THE UNDER 12s Nambucca Valley representative netball side was playing together for the first time – and the stage couldn’t be bigger than the State Age Championships in Sydney.
The girls had been training twice a week under the guidance of Jo Simon and Cass Notley, and the ever present manager Jo Evelyn.
The Valley side was contesting Division 3 over three days – and pitted against 16 teams from all parts of the State.
With nerves and excitement mixed together, the girls put all their training to the test.
On Day One the girls played six games – winning the lot.
They thumped Eurobodalla by 25 goals, while the closest battle was with Tamworth who came within six goals of the Nambucca Valley outfit.
At the end of the day, the girls were rightly atop the division’s competition ladder.
But that early form meant the team would have a target on their backs as the ones to take down on Day Two.
Another six games awaited – and it was not going to be an armchair ride – as the fixtures included games against the teams placed fourth and third on the ladder.
The girls dug deep – as strong outfits from Muswellbrook and Great Lakes pushed hard. Nambucca Valley was staunch – defeating the former by five goals and the latter by six.
Now the pressure was really on, as Taree was the only other undefeated team.
With four games to play, the girls pushed on. They won the first three, so it was just the decider to determine who would be crowned Division 3 champions.
Playing Taree on the last day and the last game – this was to be a cracker.
And what a match it was – powerful, fast, possession gained, possession lost, ball going up and down the court, as the scoreboard ticked over. Final score: Nambucca winning 19-14.
It was a whole-of-team effort by the champions, though there were some standouts. The Valley’s big defenders Jemma, Grace, Ciara, and Paige conceded only 98 goals all weekend. The centres, Emily, Jalaara and Jess starred with fast and accurate passes. The shooters Pippa, India and Hannah slotted an amazing 304 goals over 16 games.
Huge shoutout to the supporters and the Nambucca Valley Netball Association.