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Jets consigned to relegation play-off place

Sport | Published:

Islanders to enter end-of-season battle against return to regional leagues

Jacy Brown picked up Team Jets’ playing award for the second week running

Cumberland 44

Team Jets 41

Q1: 14-12. Q2: 24-23. Q3: 36-32.

KENT COUNTY, Norfolk United and Cumberland combined to condemn Team Jets to a relegation play-off weekend yesterday, with two losing bonus points proving insufficient in the Islanders’ fight against demotion from Premier League 3.

In the space of two hours yesterday afternoon Team Jets went from reserved elation to deflation, as a frustrating but promising 44-41 loss at Cumberland was then overshadowed by Kent’s crucial 60-56 victory at fellow strugglers Norfolk.

If Norfolk had claimed a home win (or failed to pick up two losing bonus points of their own) the fight for survival would have entered the final day of the 2017/2018 season. However, both of Jets’ nearest rivals are now out of reach.

Linda Andrews’ side – assured of eighth in the nine-team league – have travelled to Loughborough twice in the last four years for play-off clashes, but never in a bid to avoid the drop. Those trips ended with promotion in 2014 and 2015, and while success this season will merely maintain the status-quo there is arguably more at stake.

‘We’re going to fight to stay in this league, because this is the standard we need to be playing at,’ said head coach Andrews.

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‘We’ve thrown the girls in at this level but they’ve grown over the season. And if we’re not playing at this standard they’re not going to know what they need to do to improve and be able to compete at this level.’

Jets came from behind to level the scores at 29-29 in London, but a pair of three-goal runs for promotion hopefuls Cumberland turned out to be decisive. The hosts missed just five attempts throughout, compared to the 15 sent off target by Jets’ shooters.

‘It was so close, we were playing out of our skin and Cumberland said to us afterwards that they cannot believe where we’re sitting in the table,’ Andrews added.

‘It was an excellent game and we pushed them all the way. We just kept going on and on … when we believe in ourselves we can do it against all the top teams.

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‘OK we have lost, but everybody in the camp is really proud of what they put out there today. We’ve always said when we’re playing to our ability we can put out a performance.’

Jacy Brown was named Jets’ player of the match for the second weekend in a row.

Team Jets: Emily Green, Tallula Norman, Rosie Tonner, Jacy Brown, Lisa Luce, Lauren Devine, Josie Le Masurier; Nicole Goddard, Leah Griffin.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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