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Late struggles prove costly for Essex Open in narrow defeat to leaders Hucclecote

PUBLISHED: 14:00 04 December 2018

Action from Essex Open's Premier League Two match against Hucclecote (pic: Steve Wilks)

Action from Essex Open's Premier League Two match against Hucclecote (pic: Steve Wilks)

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Premier League Two: Essex Open 39 Hucclecote 42

Essex Open under-16s face the camera (pic: Steve Wilks)Essex Open under-16s face the camera (pic: Steve Wilks)

Essex Open suffered a narrow 42-39 defeat at home to leaders Hucclecote in their latest Premier League Two outing.

Open started without star shooter Olivia Tchine, who was delayed due to transport problems.

In spite of that setback, Essex began brightly with Rose Morgan-Smith, Sam Lawrence and Chioma Matthews taking firm control over the centre court.

That provided Florence Edwards with some good opportunities to give Open an early lead as the hosts found themselves 6-2 up.

This was a game, though, that saw both sides competing strongly and it was no surprise when Huccelcote drew level, before Essex moved back in front to lead 9-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Hucclecote fought back at the start of the second quarter to take the lead, but five answered points from Open saw them move 15-12 in front.

The visitors, however, again showed good resolve to battle back to tie the game at 18-18 at half-time.

Essex introduced Tchine for the start of the second half and the sides matched each other blow-for-blow in the early part of the third period.

A strong finish to the quarter from Hucclecote, however, saw them hold a three-goal advantage, despite strong defence from Honor de Winton and Jasmine Odeogberin.

After five minutes of the last quarter, Open had inched 35-34 in front to seemingly put the hosts in control.

Essex, though, soon lost their way as silly mistakes began to cost them dear, with Hucclecote taking full advantage.

Open could not regain their lead before time ran out as they slipped to a first defeat in three league matches.

Essex will hope for better this Sunday when they play host to Clan in their next league fixture.

Essex: De Winton, Odeogberin, Humphrey, R Morgan-Smith, Lawrence, Matthews, Edwards, Tchine, Sefton, Alves.

*Essex Open’s under-16s collected a fine 33-22 success over The Downs, despite the game being played in dreadful conditions.

On a busy Sunday, the youngsters were also in winning form against Grasshoppers as they triumphed 25-17.

Both results are sure to have added to the confidence of the young side in the run-up to Christmas.

Essex: Peters, Citreon, Mbanu, Gibbons, Hammond, Acons, May, Alves, Biss, Swali.

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