Portsmouth-based Ninjas are champions in latest Netball in the Community festival – by just one goal!
It could not have been closer with three teams tied at the end of the tournament, all losing just one game each.
Ninjas won by just a single goal with M&D’s second and Fareham’s Cams Chaos third.
Organiser Debbie Laycock enthused: ‘What a finish! As always, our festivals are about fun and friendly netball and I was really pleased that the finish was an exciting one.
‘Huge thanks to our awesome helpers who came up trumps yet again – volunteers are the backbone of netball, we cannot arrange events like these without them, they deserve a huge amount of praise, respect and appreciation.”
In keeping with the fun and friendly ethos, officials voted for their Best & Fairest Players of the day. Freya Wiseman (Cams Chaos) was top defender, Hayley Samson (Bluebirds) best shooter and youngster Megan Furse (M&D’s) collected the Centre Court Player of the Festival prize.
Laycock added: ‘M&D stands for mums and daughters. The mums are mostly back to netballers I have coached in one way or another from across Hampshire.
‘They have all met through their daughters playing and now it’s time for the kids to step up for a new challenge, they entered the festival altogether.
‘It says a lot about our events that they felt they could do this – I’m honoured this was the younger players first experience of ‘grown up’ netball and I really hope it was a good one.
‘I actually introduced Megan to netball through Jelly Tots so for her to get one of the Player of the Festival awards was the cherry on top.’
As well as new teams, the event welcomed Knowle Hotshots, who Laycock helped form from a Back to Netball programme in 2014.
She explained: ‘Many of the original players are still with Knowle and it’s always lovely to see them. Hotshots are near enough ever present at our festivals and it’s never the same when they can’t attend.’
Players, volunteers and supporters were invited to bring donations for a local food bank, and over 100 tins, jars, packets and boxes were collected by Lauren Broughton from the St Margaret’s Community Church Pantry in Southsea.
Laycock remarked: ‘When you bring women together you can make a difference. We are always eager to support local good causes at our events and to see Lauren’s face when she spotted our collection was really special.
‘Some of the netballers got quite emotional when I thanked them at the end and shared what a difference that collection will make to local families. We’re pleased to do our bit.’
The next Netball in the Community event is the End of Summer festival on Saturday, September 10. For more information, visit www.netballinthecommunity.com