The Fletcher Sports Team of the Month for March is a group of youngsters who have played out of their skins this season.
The U14 Peninsula Panthers were the first Guernsey junior side to qualify in Guernsey’s netballing history for the UK South Region U14 league, travelling to play two games a weekend once a month from September to February.
‘They have improved hugely throughout the season in finishing the league the most successful Guernsey U14 team for many years. A technically brilliant team with strength, resilience and speed,’ said coach Heidi Rosamund.
‘They came up against some very strong and very tall players, which meant they needed to be technically better and change their game to suit their opponents each game. They learnt over the season and the improvement was seen each game they played. People have even said they now play beyond their years.’
In January this year the girls won a Sports Commission award for Outstanding Team Performance of an All-Guernsey U18 Side, the first Guernsey netball team to win such a high accolade in sport in many years.
On Mother’s Day, the girls did themselves proud at Inter Insulars, beating Jersey in front of a home crowd by 14 goals the biggest win of the weekend across the Guernsey sides.
‘They were fantastic, everything they were taught was in their game which was a huge accomplishment for such a young team,’ said Heidi.
‘The girls have played local league netball together as a squad since they were 10 and 11 years old. This season the team were also undefeated champions in the Little Big Hotel Division 2 winter league and were crowned overall Channel Island champions last month winning the Uptons, this time in Jersey.
‘They’re a fantastic team who are best mates on and off court, they have grown together from little people into champions; myself my fellow team of coaches and team manager really couldn’t be prouder of them. The maturity they show on court I firmly believe is down to the journey they have been on since a young age which is key to building a squad to the standard they are.
‘As young players they aren’t mature enough to process instruction and immediately implement them on court so playing week in week out was key to their development and now we see them not even needing to check where each other are on court, they just know. That being said they have all worked very hard and have been 100% dedicated to their team and the sport.’
The netball scene in Guernsey is thriving, with more juniors taking up the sport locally than ever before. Heidi believes that this is due, in part, to the success of the England national side.
‘The Roses winning Commonwealth gold last year has certainly helped. Compared to when I was young, the sport is now televised, sponsored and players are even paid, finally players are recognised as athletes,’ she said.
‘Netball is a team sport; it provides inclusion and teaches some very valuable life skills. When you’re on court there is nothing else on your mind giving you a break from everyday life stresses and concerns.’
This year, the Guernsey Netball Association has introduced walking netball for the more mature lady or players using the game for rehabilitation purposes.
Anyone interested in taking up club netball or even walking netball can go to www.guernseynetball.gg
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