On the day of school closure, the U16 netball team turned down the opportunity for a day in bed and instead assembled at Dane Court at 7:30am in the drizzle, ready to leave for the county tournament in Rainham. It was only the second year Dane Court had entered the Kent Netball Tournament so we really wanted to make our mark and play our best against the rest of Kent.
After missing the junction, and several engine stalls in the minibus, we made it to Rainham in one piece. The tournament had been entered by over 50 schools, mostly public schools, so we had tough competition. In the morning we were very unlucky with our draws, facing Dartford and Tunbridge Wells, who went on to win the competition. The teams included county players, and were very tall! However Dane Court did not disappoint, Ellen Whitehead in the centre dominated the court, seizing any opportunity to get her hands on the ball. Lucy Mackay playing wing-attack, persisted to battle against her defender for possession of the ball and snatching any misplaced high balls from the opposition. Our shooters, Emma Bryant and Poppy Attwell Bushell were not at all fazed by the huge defenders looming above them and continued to shoot effortlessly all day.
Against Dartford, we lead into half time; however the Dartford girls came back. WD, Ellie Terziyski provided a strong defence against the opposition, tightly marking and blocking the ball on several occasions. Gen Musgrave, proved herself to be a tough goal keeper, by maintaining pressure on the opposition's shooters, making scoring difficult. Despite the valiant effort from the Dane Court girls we lost to Dartford 8-5.
In the afternoon, the teams were put into rank order depending on the morning's games, and then put into groups of similar standard; we were pleased to be in the 3rd best group. The morning's losses brought us together as a team and spurred us on to want to win our plate competition. The schools we faced in the afternoon were strong, however Dane Court was better. Erin Townsend was brought on in the afternoon and provided a tough line of defence; she had superbly tight marking much to the annoyance of the opposition's wing attack. Our final game of the afternoon was against Farringtons, a school we had lost to that morning and who we were now determined to beat. Dane Court took control of the game and although Farringtons score crept up, so did ours. When the final whistle blew we had beaten Farringtons 9-5, giving us three wins and a draw, making us the winners of our group!
The day was a fantastic experience. Opportunities for girls' netball in Thanet are rather limited so we loved having the opportunity to experience some quality netball from stronger teams, allowing us to play to our very best.
The girls and I can't thank Miss Riley enough for dedicating even more of her time to take us to this tournament. Miss Riley is one of those people who are always giving to others without ever thinking about herself, and so we are all very grateful for the time and effort she has put into our netball this year.
Amy Napier - Captain