NETBALL: CHESTER made the trip to Bath University to take on the Toucans with only nine players, and the handicap proved too much as they were beaten 65-31.
Despite scoring first, they trailed at the end of the first quarter and the game continued the way the first quarter ended.
The Toucans' attack seemed to have perfect timing and accurate passing, which made it difficult for the defence to break down their play.
However, both Sam Key and Carla Laurenson did manage to pull off some spectacular interceptions, but the Toucans defence made it difficult for the Chester attack to move the ball down the court to create any scoring opportunities.
During the second quarter, Chester managed to score 10 goals from 15 attempts, while Toucans converted 14 from 18, which meant that the score was 27-19 at the break.
At half-time, Pam Lucas made a couple of changes, but it did not make much difference as the Toucans' teamwork, timing, passing and shooting were outstanding.
Meanwhile, the defence put Chester's attack under pressure and they were unable to create many opportunities to get the ball into the shooting circle.
The Toucans team continued to impress and outscored Chester by 19 goals to four in the third quarter.
With the match now beyond Chester's reach, the Toucans also made numerous changes.
The aim of the final quarter was to ensure Chester remained within half the goals of Toucans to take a well-deserved point out of the game. And with the score at 46-23, this did seem possible.
But in the final quarter, the fitness of the newly-introduced players of Toucans enabled them to continue to dominate Chester throughout the court, and the final score of 65-31 meant Chester would return home pointless.
Despite the crushing defeat, the team spirit displayed by Chester was amazing with players continually encouraging each other.
At intervals throughout the game, Chester played some outstanding net-ball, which indicates that despite this being the seventh game of the season and the seventh different starting lineup, they can take some positive points out of the game, not least the very impressive defensive game played by Sam Key, both at goal defence and goal keeper.
This win took Toucans to the top of the National League Division Four while Chester remain seventh, but with three matches remaining, they still have a lot to play for.