Claws can't cling on against Lynx
THE 2011 journey is over for the Capricorn Claws as the team suffered a heart-wrenching one goal loss against Suncoast Lynx at Brisbane on Saturday night.
“We played extremely well,” proud Claws coach Barbara Ahmat said.
Reaching the finals was an achievement for a Claws team in this year’s revamped State competition and Ahmat said the group will take a lot of positives from their experience to ensure the team is competitive again next year.
Claws finished the round-robin competition in sixth place giving the side a quarter final game against the third placed Lynx.
“We are up there with the top two or three in the competition,” Ahmat said.
Each time the Claws and Lynx play there is just a goal or two separating the teams at the end of the match.
Saturday was no different with Lynx holding on for the 45-44 victory.
“There is always a bit of rivalry on court when we play Lynx,” she said.
“We were within two goals in the last minute and Liz Egerton (WA) sent a bullet pass to Jacinta James (GA).”
James showed her class by collecting the pass and then shooting from distance to ensure the final seconds would keep the fans on edge.
Unfortunately Lynx had the ball from the re-start and showed their experience by passing it around so the Claws could not their hands on it and the opportunity to have a shot for drawing level.
“It was heart stopping stuff but that is how a final should be,” she said.
Ahmat admitted she was not too sure if her nerves could have stood up to an extra period of play.
No Rockhampton Leagues Club player of the day is announced for games in the finals but afterwards the players agreed that had there been, it would have gone to Poppy Larson.
“Poppy was outstanding but apart from that it was a team effort,” Ahmat said.
Larson played goal attack and was teamed up with Lira-lee Leo before taking over at shooter as James got court time.
Such is the depth of the Claws squad a hand injury to goal keeper, and team vice-captain, Danielle Wingard did not disrupt the game plan with Keanna Hopkins taking over her position.
At three-quarter time the teams were level and Ahmat said throughout the match there was never more than four goals between them.
With the chance of any more games for the Claws ended Ahmat is already focused on next year.
“We will probably look at a bit more pre-season aerobic work and more trial games,” she said.
“The gap (with Brisbane) is narrowing,” she said.
The Claws coach expects the 2012 State League pre-season, for her team, to begin by the end of October with trials held in February.