A fantastic show of strength from the Meekats saw them overcome Blues 23-17. It was expected to be the toughest assignment thus far for Dumfries Blues and so it proved as the team from Carlisle showed their class in the end. An early miss from the Blues attack gave Meekats the chance to take an early advantage and they converted the turnover on the way to racing into the lead.
The defensive work from the Meerkats was incredibly effective in neutralising the threat of the Blues attack, as both defenders had a significant height advantage. Blues were able to find space in the opposition circle, but attackers were finding it difficult to retain rebounds against the Meerkats defence. It was an excellent display by Meerkatsa and by the end of the opening quarter they had a 7 v 5 advantage.
Early goals from their opponents left Blues reeling but they refused to lie down. Bethany Hutton (GA) responded with a well worked score and, following a clever intercept from Alison Groat (WD). Finally, momentum was with the team and they started to play with more composure.
The Meerkats were pre-league favourites but the Blues had fought their way back into the match with Karen Reed (GS) also registering on the scoresheet. Blues ended the half strong, dominating possession to level the score at 9-9.
After a much improved second quarter, there were no changes, just words of encouragement during the refreshment break. The 3rd quarter was another tight affair between two sides closely matched on ability, Nicola Parkinson (GK) and Emma Pool (GD) holding back the pressure of Meerkats attack.
Once more the spirited Blues side refused to be overpowered and worked tirelessly to respond. Paula Craven (C) found her space and worked well with Finn Scullion enabling intricate feeds into the circle for the attacking pair.
The attacking trio were starting to find their groove and there was appreciation from the bench as Craven superbly found Reed in close to notch another goal for Blues. Blues were down at the end of the 3rd Quarter 14-13 but were not out.
A problem throughout had been the amount of conceded possession against the tall defenders and this unfortunate trend continued in the final quarter. Each time Blues were unable to find a score, Meerkats would turnover and by now their shooters had found their radar and were scoring some long shots leaving Blues defenders powerless to stop them. The final whistle brought to an end an extremely tight game with Blues losing out in the final quarter with the final score 17-23.
Speaking after the game, Coach Andrew Reed said "it wasn't the score line we were hoping to get but credit to the girls, I thought they came out strong and for three quarters of the game we were with them, it was a really good but we go back to the drawing board and prepare for the next game."
Karen Reed (GA) was named player of the match for the Dumfries Blues, sponsored by Armstrong Watson Accountancy and Financial Advisors. Blues are next in action on the 18 February when they take on Brampton.