Hucclecote Netball U.16 Dragons take South West Title and earn National Finals Place
Hucclecote Dragons slayed all the opposition in the South West U.16 Division League this season and should be super proud of their performances. Yesterday saw the culmination of the top four teams playing each other again at the play offs for the third time where Hucclecote secured the league title and earned a place through to National Finals on 3-5th May 2019.
Showing off their smart kit sponsored by Dragon Alpha Cement and HSS Training, Hucclecote looked very striking out on court. Taking on Titans from Devon in their 10.30 a.m. game, Hucclecote stormed to an early lead 12-4 , and continued to dominate throughout. Issy Eaton at GS and Hannah Howl Captain in defence earned joint Player of the Match with both demonstrating real skill and dominance in their area of the court taking their team to 39-15 at half time. Howl secured 7 cleans intercepts and rebounds throughout this game and Eaton netted 100% scoring 20/20 playing at both GS and GA. All 12 players took to the court during this early game, with Tash Englefield at Centre taking care of the ball through court with some great linkages, and Georgie Thorpe netting 90% scoring 26/29 attempts.
After a positive start, second up saw them take on West Exe, a team they only narrowly beat a few weeks earlier. However, with the squad on fire, they once again dominated from the start. Mia Mathewson at Centre connected well in mid court, and with Ellie Gabriel intercepting some great takes at the back end, it took their score to 26-5 at half time. Freya Coullmade an impact half time at WD, as did Scarlett Jinks and with fresh legs on in attack, Hucclecote ran out winners 43-14. Sophia Winfield put some nice touch feeds into Georgie Thorpe in the second half, with Thorpe awarded Player of the Match after a great positional game and excellent conversion rate netting 14/15 93%
Their final game saw them meet Bath Cougars who were fired up and ready to go. This was going to be the deciding game to take the South West Title, as both had already secured a place through to Nationals. Cougars came out more disciplined in the first ten minutes with Hucclecote’s error rate high as they approach their attacking end. At 8-6 down after the first ten, Hucclecote made one switch bringing on Sophia Winfield to GA and although the error rate was still high, Winfield brought some good calm play into the attacking end which enabled Hucclecote to surge into a 4-goal lead at half timing, winning that quarter by 6 goals taking the score to 24-19. Nadine Baird took some amazing balls to circle edge anddemonstrated great athleticism which earned her Player of the Match. It wasn’t until the final quarter that Coach Gilly Salter switched Katie Pauling to GS, Eaton to GA and Emily Seymour-Perry to Centre, that Hucclecote’s performance went up a whole new level. In this period of play Hucclecote’sattack scored 12 goals in quick succession and defensively stepped it up only allowing 1 goal to go through Cougars netas they ran out winners 36 goals to 20.
This was a great squad effort and one all the parents, supporters and players should be very proud of. There is still more work to do before National Finals however these young hucclecote netballers are keen and up for the challenge.
Thanks to Wendy Burgess, Assistant Coach and to Becky Howl Team Manager Co-ordinator and to the parents who took it in turn to assist on the scoring and timing table.
Squad: I. Eaton, K. Pauling, S. Winfield, G. Thorpe, N. Baird, M. Mathewson, E. Seymour-Perry, F. Coull, N. Englefield, S. Jinks, H. Howl (Capt), E. Gabriel (Vice)