U14’s Hucclecote Firebirds hold on to win playoffs

An exceptionally promising start to the season for the Hucclecote Firebirds, only beaten by Hucclecote Dragons and Cirencester A who have both gone through to the Regional U14s League, leaving Hucclecote Firebirds entering the GCNA League as the team to beat.

The first match of the day was against the very strong side from Challengers, Holly James and Natasha Young scored consistently giving the team an early head start, however Challengers fought back taking the lead briefly, but with 3 fantastic Intercepts, Ellie Gabriel managed to turn ball and with the speed of midcourt with Maddie Norwood as WA and Charlotte Dilks as C soon has the team back in front to win by 11/9. 

The second match against Old Chelts Swifts also proved to be a tough game, Holly however was on fire and score an impressive 8 out of 8 goals and Tash, 2 out of 3 attempts. The strong feeding on the circle and some dynamic Intercepts and tips by WD, Jess Gwatkins kept the Swifts working hard. Erin Pearson, as GK and Ellie Gabriel, GD, continued to push the shooters wide, and at half time the game was just in the Firebirds favour. With some changes on court and Maisie Taylor making her debut in WD, Jess Gwatkins moved to WA, the Firebirds fought hard to hold the Swifts at bay. However a few penalties in the defending circle, gave Swifts the chance they needed and they took the lead. Not to be outdone, the Firebirds fought back with 2 stunting intercepts by Ellie Gabriel and quickly converted by Holly, the game finished with a draw at 10/10.

The third match against the Stroud Eagles was also a close game, some tight defending and some exceptional mid court speed from Maddie Norwood and Charlotte Dilks kept Stroud fighting, Tash scored some late goals to get Firebirds through to a 7/5 victory.

The fouth game was against Hucclecotes old rival Cirencester A, the game was fought tightly from the beginning. Maisie took the WD bib, Jess moved to WA and Maddie GD, Ellie played a strong and agile GK taking 3 intercepts, Maddie Norwood filling in as GD played some outstanding netball taking intercepts to turn ball. Our shooters struggled with the tall Cirencester defence and found their goals were not on target, the eventual conclusion was Ciren A,9, Firebirds 7. 

The group winners were Cirencester from Firebirds which came down to a goal average difference of .10

The semi final was against our own stable mates Hucclecote Dragons, whilst the girls fought bravely the might of the Dragons was too much and they were beating convincingly 15/2. 

The final game of the day was the 3rd/4th playoffs against Randwick Amber, the girls were now very tired. Jess Gwatkins suffering with her back was replaced by Maisie Taylor who made several tips and an interception to give the team a good start. Erin and Ellie worked hard in the defending circle turning ball and the consistent shooting duo of Holly and Tash proved unstoppable again. The Firebirds took the game in the last minute by 1 goal. 11/10

It’s been an exceptional start to the U14s season, well done to our Firebirds, we’re looking forward to a very dynamic season ahead.

Yesterday’s Squad: Holly James, Natasha Young, Maddie Norwood, Charlotte Dilks, Jess Gwatkins, Maisie Taylor, Ellie Gabriel and Erin Pearson,