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Netballers qualify for County Finals

The U15A team emerged victorious in the North Dorset Area Tournament at the weekend and now progress to the County Finals.

The team began with a characteristically high tempo and a good Clayesmore team were swept aside in the first half. Particularly pleasing was the defensive positioning and decision making of the whole team, and turnovers were forced by excellent team play and the squeezing of space. Saskia N and Lily G showed the first signs of really clicking as a pairing, as excellent communication from Lily allowed Saskia to screen and create space. At times, the attacking play was a little frenetic and the timing of the movement too early, but the commitment could not be faulted.

The second game vs Sherborne followed the same pattern and an explosive first half paved the way for another victory inspired by the drive of Naomi P.

The defensive unit that had worked extremely well was disrupted in the second half of the next game vs Blandford, as Eloise P, who had been excellent throughout, unfortunately fell awkwardly under a challenge. A tense half was edged by Blandford School and although it was the only 'half of a game' that the girls lost, enough had been done in the first half to cling on for victory.

St. Mary's played steady netball and their very good goal attack took advantage of the game and challenged the pairing of Eloise W and Minna W, to receive a lot of overhead balls in the D. However, the tenacity of Eloise and Minna forced a number of missed shots too and this will-to-win was a feature of the team's play throughout. It was also the first game of the season that the shooting stats had more missed than scored opportunities, as the cold began to bite. With a minute left and a goal ahead, an umpire's call of obstruction turned over possession outside the attacking D and St. Mary's moved the ball well to score. Bryanston replied immediately with a well worked centre pass, finished by Lily G, but there was still time for another contentious call which St. Mary's held their nerve to convert and secure with a 9-9 draw.

This meant both Bryanston and St. Mary's were level on points going into the last round of fixtures, although Bryanston had a three-goal lead in the goal difference column. Thus, it would come down to the score in the final round and the girls rose to the challenge. Sophie T had her best ever game and Jemima BB, Eloise W and Naomi P moved the ball quickly to consistently fire overheads to Saskia N to score 18 goals in 12 minutes, resulted in a goal difference that St. Mary's could not match.

An incredibly gutsy performance from the team, in very cold conditions, ensured that Bryanston were crowned champions and continue to the County Finals.

​U15 North Dorset Area Tournament results:
v Clayesmore W 12-6
v Sherborne W 12-3
v Blandford W 8-7
v St Mary’s D 9-9
v Gillingham W 18-1