Netballers Go National

Exeat weekend saw 28 girls travel to the Sir David English Centre, Bournemouth, to compete as Wiltshire County Champions in the Regional round of the England Netball National Schools competition. There was some superb netball played, some tough oppositions faced and lots of positives to take into the remainder of the season. Having three teams qualify for this tournament is no easy feat and so our congratulations go to all of the athletes involved.

U19

Squad list: Elyssa Jones (LI), Lara Beckett (MO), Millie Burdett (MM), Scarlett Thompson (MM), Kate Perkins (DA), Harriet Eyles (MM), Poppy Cripwell (MM), Ali Cameron (MM), Tate Oliphant (MO)

Results:
MC 11 – 5 Penwith College
MC 7 – 18 KES Bath
MC 4 – 16 Exeter College
MC 7 – 6 Highcliffe School
MC 8 – 11 Taunton School
MC 6 – 17 Hartpury College

The U19 team had a successful day at the Regional Schools tournament, their best squad performance coming in a narrow loss to Taunton School. Captained by Elyssa Jones (LI), this would be the final competition of its kind for our four Upper Sixth. Each match played was seven minutes each way and the squad played with pace and urgency throughout. The focus was on successful conversion of our centre passes, with Harriet Eyles (MM) doing much defensive work across the court. Team morale remained strong throughout even the most testing of matches, with Poppy Cripwell (MM) having a phenomenal day playing all 84 tournament minutes at Goal Attack. The girls enjoyed showcasing their netball on the Regional stage and relished the challenges provided by our varied oppositions. The team now turn their attention to a home fixture vs Downe House on Saturday 2nd February.

U16

Squad list: Alicia Beckett (MO), Ariana Jones (IH), Ella Warner (MM), Scarlet Thurner (NC), Valentina Milne (EL), Gigi Chambers (MO), Francesca Armytage (MM), Maddy Hornby (MM), Fleur White (EL), Liliana May (NC)

Results:
MC 9 – 10 Penryn
MC 10 – 15 St Peter’s
MC 11 – 13 Royal High School, Bath
MC 9 – 15 Talbot Heath
MC 10 – 5 Farmor’s
MC 7 – 14 Millfield

The U16 team had a frustrating start to the day and initially struggled to find each other with their passing. Nerves were clearly playing a part and were causing unusual unforced errors. The defensive players were not downhearted, though, and continued to turnover ball. The team played their best game against Royal High School, Bath. The girls worked hard for each other, rectified errors, applied their skillsets and Maddy Hornby (MM) was hugely influential bringing ball through court at Wing Defence. This game showed a different mentality, the girls worked really hard for each other, executed set centres and backlines – it looked like we had turned a corner. The girls were under a lot of pressure every time they caught the ball but played smart with Maddy centralising the ball through court and Scarlet Thurner (NC) shooting really nicely. Unlucky not to get a win in this game, the girls turned their attention to Farmor’s. There were many positives within this match, the girls had had more time on the ball and always looked in control; the combination of Ella Warner (MM) and Gigi Chambers (MO) seemed to click and shooting was more relaxed. The girls will continue to work hard in training and will focus upon keeping play consistent under pressure and minimising unforced errors. They must all be congratulated on reaching the Regional competition as County Champions for the second year running.

U14

Squad list: Eloise Beattie (IH), Lucia Harrison (IH), Georgie Cresswell (MO), Skye Dowling (MM), Iona Gladstone (EL), Star Horlock (DA), Grace Hornby (MM), Ruby Lee (MM), Freya Woolfenden (MM)

Results:
MC 15 – 3 King’s Bruton
MC 10 – 7 Clifton College
MC 10 – 7 Torquay Girls’ Grammar
MC 15 – 2 Truro School
MC 7 – 7 Parkstone Grammar
MC 13 – 7 Pate’s Grammar School

This team were the most successful Marlborough team in attendance at this year’s Regional finals. The girls started off the day strong and composed against King’s Bruton, Clifton, Torquay and Truro, playing their game and at their pace. Marlborough then faced Parkstone Grammar who were an equally matched team and really challenged us defensively and attacking, resulting in a 7 – 7 draw after 14 minutes. Their final group game against Pate’s Grammar saw another win for Marlborough, resulting in a semi-finals place. Here the girls faced a strong Millfield team won their group in the earlier portion of the day. Unfortunately, the girls were unable to utilise their turnovers and covert them to goal which resulted in a 10-3 defeat. However, the girls picked themselves up and prepared for the third place play off, facing Parkstone Grammar once again. The whole team really stepped up a gear to give their final game everything in order to come away with a third-place medal. Positive attitudes and resilience saw the girls win 15 – 3 to secure their involvement within the presentation ceremony.

‘Outstanding role models’

The whole squad were outstanding role models for the College but there were a few key individuals that were exceptional on the day and really went above and beyond. Eloise Beattie (IH) stepped up into her role of captain by controlling the game pace, displaying excellent court conduct and communication with her teammates. Grace Hornby (MM) was the standout midcourt player, always staying calm and composed, driving forward into the pockets to feed exceptional balls into the shooting circle. Skye Dowling (MM) was a shooting superstar over the weekend showcasing a range of shots throughout the day and holding her own against opposition defence. The practice that Ruby and Skye have been doing together in the circle really paid off throughout the day. Star Horlock (DA), coming back from injury, was able to make a positive contribution to the team both on and off the court and provide a different option for the attack with quick movements in to the circle. The defence as a whole were superb, turning over numerous balls, controlling the pace of the game, providing a reset option for the attacking circle and keeping calm in stressful situations; Lucia, Freya, Iona and Georgie all played their part. The entire coaching team were thrilled with the attitude and application from this group and are extremely proud of their achievements.

My thanks go to Miss Allen, Miss Meehan, Mrs Watt, Miss Lawrence, Miss Rackham, Miss Gray, Mr Davies, Mr Lalor and Mr Porter for their care of the squads on the day. The support of this exceptional group who gave up their Exeat weekend in order to score, coach, supervise, celebrate and advise was much appreciated by all of the girls.

Thank you also to all of the travelling parents who provided such a loyal fanbase on the day! Our thanks also go to Stephen Woolfenden for the great selection of images. There is much more to come from these three teams across the Lent Term and you can check the fixtures programme here.

Sophie Bingham
Head of Netball
Twitter: @MCol_Netball

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