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Netball: UEL let slip in slender loss

PUBLISHED: 17:31 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 26 January 2018

Action from UEL's clash with St George's

Action from UEL's clash with St George's

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The University of East London’s netball first team are still searching for their first BUCS South Eastern 6B victory of the season after surrendering a seven-goal lead to lose 32-31 against St George’s University of London at SportsDock.

Action from UEL's clash with St George'sAction from UEL's clash with St George's

UEL came into the game at the bottom of the table without a point and on the back of five consecutive defeats, which began in the reverse fixture.

But despite leading for the majority of the contest, the hosts made several errors and the visitors capitalised, to edge the Blues late on.

Coach Sophia Sefton was distraught after the result and compared the defeat to the reverse fixture, which UEL lost in similar fashion.

“Honestly I am devastated. The first game of the season when we played them, it was the same thing. We had the lead, we dropped it and we just let it go and we lost by three,” she said.

“This one we lost by one, we had the lead again. It is hard because there were so many errors that we have to work on.”

UEL were in command of the first three quarters thanks to fine finishing from duo Nadine Sefton, sister of the coach, and Natalie Jones, and at one stage led 21-14 in the third quarter.

However, with fatigue taking its toll, the unforced errors mounted and the hosts surrendered their lead as both sides were tied on 25-25 going into the final quarter.

UEL initially started the final quarter in the ascendancy, but after St. George’s levelled the scores at 28-28, the momentum was with the visitors, who led by three goals with just a few minutes left.

A turn-over forced by substitute wing defence Celine Gunaratnam briefly inspired the hosts, who then scored three consecutive goals, courtesy of Sefton and Jones, to tie the scores.

The match looked to be heading towards a stalemate, but after the hosts spurned another great chance from close range, the away side made them pay, scoring in clinical nature after a swift counter-attack, to triumph.

Despite the manner in which they lost, Jones was pleased with the side’s performance, suggesting that it was a close encounter and hinted that they need to improve their fitness.

“I think we did well as a team,” she said. “Obviously the one-goal difference does show that we were not walked all over out there. It was an even game, it was tough and they definitely worked us really hard.

“Fitness is definitely something we need to work on. We have got a few injuries in the team as well, which can always knock our confidence as such. It was disappointing but I think we did well as a team anyway.”

The Blues travel to third-placed University College London next Wednesday to face their fifth team and when asked how the side will be able to recover from the defeat, coach Sefton added: “The only thing I am doing next week is ball skills, ball skills and ball skills. That is it. I do not really care because the errors that came from there today, I do not want to see again.”

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