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Saturday, 30 May 2015

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Barrow Thorns take flight against Stockport

TOP-OF-THE-TABLE Barrow Thorns showed all their skills to topple second-placed Stockport Lapwings in a tough battle at Hoops.

The North League leaders were pushed all the way by their Cheshire visitors in a match which could go a long way to deciding the final placings in the standings.

After five minutes, neither team had managed to make an impression on the game, with the score at 3-2 to the hosts.

Thankfully for Thorns, Ruth McEwan and Emily Cox found their form as Barrow took a comfortable 19-8 lead after the first quarter.

The start of the second quarter saw Barrow put under pressure by Stockport, with their captain E Mitchell scoring from home mistakes to reduce the lead to 23-18.

Thorns rallied, showing control and opening North West star Milly Knowles up for many easy baskets as they extended their lead again to 33-18.

But nearing the end of the first quarter, many of the Barrow players picked up silly fouls, allowing Stockport to eat away at the lead yet again, with the half finishing 39-32 in Barrow’s favour, but with many of their key players in foul trouble.

The second half saw Stockport start brightly, pressing Barrow as they turned over the ball and gifted the Lapwings a 40-39 lead.

With Knowles picking up her fourth foul, things were not looking good for the home side, but a timeout and a change in tactics allowed Georgia Cooper to show excellent defensive work as she shut out the Stockport captain. McEwan recovered from last week’s ankle injury to take control of the ball and, with the help of Cox, took Barrow back into the lead, finishing the quarter 55-46 up.

The final period saw both teams tire.

Stockport showed no signs of quitting, as yet again they ate at the Thorns lead, with the score at 58-52 with seven minutes left.

The Lapwings were looking strong as McEwan pick up her final foul, but Barrow reintroduced Knowles and a rested Cooper to the game. Stockport continued to press and found themselves two points behind at 64-62, but Thorns were not beaten as Knowles and Cooper showed excellent defensive strength and determination, adding the final points to secure the win.

Points: E Cox 28, M Knowles 18, R McEwan 11, E Duerden 7, G Cooper 6, K Gower 2.

Player-of-the-Match: Ruth McEwan.

Special Mentions: Georgia Cooper and Milly Knowles.

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