Team Jets go top with big win over fellow title challengers

Team Jets go top with big win over fellow title challengers
Team Jets have won six of their nine league games so far this season - photo credit Steve Lund

Jersey's Team Jets climbed to the top of the league and boosted their hopes of reaching the national playoffs again thanks to a 53-36 victory over title rivals Poole.

Cheered on by a bumper crowd at Les Ormes, the Jets led from the early moments and were a stunning 19 goals in front heading towards half time in a dominant second quarter. A resilient response from the visitors narrowed the gap to 39-30, with home goal shooter Leah Griffin forced off with an ankle injury.

The Jets rediscovered their mojo in the last 15 minutes though, restricting Poole to just six goals to complete a comprehensive win and jump into top spot at the midway point in their South West Regional One campaign.

"Our third quarter always seems to be our worst one," Team Jets co-captain Jacy Brown told "It was unfortunate with Leah going down and that rocked the boat a little bit, however I think we adapted quite well when we needed to.

"We managed to pull together as a team, and actually put out a really decent fourth quarter. That's all I can ask of the girls and we got a solid win in the end."

The Jets, coached by former England captain Serena Kersten, had gone into the match in second spot in South West Regional One, with their opposition just one point behind in third.

Jacy Brown in action for Team Jets
Team Jets were never behind against third-placed Poole - photo credit Steve Lund

Poole were unable to convert from the first possession of the contest, allowing the hosts an early 2-0 advantage. With their noses ahead, the home side never looked likely to relinquish their lead. By the end of the first quarter, the 15-9 scoreline already looked somewhat ominous for the visitors.

In a quite brilliant second quarter the Jets blew their opposition away. In the blink of an eye, the margin had been opened to 12, thanks in no small part to some superb defensive work. The Jets were starting to show their dominance, and at 32-13 edging towards half time there looked to be no way back for Poole.

The visitors weren't going anywhere though, and showed real battling spirit to score four in a row at the end of the first half and then added the first three of the second half as the momentum started to shift.

Quarter-by-quarter scores - Q1: 15-9, Q2: 32-17, Q3: 39-30, Q4: 53-36

As the Poole comeback continued, Kersten's side lost Griffin to a twisted ankle and had to reshuffle, with Lynsey Pitman and co-captain Rosie Tonner moved forward to goal attack and goal shooter, respectively. Poole took that third quarter 13-7.

The 19-goal advantage was down to just nine and it could have been a nervy last 15 minutes. Perhaps some words of reassurance from Kersten in the huddle did the trick, or maybe it was the vocal support from another excellent home crowd, but the Jets found their rhythm again to quickly bat away any thoughts of a collapse.

Great link-up play between Pitman and Tonner saw their side reach a half century of points and with the minimum of fuss they saw out the win. The victory sees the Jets climb above previous leaders Hucclecote Comets at the midway point in the season, but just eight points separate first place from seventh in the table.

"It happens in a game - there's always momentum shifts and hopefully that third quarter we'll start powering through and not let teams catch up like that and put ourselves under unnecessary pressure," added Brown. "We worked it out in the fourth quarter and managed to pull away again, so for that I'm pretty proud of the girls."

Regional League One is made up of ten teams from across the South West, competing for the title of Regional Champions and the chance to compete in the National play-offs for promotion to England Netball National Premier League Division Three.

Team Jets lost to Blackpool in the play-off final last season, but if they can consistently produce the form of these second and fourth quarters, they'll be confident of going one better in 2024.

Team Jets: Lauren Devine, Becca Forrest, Kat Le Riche, Layla Dos Santos, Taylor-Mai Dickson, Nicole Goddard, Jacy Brown, Antonia Chaytor, Lynsey Pitman, Rosie Tonner, Leah Griffin.