Over the last few weeks Paulton’s Back to Netball ladies have been preparing to play in the County’s first ever Back to Netball Festival. A squad of 10 players travelled to Taunton Vale on Sunday 16th February to represent Paulton Rovers playing against 8 other teams with varying levels of experience; from those in a similar position who have just returned to the game to those who have been playing and developing their netball experience over the last two years.
The team’s first match was against Blackdown which saw both teams start the quarter nervous but equally matched. However in the second quarter Blackdown’s experience came through with Paulton not being able to match the passing accuracy of their opposition to lose 11-7. However not to be disheartened the girls positively took to the court for their second match against Yeovil with Jess and Sarah finding their defending feet in the circle to link up well with Louise, Hannah and Chloe to work the ball down the court to shooters Rachael and Jo. Despite some excellent play Paulton just lost out to Yeovil 6 – 3.
After a good team talk and half court practice the squad stepped on court to face The Pinker Ladies with the focus to concentrate on coming forward for the ball and to take their time when passing. With all the team driven to secure their first win the rotating squad quickly gelled together with Becky and Emma growing in confidence marking The Pinker Ladies out of play in mid court and chasing valuable loose balls. Excellent defending across the team and dynamic circle play from Rachael and Jo, eased Paulton just ahead to win 5 – 4 as the final whistle blew much to the delight of the girls.
After lunch the team faced more experienced competition in which they were tested physically and mentally. With credit to everyone in the squad the girls remained upbeat and motivated as they took on the phenomenal All Blacks and just as strong Bishop Lydeard to lose heavily, while running out of steam in the final quarters against Welly Wonders and Pink Ladies to lose by a few goals in each match.
Over all the squad came joint 7th which was a fantastic result with a only a few weeks training. As hoped the girls left Taunton feeling motivated to improve further in preparation for the next tournament and their interest in the sport fuelled. Most improved player as voted by the squad and coaches was Sarah B. Back to Netball returns on March 5th at Paulton Rovers FC, 7-8pm.