From the 6th until the 8th October, our U21 Wales squad competed in the Europe Netball Championship Event, and came up against Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. With the squad having some outstanding performances, and successfully winning two out of their three matches, the U21’s claimed silver at the competition.
Wales U21 vs Scotland U21
Match one for our U21’s saw them come up against Scotland U21, and the game went goal-for-goal for most of the first quarter. Scotland took a slight three-goal lead heading into the second quarter, but Wales fought to get the scores back level early in the second quarter. They continued to build in the second, and with a five-goal turnaround took the lead into the second half.
The momentum swung between both teams in the third quarter, so Wales responded with some positional changes. The changes had impact on the game, with Victoria Booth picking up and abundance of tips, deflections, and interceptions, and working seamlessly with defensive partner Millie Carter. Wales U21’s kept their two-goal lead heading into the final quarter, and it was all to play for.
Wales were patient with the ball throughout the final 15 minutes of the match and kept their two-goal lead for the first half of the final quarter. When the seven-minute mark hit, Wales increased their pressure and increased the score deficit to seven goals. The matched finished with a strong finish (63 – 52), and Wales got their first win of the competition on the board.
Victoria Booth was named Player of the Match after having an outstanding performance.
After the match, Wales U21’s turned their focus to their next match which would be against England the next day.
Wales U21 vs England U21
With both teams getting the win in their first matches of the competition, this match-up was going to be an exciting one.
Wales started with the same line-up that they finished with against Scotland. Despite England gaining an early 5-2 advantage, Wales fought back and levelled the scores with plenty of time left in the quarter. With a forced changed in our attack end, due to Lauren Pawson going down with an injury, England took a five-goal advantage heading into the second quarter.
England found their flow at the beginning of the second quarter, and extended their lead to 7 goals, but Wales continued to fight and didn’t give up. Wales reduced the deficit to just four goals, but the momentum shifted back into England’s favour, and the scores at half time were 24 – 32.
In the third and fourth quarter, England continued to build on their lead and Wales found themselves 10-goals down with 15 minutes remaining in their second match. England won the match 63 – 44.
Wales U21’s had one more match remaining the next day against Northern Ireland U21.
Wales U21 vs Northern Ireland U21
The match against Northern Ireland, was Wales’s fight for a silver medal (dependant on the result of the later Scotland U21 vs England U21 match), and our U21’s were determined to get their second and final win on the board.
Wales dominated the match early with a 9 – 3 lead, which put them in good stead for the match. Wales kept their lead for the whole of the first quarter with the help of great defensive pressure and slick moves in attack.
In the second quarter, Wales continued to build and dominate across all areas of the court. Millie Carter was taking intercepts, with Georgia Hellerman driving the ball through the court and Sarie Watkins finishing the great passage of play under the post. Wales took a seven-goal lead into the second half along with confidence that they could win the match.
Wales kept their composure and held their lead for most of the third quarter. With four minutes remaining in the penultimate quarter, Northern Ireland came back and got the scores level. In the final minutes of the third quarter, both Booth and Captain Deni Agnew came through with interceptions that gave Wales the momentum they needed to gain a three-goal lead heading into their last quarter of the competition.
Although Northern Ireland threatened to reduce the deficit once again, Wales increased the pressure, and held their own in the last quarter. They fought for every ball and made sure they kept possession when it counted.
Despite the score on the stream being 59 – 51, the match ended 60 – 51. Wales had done what they needed to do to give them the best chance at winning a silver medal.
Victoria Booth was again awarded the Player of the Match in Wales’s final match of the competition, and what a tournament she had! Congratulations to Booth on some outstanding performances in this competition.
All the squad had to do now was to watch Scotland U21 vs England U21 to see if the outcome favoured Wales. England defeated Scotland which secured the silver medal for our U21 squad. Congratulations to the squad and management team on an amazing competition and for bringing home a silver medal!