High Wycombe Tournament - Saturday 13th June 2015
As is tradition, AJNL entered 3 teams into the end of season tournament at Wycombe - one team each from Years 7, 8 & 9. This was the culmination of another successful netballing season at AJNL and offered the girls the opportunity to test their skills against other opposition. This is a big event with teams being represented from many different counties from around the south of England. Many of these teams train and play together on a regular basis and have settled squads, so the standard is always extremely high. Judging by the incredible height and athleticism of some of the other girls, I would like to know what is in their water or maybe even a check of their birth certificate!
The forecast warm and dry weather conditions didn't actually materialise and instead we endured a damp, overcast day. The shorts and t-shirt approach favoured by Kevin and Howard wasn't exactly the best tactic, but it didn't spoil the enthusiasm and players, officials and parents adapted accordingly. A big thank-you to John Wood for project managing the construction of the gazebos. This turned out to be an essential requirement as we often needed refuge from the prolonged drizzle.
The netballing action got under way at 9.30am although all of the AJNL teams were not involved in the opening rounds. Eventually, it was the Year 7's that first took to the court and put in a magnificent performance in a 6-6 draw against their opponents. Immediately after this, both the Year 8's and Year 9's were in action and again, both teams acquitted themselves brilliantly against tough opponents. The Year 9's started very strongly against Westoning but were pegged back towards the end, but still managed a credible 4-4 draw. The Year 8's trumped this performance by convincingly beating their opponents and then performed even better in the next match, by winning 11-1.
Over the next three hours, the matches came thick and fast. Years 7 & 8 played eight matches each in total and as there were less teams entered in the Year 9 Tournament, the older girls only had 5 matches. Each match was 5 mins each way, with a mere 30 secs turnaround at the half.
As the tournament progressed the matches became tougher for all of our teams and the early success could not be maintained. Despite this, all of the girls performed with amazing determination and dedication and never once stopped fighting until the final whistle. It was great to witness the comradery and enthusiasm displayed by all of our teams and even though we weren't the best team, we probably would have won the award for the most vocal and best supported team, as parents and officials all joined in to cheer on the girls.
Unfortunately after all of the group matches had been completed, none of the AJNL teams progressed to the semi-final stage. This meant that for the Year 9's this would be the last time that they represented AJNL, but hopefully we will see some of them back in a managing or officiating capacity next season. Hopefully the Year 7's and Year 8's will have learnt a great deal from this tournament and use this experience to make them into stronger and better netballers. We look forward to welcoming them all back next season.
A big thank you to all of our umpires, Emma, Ali & Shannon, who performed a magnificent job in difficult conditions. Also a big mention to Nicole who had two important roles on the day as First Aider and match scorer. We had a few casualties along the way with a bit of blood left behind on the court, but hopefully no more than a few bumps and bruises and everyone walked away at the end of the day.
A special thank you also to all of the parents who transported the girls to the venue and supported on the day. Without your support this wouldn't be possible and I am sure that all of the girls greatly appreciate it (even if they don't tell you that directly)!
Finally, a big thank you to the AJNL Committee members who made the event happen. On the day, Kate, Anita, Kevin and Howard looked after the girls and ensured that everything went like clockwork (and it did)! A special mention also to Jan and Gilly as even though they couldn't be there on the day, they more than played their part in the preparation leading up to the event and we know they were there is spirit!
Let's do it all again next season - see you all at AJNL Registration on Saturday 12th September. Have a great summer!
Year 9 Squad - Hannah Alexander (capt), Niamh Bailey, Eleanor Briggs, Ella Cruickshank, Ella Fordham, Amber Hawes, Jess Hemphill, Alice Tymms, Shannon Wood
Year 8 Squad - Skye Britton (capt), Saffron Brookes, Lauren Cato, Ellie Daymond, Olivia Doughty, Elizabeth Hamilton, Shannon Thomas, Chloe Vickers
Year 7 Squad - Amber-Lily Edwards (capt), Zoe Allen, Charlotte Basnett, Elizabeth Basnett, Laura Healy, Isobel Mathews, Ella Ross, Chloe Tippins and Niasmh Allen
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