team so desperately needed. It was to be the inspiration that the team needed, they truly dominated the second half. As Centre James played an end to end game, reaching far into his own D on a number of occasions to take the ball out of the clutches of the attacking team, whilst in attack Pickering and Bushby proved to be the excellent link up partnership passing around between themselves for fun as they made a mockery of netballs attempts to regain possession. The real hero of the hour was to be Alex Kullmann. The Fashion created chance after chance in the opponents D, working the ball well with fellow attacker Pickering. In total the rowing team were able to put away five baskets in this quarter as they found the accuracy that Lister had been unable to deliver, and for which he had been sent by the team for an early shower. In total the rowing team were to put away 5 baskets in the final quarter, taking their final total up to 12. In contrast the increasingly agitated netball team could only get one basket past the giant frame that was the Enforcer in the rowing defence. This was to give the rowing team a 12 - 8 win, sending the team into a delirious state of celebration.
The superiority of rowing established the team relaxed to contemplate their victory. Club President reflected that "Rowers often get mistaken for lacking hand-eye coordination. Today's performance really puts that stereotype to rest and that no matter what a rower attempts, they will succeed." This victory could not have come at a better time for the members of the rowing squad as they look to take this winning momentum that has been established on the netball court with them onto the rowing lake as they take to the water for the BUCS competition next weekend in Nottingham.
Chris 'Rachel' Young
Will 'the Bush' Bushby
Chris 'Deltoids' Primett
Oliver 'Mr Netball' James
Chris 'The Enforcer' Drake
Joey 'BFG' Pickering
Thomas 'The Unit' Lister
Matt 'Footwork' Dabell
Jack 'I play Polo' Fairweather
Edward '3 Feet' Woodford
Alex 'The Fashion' Kullman