This week, a squad of 11 girls went to Cheltenham Ladies’ College to play in the county round of the National Schools Netball Tournament. The squad emulated the success of the U16 squad to earn a place at regionals in January, and also came out county champions.
They went into the group stages slightly nervous and this showed in their play during their first match against Pitville School. The courts were slippery and not conducive to their free-flowing style of play. However, they picked themselves up and ran out comfortable winners. This was backed up by a good win against Cleeve School although, it was scrappy at times. The girls then faced their two most difficult matches in the group stages against Farmors School and The Cotswold School. Unfortunately, the girls went down early on against Farmors and struggled to regain the lead ending up losing the match by three goals. This meant the game against The Cotswold School was now a must win or the squad would have been out of the tournament. This was the match that changed the whole tournament the squad finally clicked and played some excellent netball to come out convincing winners.
Coming second in the group the girls now faced a tall and skillful Stroud High. At times the girls struggled with the pressure that Stroud put on them but they did not lose focus or drive and won the match by two goals. Next up in the semi-finals were Cirencester Kingshill School who had put out Pate’s Grammar School in the quarter-finals. The girls dealt with their main game-players well and came out as convincing winners once again. This win meant that the girls were now definitely through to regionals and the final was now to decide who would be crowned overall county champions. It was a fitting final where the match could have gone either way but through grit, determination and some great through court play the girls won the game by one goal seeing them crowned county champions!
Head of Netball, Miss Betsy Willey commented, “I could not be prouder of the girls. The success of both U14 and U16 squads is testament to them as athletes, to perform so well when we are not even into the main netball season at College makes me very excited for what is to come in January. Whatever happens, the girls can be proud of what they have achieved and we shall see what regionals brings for this talented group.”
Squad: Bluebell Clayton (3rd, A), Freya Coull (3rd, Q), Rose Dillon (3rd, W), Fionnuala Dowling-Membrado (3rd, Ch), Izzy England (3rd, W), Flo Fletcher (3rd, A), Anna Forde (3rd, Ch), Eloise Harrison (3rd, A), Daisy Hunter (3rd, W), Georgia-Lilli Robertson (3rd, W) and Anabelle Wells (3rd, Ch).