The Royals surged to the summit of the Women’s Super League table after a commanding performance in Round 1 of the WSLL on Sunday (19 May).
Two wins out of two in their 10 a-side fixtures, combined with the four bonus points earned in the 6 a-side matches, has given coach Kate Nelson Lee’s side prime position in qualifying for this weekend’s final.
A slightly adapted format for our 2019 WSLL saw the four squads playing the new 6 a-side discipline being trialled as a possible version to take forward to the Olympics, during the morning session.
With each squad split into two sides by the coaches, the squads had six matches with each win earning a bonus point for their team ahead of the afternoon’s full-size contests.
Winning their first three games, the Royals raced into an early lead and despite losing two of their last three still came out on top with four wins.
The action was high-intensity and high-scoring as players and officials alike got accustomed to the fast-paced and entertaining style of the game.
The fiercely competitive morning session left all the teams in contention heading into the afternoon where the big points were left to be won.
Royals v Jets
The Royals opened up against the Jets with a win for either side propelling them to the top of the table.
Throughout the first-half, things remained tight with the sides trading goals, Sophy Coombes-Roberts and Ros Lloyd-Rout posting hat-tricks for the Royals and Jets respectively as the Royals took a 5-3 lead into the interval.
The Jets registered the first score of the second-half to close the gap to just one; however, that was to be their last goal of the game.
Coombes-Roberts, who would finish the game with seven, tallied four straight goals in Q3 to push the lead out to five and with both teams taking their PowerPlay, a 4-0 final quarter for the Royals cemented a convincing 13-4 victory.
Storm v Mavericks
Game 2 between reigning champions, Storm, and Mavericks saw last year’s winners record a strong win to get their 10 a-side campaign underway.
The initial stages were a fairly tight affair as Storm slowly crept up to lead 4-1 going into half-time.
However, the game was turned on its head with a devastating display in a third quarter PowerPlay for the Storm.
Mavericks did close the score to 4-2 early in Q3 but three PP goals, two from Jenny Simpson and one for Eliza Watson blew the storm 10-2 up and effectively sealed the game.
The Mavericks were then unable to make any ground back during their PP in Q4, often pushing the play too hard and Storm were able to take advantage, forcing turnovers and ending on a shut-out 3-0 quarter for a 13-2 win.
Royals v Storm
With both sides winning their earlier games, this was a battle for top spot and a win would represent a big step towards making the final next week.
And in a match which promised to be a cracker, the teams certainly delivered as the lead moved back and forth in the early stages, Storm taking a 4-2 lead towards the end of a free-scoring first quarter highlighted by two pin-point scores from Jocelyn Robinson.
However, the Royals began to seize control in Q2. Katie Lehovsky and her team dominated the draw controls setting up their dangerous attack with plenty of possession and it paid off as Coombes-Roberts, Claire Faram, Nancy Day and Amy Martin all scored in 4-0 quarter to go 6-4 up.
Coach Nelson-Lee then took the bold decision to look to capitalise on the Royals’ momentum by calling for the PowerPlay in Q3 which paid off to great effect.
Three goals in the eight-minute period pushed the lead to 12-6 and put a tiring Storm team playing back-to-back matches under pressure.
Storm started off the final quarter with a Simpson PowerPlay goal but were unable to hold much possession and goals from Faram and Coombes-Roberts seemed to have Royals coasting to victory.
Two Charlie Bergqvist goals however, in the final 90 seconds, made it a close finish and those two Royals efforts would prove crucial as they ran out 14-12 winners.
Jets v Mavericks
With defeat for the Storm, the Jets and Mavericks were presented with a great chance to put themselves in contention with a win in the day’s final match.
After a fairly sedate opening quarter with Jets going 2-0 up, the second quarter was to prove defining as both teams used their PowerPlay with varying success.
While Claudia Button managed a score for the Mavericks, two efforts from Lloyd-Rout on the crease and a goal from Madison Jones flew the Jets to an 8-2 advantage, backed up by another 3-1 quarter to break the Mavericks and ultimately see the Jets 13-4 victors, Lloyd-Rout again leading the way with six goals.
6 a-side Win/Loss Record
10 a-side Results
Royals 13-4 Jets
Storm 13-2 Mavericks
Royals 14-12 Storm
Jets 13-4 Mavericks
WSLL Standings after Round 1
1. Royals 14
2. Storm 9
3. Jets 8
4. Mavericks 2
WSLL Top Scorers (10 a-side games)
Sophy Coombes-Roberts 12
Ros Lloyd-Rout 9
Jenny Simpson 7
Claire Faram 6
Charlie Bergqvist 5
Upcoming Fixtures - 26 May - Warwick University CV4 7AL
13:00 Royals v Mavericks
13:45 Storm v Jets
14:30 3rd/4th Play-off
15:15 2019 WSLL Final
Watch Footage from Round 1 of the 2019 WSLL