U11A Netball to IAPS National Netball Finals

16 Mar 2015

The Squad: Sophie Hamilton (capt); Harriet Anthony (vice capt); Georgia Blackman; Alice Farmer; Ella Chandler; Taggie Paganuzzi; Lottie Sharman; Bonnie Harris; Lulie Pumphrey.

Last Friday the U11A girls departed for the south-east for the IAPS National Netball Finals. The journey was pretty uneventful although somewhat worryingly, on going over the Dartford Crossing Bridge and asking what river was below us, the only suggestion that was forthcoming was ‘The Nile’!! Fortunately Ella jumped to the rescue and managed to identify The Thames. Tough times ahead for Mr Whittock!

First stop was at the East Sussex National Hotel which was to be our home for the night. We were lucky that the hotel had an enormous swimming pool and Jacuzzi which the girls enjoyed to the full. After settling into their enormous family rooms it was off to The Wok Inn where we were given our own room and enjoyed a tasty Chinese meal which was devoured with gusto. Crispy Aromatic Duck was the undoubted favourite. The girls were ready for a good night’s sleep on our return and soon settled down in their comfy rooms.

Saturday dawned and the girls were quick to enjoy a buffet breakfast with endless choices – many of them managed a full cooked plate, fruit, croissants and more. It was a really enjoyable stay at a very welcoming hotel, but the business side of the trip was now upon the team. We arrived at Roedean School, near Brighton, the location for the Finals, in time to claim half a court for warming up. The girls were a little quiet but not overly nervous. We had 8 matches to play in the group stage against some schools that had placed very highly in their regions and against others that had placed in similar positions to us. The day was one of two halves really: we managed to be very competitive in five of our eight matches but failed in the three others to make an impact and succumbed to the pressure. The squad as a whole showed their relative youth (most of the team being 9 & 10 year olds) and at times, where a little extra maturity was needed they struggled and panicked and passes were wayward.  Shooting was also an issue and shots were missed which the next level of team just did not miss. The high point for Mrs Morgan Jones and I was in the last two games and the one against Blundells where the girls suddenly showed greater metal with every player thinking, being focussed, eliminating silly errors and just showing how well they can play.

Lulie was the most improved player of the day. Coming into the squad from the B team for these tournaments she really raised her game and showed commitment and focus at GK.  Sophie Hamilton and Alice Farmer were the Witham players of the tournament, both of them raising their game all day. However, all the girls should be proud of the way they developed as players and if they can take away with them the way they played in their last game, they will do even better the next time they compete at this level. From the results it is easy to see how it could have been five matches won, with just a few less errors at critical points. As a squad the girls were a delight to take away and had lots of fun and laughter together, whether it was races balancing on shoulders in the swimming pool or devouring yet another plate of Chinese food in the restaurant. We were blessed by terrific parental support, both practical and providing the necessary TLC when needed. Thank you! My thanks also go to Miss Stanton, in the regional round and Mrs Morgan Jones this weekend, for their help and support.

Results:

Hall Grove 1-12

The Manor 1-8

Daneshill 1-7

St Hilary’s 2-3

Foremarke Hall 3-4

Edgeborough 2-3

Blundells 2-2

Town Close WON 4-2!