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Gloucester City Queens suffer spirited defeat in new head coach James Bowers’ first game against Women’s Basketball League leaders Sheffield Hatters

Gloucester City Queens extended their winless run in the Women’s British Basketball League to seven games with a 109-56 loss to Sheffield Hatters.

The game was new head coach James Bowers’ first in charge of the Queens as the team transitions from Jay Marriott’s tenure in charge. After the game Bowers admitted that despite the defeat at St Peter’s High School, he saw plenty of positives throughout the game.

“We competed with one of the best teams in the country and it was just great to show that we have that in us, it’s just about consistency.”

Claire Abbott led the way for the Queens’ point scoring with 14, Marlee Ball and Carolina Marques also shared 12 apiece. They couldn’t stop Bowers’ side from remaining in a precarious 11th position in the table, whilst the Hatters moved to the top of the league, albeit having played four matches than second places Sevenoaks Suns.

Despite the damaging scoreline, the final gap doesn’t reflect the full story as the Queens rallied from another poor start where they trailed 27-53 in the first half. The home side roared back in the third quarter, playing with pace and energy, clawing the third 10-minute spell back with a smaller 19-22 deficit.

This proved to be a catalyst for an improved second half that saw the Queens drawback to be within 29 points of their opponents, but fatigue against a strong Hatters side showed as they fell off towards the end of the game as the visitors used their physical strength and close dribbling to build a bigger lead.

Bowers couldn’t fault the effort from his team though, adding: “That’s one of the first times this year when it felt like a home court when we had our crowd behind us.

“We worked on the defensive end of the court all week, we practiced all week with that and those girls that weren’t with us through the week jumped in with energy and effort and that’s the business. You need energy and effort at the defensive end.”

Star of the game, Marlee Ball.

Although Queens have been struggling since the departure of star player Melita Emanuel-Carr in January, their performance was much improved from the showings that resulted in two damaging defeats last weekend.

Bowers’ team now face a crucial battle at the bottom of the league against Oaklands Wolves in two week’s time. Wolves sit a place below the Queens and are level on points as well.

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