Netball: Essex Open avoid sting at Hertford Hornets to secure Mizuno Premier Division Three title
PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 April 2018
Mizuno Premier Division Three: Hertford Hornets 34 Essex Open 57
Essex Open clinched the Mizuno Premier Division Three title with a game to spare as they enjoyed a comfortable victory 57-34 at Hertford Hornets.
With a strong side available, Open were confident of securing the championship having beaten Hornets earlier in the term, but things did not go to plan early on.
Open started well and with less than five minutes on the clock held a 6-3 lead, but it was not a typical display from the visitors they struggled to retain possession.
Too often having fought hard to regain the initiative, Essex gave the ball away easily. Three quick goal from Hornets saw the deficit cut to a solitary goal and for the rest of the quarter, the hosts dominated to lead 11-9 at the first interval.
Open made some changes both at the interval and during the second quarter and took control of the game.
Rose Morgan-Smith returned from injury and though Essex were not at their best, they did enough to dominate.
After five minutes or so of the quarter the scores were level at 16-16, but Open then exerted pressure on Hornets and led 27-20 by half-time.
With Michelle Stewart and Jasmin Odeogberin dominant at the back, Essex were allowed full control of the centre court in the third period.
Zoie Humphrey, Rose Morgan-Smith and Isabella Morgan-Smith enjoyed lots of possession, while Maddie Oshodi was in excellent scoring form and well supported by Leah Humphries.
In a brilliant run, Open scored a staggering 12 goals with Hornets only able to muster one in reply, effectively killing the game off as the visitors led 42-27 by the end of the third.
In the final period, Essex made further changes, but by then the hard work had been done.
The quarter was evenly contested until the last five minutes when Open pulled away, finishing the game with eight goals against only a single reply from Hornets.
The victory Essex the title in their first season back in the Premier League, while Michelle Stewart was named player of the match.
Open face Kent County in their final game next week as they attempt to finish their campaign unbeaten.
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