The Under 15A netball team went to the Lea Valley Tournament held on Tuesday 19 February 2008 confident that they could compete but aware that last year, when they were Under 14s, they had lost in the final to an able Broxbourne team.
Coach, Ian Findlay-Palmer, had previously three times ended as the runner-up, twice losing to Broxbourne, so he knew that they could expect to meet that usual well drilled and disciplined, talented outfit again.
In the preliminary rounds, Haileybury comfortably defeated Turnford and John Warner, but most satisfyingly beat Broxbourne who was in the same draw, with an impressively tight win of 3-2. With this confidence boost, and all nine girls of the squad playing magnificently, the semi-final against Presdales proved little challenge and then it was on to meet Broxbourne again, the other form team, in the final. Having nine players made a vital difference, allowing key players to be rested with no loss of performance.
The final proved an exciting match, one that Haileybury deservedly came out on top of. Their victory was a testament to their incredible hard work this term; in spite of the short term placing grave restrictions on training, they have come down regularly every Monday/Friday to the Sports Hall at 4.30pm to practise. This showed in the final, for instance, by their shooters missing their first three shots whilst we got ours and the consequent three-goal lead was the margin of victory (given the alternating centre pass); we won 7-5 in the end.
But it is not just the shooters that made us very proud; the whole team did their bit.
Andrianna Dyer [GS] – exhibited total domination of the ‘D’ and hardly missed a shot all tournament.
Louisa Sorensen [GA] and Captain – a truly outstanding player who led by example throughout.
Alice Coley [WA] – a massively impressive physical performance, but also an intelligent reading of the game and appreciation of the control of pace.
Olivia Chapman [C] – the ‘special one’; gave us total control of the mid-field both in attach and defence as well as a tactical awareness that cannot be coached.
Charlotte Newton [C] – came of age and looked at home on the A team court even when winning against Broxbourne.
Isabel Hunt [WD] – their attack repeatedly broke down against her dogged determination and inspirational defence.
Laura Sennett [WD] – thoroughly deserved her place in this winning squad and made the transition from captaining the B team well.
Freddie Waites [GD] – simply the best; our shooters may not miss but unless we can defeat theirs, we will only draw and the credit for doing just that is yours.
Freddie Birley [GK] – stepping up from the B team GS last year her towering ‘lean’ proved too much for the opposition shooters; just how good is she going to be?
Well done to the team!