Chosen from sixty trialists they reached the standards set for selection and played in the South teams in games of four 12-minute quarters each.Serena Guthrie and Sophie Hickey played outstandingly in defence in the U14 age group while Jennie Harrop, in the attacking shooting circle, netted goals to her own consistently high standards.
The team won both games, 43-24 against Avon I and 56-18 against Avon II.The Under 15s were far superior to their opponents.
Lauren Devine used her height and elevation well in the defending circle and delivered fast, accurate balls up-court while Lara Crenan used her speed and decisive movement to gain top circle, enabling her to feed her shooters.
South beat Dorset 27-16 and Cornwall 44-20.The Under 16 section was much more evenly contested and the girls had to play at their very best and did exceptionally well to combine with players they had not played with before.Play was fast and slick with all members of the team delivering a good performance.
Sophie Holmes worked well with her new team-mate and a good understanding between the two shooters soon developed, with the Jersey girl’s calmness under pressure – such a valuable asset for a shooter – helping her net some superb goals.The Gloucester U18s were shocked into action as their younger South opponents started to pull ahead, but South’s concentration let them down in the closing minutes of the game which ended 22-20 in Gloucester’s favour – but gave the South new impetus for the next two matches.The Avon U16s were up next and Georgia Hickey proved her worth in this game and continually denied space in the circle for the attacking shooters, forcing errors which enabled her to intercept balls and begin the move on to the offensive.
South had learned the lessons from the previous game and won 44-26.In the final game, against Avon Under 18s, South were determined to finish on a high note, but Avon used the advantage of their stronger physical presence and it took the first quarter for South to settle.Abigail Hazley played centre in all three games and grew stronger throughout the day.
Her delivery of the centre pass was excellent, as was her feeding into her shooters.
Her quick reactions, from defence to attack, allowed South to capitalise on the turnovers and proved the making of the game which South won 29-21.’The girls all played well, although the opposition in the U14s and 15s was not that strong so the girls weren’t really stretched,’ development officer Linda Andrews said.
‘But the U16s matches were amazing and the girls had to put into practise all they’ve been working at in training.’They had no time to stop and think, they just had to react as each situation arose – and they did so magnificently.’ Andrews added: ‘These are just the opportunities we need to help these talented athletes’ development so we hope we can continue to benefit from programmes like this in the future.’