Defiant Deirde Hayes is determined a final-quarter collapse at the hands of a star-studded UWIC Archers won’t prove detrimental to Team Northumbria’s top flight campaign.
The Sport Central club delivered one of their finest displays in years for two quarters of an enthralling clash on Tyneside.
But there is a danger TN will still be dwelling on a fourth quarter blowout by the time they tackle Leeds on Saturday.
UWIC took the final period 22-10 with a frantic five-minute burst down the stretch but Hayes said: “We were excellent in the first phase of the match.
“We were sharp and looking to get a real grip of the match. That’s what we have to focus on moving forward.”
TN stormed out of the blocks to lead by as many as eight in the early stages of the first quarter.
But the Archers – boasting five Team GB stars and always likely to hit back – responded in typical style to take a 25-18 lead into the second period.
Extending their advantage to 44-28 at the half it looked like game over for the hosts.
But gutsy TN battled back to take the third period by nine points and set up a grandstand finish in front of Newcastle Eagles coach Fabulous Flournoy and a slew of his first team stars.
And it was only when fatigue set in and the visitors ran yet another new rotation that Hayes’ side finally buckled under pressure.
“We just collapsed for a few minutes in the second quarter,” added the TN playcaller.
“That led to poor decision making and forced us to constantly chase the game for the rest of the match.
“We were superb for a spell after half-time and showed signs of where we could be right now.
“We are just lacking that consistency which is vital at the moment.
“We keep getting into good positions and whether it’s just injuries to key players or poor decisions we just can’t get over the line.”
Injuries to key players including Laura Calder meant that TN always lacked energy coming off the bench.
And with UWIC able to dip into one of the deepest benches in the league the Welsh team’s energy levels rarely dropped.
That, coupled with an rare off day for TN points machine Ta’Yani Clark, meant a second heavy reverse of the season.
And Hayes added: “T is a big player for us and she didn’t get her usual tally.
“UWIC’s five GB players meant they always had the class to finish most of their chances.
“But if we can take our third quarter performance into the Leeds game it’s a match we must be looking to win.”