Final four for Hartpury netball at national championships


Hartpury’s netballers followed up their National Schools top two success with another top four finish at the AoC National Colleges Championships.

The team finished runners-up in their group, advancing to a semi-final with Greenhead College – a repeat of their recent National Schools final – which they lost before securing fourth place through a play-off.

Hartpury, without influential goal attack Paige Reed as she was busy securing her England Under-19s spot at trials, started brightly by beating Wyggeston Sixth Form 21-11. They were then made to battle for their second win of the weekend as Winchester’s Peter Symonds College fought them all the way but Hartpury eventually secured a 20-17 win.

Superleague rivals Truro College inflicted Hartpury’s first defeat of the competition despite goal shooter Elly Milner’s best efforts. Milner scored seven from eight to give Hartpury a 10-9 lead at half-time but it wasn’t enough to stop Truro eventually prevailing 19-17.

The girls quickly bounced back with a convincing 34-19 win over Gateshead College to ensure they would advance to the second day and the final four of the competition as runners-up in their group.

Hartpury had advanced with a strong defensive record and it was quickly put to the test as the country’s top side took a 13-6 at half-time. Despite a strong performance, Hartpury were unable to stop Greenhead’s shooter, who sunk every chance that came her way as the Yorkshire and Humberside representatives advanced to the final with a 23-12 win.

Already guaranteed fourth place, Hartpury went into the play-off game seeking revenge over Truro and the game was closely contested throughout. Both sides were locked at eight apiece at the halfway point and it wasn’t until a series of misplaced Hartpury passes late in the second half saw their Cornish rivals pull away to take bronze with a 20-15 win.

Head coach, Sarah Pretty, said: “It was disappointing not to pick up a medal but to have finished in the top four college sides in the country is a massive achievement. I think on another day we could have gone further but the girls have a lot to be proud of.

“It was a strong defensive performance throughout and there will be a lot that this young squad can take from today and use moving forward.”

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