Hartpury Netball Junior 1st Team Win BCS Regionals
Hartpury College are defending their National Championship title this year after a hugely successful 2010 campaign. The girls were coming off the back of two strong Super League wins so spirits were high, but it was understood by the squad that they still had to earn their position in the finals.
The first match was held with anticipation versus Warwickshire and the players had to get first intercept of the game as the coin toss had been lost. This interception came within seconds of the starting whistle from Alix Matthews at goal defence and the team worked the ball straight into the goal. This continued for all 12 minutes of the game and the score ended 19-0. A great start to the competition.
The results didn’t change much either racking up a score against Halesowen of 18-0 in the following game, thanks to accurate shooting from Lydia Hallbrook and Laura Lewis. The hardest game came from Birmingham MET where the girls were tested to keep their cool against a physical defence. Sophie Masterson started to see the ball in her goalkeeper position for the first time in the tournament, and despite play being slow in her end of the court, once it reached the attacking third she was wide awake and ball hungry taking many interceptions. This combination with Matthews proved to be the toughest defence in the region helping to win the game 11-6.
Hartpury finished their rounds with a victory over Cirencester 11- 4 and North Warks 15 – 2. This resulted in Hartpury earning the top position in their group and playing the runners up in group B; King Edwards Stourbridge. Lauren Brooks at centre, dominated the centre third and not only stealing possession of the ball on numerous occasions but also driving the ball back to the shooters which created many goals. This play was supported by tips and rebounds from Steph Dunning and Katie Hobbs at wing defence, causing the opposition to make mistakes and also by clever clearing and movement by Danni Hines and Beth Dudden at wing attack. The squad stormed through to the finals with a 17 – 2 victory to replay Birmingham MET.
The players prepared themselves and the warm up was sharp. They knew not to be complacent and every goal scored was vital and every pass the opposition made an opportunity for possession. The game started with another interception by Brooks which was worked to the circle using straight, fast passes and converted by Hallbrook. Quick passing by Hines allowed Lewis to use her speed to her advantage and conversion rates were high. Matthews continued her best defensive game to date playing clever tactical netball and showing her agility alongside fantastic teamwork and communication with Masterson. Such intelligent netball and athleticism shown by all players and support on the bench resulted in a 15 – 3 victory for the Hartpury girls. The team now hold the West Midlands College Champions title for the 3rd year in a row.
Hartpury now take their campaign to Bath for next year’s BCS National Finals to defend their title.
Player of the Tournament goes to Alix Matthews who showed control and skill on defence but also accurate attack and decision making passes.