Jets clash with Titans

Netball Jets v Titans Lightning Picture: JON GUEGAN. (36758839)

IT was a mixed bag for Team Jets as they hosted home fixtures at Les Ormes for the first time since 2019.

Since the side relinquished their national league status in 2019, mainland clubs no longer had to travel to Jersey for away fixtures, but an agreement was reached allowing Jets to return home for four South West Regional League 1 fixtures season.

The double-header with Titans Lightning was full of excitement as hundreds of fans took in the rare opportunity to support their side live.

But, the Islanders’ winning start to the season was ended yesterday as the Devon-based team avenged the defeat they suffered on the previous night.

Unlike on Saturday night, when Jets were able to open an early cushion on the scoreboard and managed the game superbly to see out what ended up being a comfortable 44-32 win, Jets lacked fluidity at times and were punished.

An incredibly tight game was eventually opened up towards the end of the third quarter as Titans took a four-point advantage heading into the final period.

And despite Jets looking as if they might rally and produce a magnificent late comeback – at one point reducing the deficit to just one – it was Titans who were able to capitalise on some errors from the home side as they looked to force the issue with time running out as the visitors secured a 46-39 win.

Jets head coach Serena Kersten was reflective as she saw her side lose for the first time after three straight wins to start the season.

“If someone had said we would go the whole season unbeaten I would have been very surprised,” she said. “This is a tough league and they [Titans] are a good team.

“We had some really solid performances across the weekend but were perhaps lacking a bit of consistency at times. It is a case of going back to training, looking at what we can do better in terms of our execution and game plan.

‘We knew we were under pressure and we had to take a few risks [in the fourth quarter]. We had to win the ball back, score quickly and be positive but that is always going to be when a couple of mistakes creep in. It was a high-risk situation and it just got away from us.

‘I was really impressed with the girls’ attitude and ability. I don’t think it is necessarily a case of needing to bounce back but more about having some honest conversations as a group – how to improve, anything I can do as a coach to be clearer in the messages, that sort of thing.’

After a stellar performance on Saturday evening, in a game which was didn’t start until 8pm due to travel delays for Titans, hopes were high of another Jets win.

The energy of centre Jacy Brown, who linked up well with goal attack Rosie Tonner, created plenty of opportunities in the early stages for Jets but some sharp shooting at the other end kept the game level as the first quarter drew to a close.

The second period followed a similar pattern with Jets – having taken a two-goal lead – unable to press home their advantage as Titans hit back every time the Islanders had a period of pressure.

But with the two sides locked together in the third period, it was the visitors who suddenly built a lead as Jets wasted a couple of scoring chances, before four unanswered goals moved Titans 34-29 ahead, and although the home side did score once before the whistle, Jets were left needing a big last 15 to save the game.

Tonner moved to goal shooter in place of Leah Griffin and quickly cut the gap to two as the crowd roared the Jets on – sensing a chance of an unlikely comeback.

Titans, who had done so well to disrupt Jets’ play for the first three-quarters, looked rattled and on the ropes.

Another Jets goal. The gap down to one. The noise echoed around Les Ormes.

But any suggestions of Titans wilting under the Jets’ onslaught was quickly dispelled and they regained their composure with two quick scores to make it 36-33 as the game entered the closing minutes.

From there, despite briefly closing the gap to one once more, Jets couldn’t get a firm grip of the ball as long-range passes went astray, allowing their opponents to retain possession and calmly take their chances to win a pulsating game 46-39.

The result may have dampened the mood a little, but the Jets’ return to Les Ormes for the first time in four years provided plenty for those in attendance to smile about.

Kersten added: ‘It has been really good – we must have had 400/500 people across the weekend and that has been amazing. We have had two high-quality games and we are grateful that we have had the opportunity to showcase our sport.’

The Islanders are set to host Mavericks on 25 November and Poole on 7 January 2024.

Team Jets (Saturday): Lauren Devine, Kat Le Riche, Layla Dos Santos, Nicole Goddard, Jacy Brown, Libby Rothwell, Toni Chaytor, Lynsey Pitman, Rosie Tonner, Sophie Sowney, Leah Griffin.

Team Jets (Sunday): Lauren Devine, Kat Le Riche, Georgia Hickey, Jodie Blampied, Tallulah Norman, Jacy Brown, Taylor-Mai Dickson, Maddy Fitzgerald-Wilkins, Leah Griffin, Rosie Tonner, Lynsey Pitman.

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