The 1st VII were a little nervous going into this tournament because the competition is always so strong and we found ourselves in the tougher side of the draw.
The girls had a confident start in their first match against Thomas Telford and some strong defensive work from Lizzie, Katie and Maddie helped us to comfortably secure our first win of the day. This gave us the confidence to play a more relaxed game against Adams’ Grammar and to put some new skills into practice. Mary and Kitty shone in this match and the ball travelled effortlessly through the centre court.
Our third game was against Shrewsbury High School. We started strongly with some excellent shooting from Amelie and Poppy, but the High School pulled it back with some great interceptions in the centre court. It was a tense match and our game suffered from a lack of recent match play, which led to signs of panic. But the girls dug deep and our defence forced some errors in their attacking play, bringing the score back to a 7-7 draw at the end of the game.
A comfortable win in our next match gave us the opportunity to pull our game back together. It also meant we went into the semi-final at the top of our group and faced a tough Moreton Hall team. The girls played some of the best netball of the day to secure us a place in the final. Kitty was outstanding in the centre court in the first half and some excellent play from Jetty in the second half secured our win.
The final was against a well-practised Wrekin College team. Again the girls started strongly, using set moves to move the ball down the court. At half-time we led 6-3 and were confident going into the second half. We made a couple of unforced errors, which gave Wrekin a way back into the game to bring the score to 7-7. In the last few seconds we made some great play to get the ball into the shooting circle and were looking at scoring in the nick of time but the whistle beat us to it, which meant we had to play extra time. The match was decided by a couple of panic moments in the last few minutes, which an experienced Wrekin side managed to capitalise on.
The top two teams go through to the next level of the competition, so although we were disappointed not to be crowned County Champions, we are still very proud to be representing Shropshire at the West Midlands next term.
The 2nd VII had managed a number of training sessions in a ‘non-netball term’ building up to the County Tournament. They were entered into the Plate and had three group matches to get through in order to reach the semi-finals.
Our first game was against William Brookes 1st team. It was a very evenly matched game, with both teams being a little nervous first game in. At half-time it was 4-4. The second half continued with end-to-end netball, with both teams playing more consistently. Our defence stayed strong to give us the edge, with Shrewsbury just winning it 10-9.
Our second game was against Oswestry School 1st team. The girls were feeling good after their first barrow win, but as the rain came down we started to make mistakes and had to fight hard to get it back from 2-4 to make it 5-4 at half-time.
The second half was a much better performance, with Annie Middleton as GS scoring well and Ella Windle (G) working the ball down court. Final score 8-5 to Shrewsbury.
Our final group game was against Adams’ Grammar 2nd team. This was our best performance. The ball moved easily through to the attacking D and Sophia Breese (EDH), who had moved into GA, was on top form to give a final score of 11-3.
Our semi-final was against Ellesmere College 1st team. The squad were working excellently as a team and it was a comfortable 11-5 win to put us through to the final.
The final was a rematch of our opening game, as we were drawn against William Brooke’s. As with the group game, it was a really close match. Gemma Kershaw (M) remained strong in defence supported by Georgia Levin at WD. At half-time it was 5-5. Shrewsbury managed to push ahead a little in the second half and maintained this lead with some excellent, fluent play. Final score 10-7.
This was a wonderful result for Shrewsbury to become U19 County Plate Champions.