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Report: Bristol Jets 2-3 Birmingham Lions

Bristol Jets put on a great show in their home debut despite being edged out 2-3 to the visiting Birmingham Lions.

It was a strong performance from the newly established team, giving a good account of themselves against last years' AJ Bell NBL Champions.

What Happened

In the first match up of the night, Emily Westwood and Mizuki Fujii took on Heather Olver and Jenny Wallwork. Lions started strongly racing into a 5-1 lead early on. Led by some more aggressive plays by Fujii Jets worked their way back into the game, to get within two points, Birmingham held out however to claim the first 6-9.

A stronger start in the second game saw Jets grab a 5-2 lead themselves before a fortunate net cord hit from Lions drew them back into it at 5-4. A cute shot from Westwood put Jets back up by two before the GB International made some incredible shots during an extended rally. Jets winning the second game 9-5.

It was nip and tuck in the third game, Westwood in the thick of the action, misplacing a serve before expertly returning Lions' to get the point back, 5-6 to Lions. A renewed push from the away side saw Lions close out the game 6-9.

It was close again in the fourth before a well-timed power play from Lions put the visitors up by four at 2-6, a lead the midlands side maintained to close out the final game 4-9, winning the first event 1-3.


Flying - London 2012 silver medallist Mizuki Fujii in action for Jets in the women's doubles.

Chris Coles and Richard Eidestedt took to the court next facing Gary Fox and Frederick Colberg in the men's doubles. Coles drew first blood, picking off the shot from Lions well at the net, before the Birmingham side immediately drew level. The pattern of play continued in the first game, until a run of four straight points without reply saw Fox and Colberg claim the game 5-9 for Lions.

It was not so close in the second with Lions forcing the Jets men into several errors to race into a 1-6 lead. The lead proved too much and Lions closed out the second game 3-9 to move within one game of a second event victory.

Jets started the stronger in the third, building up an early lead to move within one point of the game at 8-5, an error from Lions then gave the game to Jets, 9-6.

Coles and Eidestedt were now looking more controlled, there was an air of renewed confidence as the Swedish international allowed a Lions shot to drop just out to put the Bristol men up 3-0. Lions tried their best to force their way back into the game, but some aggressive plays at the net from Coles put an end to it, Jets winning the third 9-3 to tie it up at 2-2.

Jets looked to grab the momentum at the start of the deciding game, winning a power play to increase the noise levels in the WISE Arena. Lions came back again to tie things up but Coles and Eidestedt pushed on and closed out the game for Jets' first home event win, 5-3 in the final game.


First Home Event Win - Chris Coles stretches for the shot as he and Richard Eidestedt claim Jets' first home event win.

Inspired by the win, the SGS WISE Arena eagerly anticipated the men's single event between Alex Lane and Toby Penty. The anticipation was warranted with some great rallying before Penty put together four good plays on the bounce to win the first 5-9.

Penty was rampant in the second game, taking little time to close out the game 3-9. Lane made it more of a contest in the third, keeping the Birmingham man close to him throughout, the game coming down to the final point, Penty dropping his shot short to claim the victory, 8-9, 3-0 overall. 2-1 to Lions after the third event.

The women's single event was next as Nicola Cerfontyne faced Lions' Fontaine Chapman. It was another close first game, but the Jets star edged this one 9-7 to make a real statement.

It was another tight affair in the second game, Chapman winning the deciding point despite some great defensive work from Cerfontyne.

In such an evenly fought contest, success could come down to the finest margins, and Cerfontyne pressed home her advantage when Chapman appeared to be struggling with an injury to take the third 9-7.

Cerfontyne attempted to repeat the trick the men's doubles used by calling a power play at the beginning of the fourth game, Chapman however had other ideas, winning the point to gain an early advantage. 

Chapman shrugged off any injury concerns in the fourth game, winning 4-9 to take it to a deciding game.

The Lions lady got off to the perfect start, calling and winning a power play to go two up before an error from Cerfontyne handed Lions another event, 2-3.

Jets headed into the final event down 3-1 as Emily Westwood and Ben Lane took on Frederick Colberg and Catherine Grant in the mixed doubles.

Lane and Westwood claimed the first game of the final event 9-6, before dominating the second 9-4 as Jets looked to finish the night strong, with Lane in imperious form from back court.

Lions got themselves into a 5-7 lead in the third before Westwood and Lane called for the power play, which they subsequently won to tie it up. Another strong point from Lane took Jets to one point of victory in the final event before Lions shot landed out, Jets winning the final event 3-0.

The night finishing up 2-3 in Lions favour.

Key Moment

Having been down 2-0 after the first two games of their men's doubles event, Chris Coles and Richard Eidestedt won a huge power play at the start of the final game to set them on their way to Jets' first event win of the night.

Player Of The Night: Chris Coles

The Bristolian led by example showing real passion as he scored some vital points at the net to help Jets claim their first event win in front of their home crowd. 

Photo Of The Night


Richard Eidestedt and Chris Coles embrace following their victory in the men's doubles.

All match imagery supplied by JMPUK.

Social Media Post Of The Night

Results

Mizuki Fujii & Emily Westwood 1-3 Heather Olver & Jenny Wallwork
Chris Coles & Richard Eidestedt 3-2 Gary Fox & Frederick Colberg
Alex Lane 0-3 Toby Penty
Nicola Cerfontyne 2-3 Fontaine Chapman
Emily Westwood & Ben Lane 3-0 Frederick Colberg & Catherine Grant