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ACES IN SEVENTH HEAVEN AFTER THEIR WIN OVER TAMESIDE

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The ENG U13 YNPL Championship Finals, a momentous occasion in the realm of youth sports, took place at the esteemed Oxstalls Arena in Gloucester on May 11th & 12th. This event marked a significant milestone for numerous clubs, propelling them closer to the highly coveted YNPL Grand Finals.

Quarter Finals

Aces entered the competition in exceptional form after a run of four wins in a row in the Southern League that saw them move out of the relegation zone into the top six. They took on the highly fancied Manchester Wildcats, who had shown incredible potential throughout the season, pushing the best teams in the Northern League. The Wildcats got the better start, but the Aces led after the first quarter. What was tipped to be one of the games of the competition didn't materialise due to the Aces playing superbly to take a significant advantage into halftime. After halftime, the Wildcats couldn't find an answer to stop the lethal Aces attack, and the Aces made it five wins in a row and were into the semi-finals.

 

Starz were tipped to win their game against Chorley Inferno but never managed to get going. Even though the score was close throughout, Starz struggled to implement their dominance in the match. Chorley Inferno put the game to bed in the final quarter with some fantastic attacking play to march into the semi-finals. Ellesmere Port were incredible against Ryland in their quarter-final tie. What looked like a tricky game on paper didn't reflect the game. From the first quarter, Ellesmere Port was dominant and in complete control, and they went on to get a comfortable win. Tameside joined Ellesmere Por in the semi-finals after their win over Little Sutton. It wasn't a straightforward win, and it took Tameside up until midway through the third quarter to get ahead after it was a draw. Once they got ahead, they won the game convincingly.

Results

Aces NC (30) Vs Manchester Wildcats (20)

Starz NC (16) Vs Chorley Inferno (25)

Ellesmere Port (26) Vs Ryland (16)

Tameside (23) Vs Little Sutton (17)

 

Semi-Finals

The Aces took on Chorley in the first semi-final, and it was a close game. Aces started well and were 7-4 up in the second quarter. Chorley began to chip away at the small Aces lead in the second quarter, and they briefly went ahead. Aces composed themselves to maintain their lead at halftime, the score 15-11. In the third quarter, once again, Chorley found themselves drawing the game and just missed out on the chance of going into the final quarter on level terms, but their shooter missed a crucial shot at the buzzer. The final quarter was set to be a blockbuster, with only one point separating the teams.

 

The game between Ellesmere Port and Tameside was similar to the other semi-final. It started relatively close but had a competitive edge that fizzled out at halftime. Ellesmere will be frustrated because it had the better start, but after time, Tameside punched through the gears to set up an intriguing final against a super-confident Aces side.

 

Results

Tameside (30) Vs Ellesmere Port (23)

Aces NC (26) Vs Chorley Inferno (21)

 

5th-8th Play-Offs

Manchester Wildcats (29) Vs Starz NC (20)

Ryland NC (27) Vs Little Sutton (19)

 

3rd-4th Play-Off

Ellesmere Port finished the season with a positive result against Chorley Inferno. Their dominant performance saw them secure third place and finish the season positively after an indifferent set of results throughout the season.

 

Result

Ellesmere Port (30) Vs Chorley Inferno (17)

 

Final

The last time this set of coaches met was in our U16 Netball Cup competition in 2019. Back then, Tameside got the better of Aces in a classic encounter. This time, revenge was on the cards in a very evenly matched final on paper.

 

This match-up was about whether the Aces could maximize their superb attacking play or whether Tameside could defend against the constant flow of feeds coming into the tall Aces shooter. Both sides started the game well, with fantastic through-court play that was not disrupted by either defence. Aces took a slender lead into the second quarter, and the play pattern continued. A crucial moment in the second quarter was a buzzer-shot goal by the Aces shooter, which meant the Aces took a two-goal lead into the third quarter. In the third quarter, the Tameside attack could have been more clinical, and some slightly rushed plays down the court were either turned over or went out of play. This allowed Aces to build a healthy lead going into the final quarter. With eight minutes to go, Tameside sensed they had to start the game fast to give themselves a chance of success, and that's precisely what they did. They managed to bring the score back to two points, and suddenly, the pressure was on Aces. With the momentum on the side of Tameside, Aces had to stabilise themselves fast, and once again, the calmness and composure of their attack managed to revert to what had been working throughout the game. The feeds into the circle once again became more clinical, and the execution was faultless as Aces pulled away once again to secure the win and become our first-ever U13 YNPL Championship Final National Champions after an incredible run of seven wins in a row.

 

Result

Aces (27) Vs Tameside (22)

 

7th-8th Play-Off

Little Suton (24) Vs Starz (16)

 

5th-6th Play-Off

Ryland (28) Vs Manchester Wildcats (16)

 

MVP: Brihanna Gushman (Aces)

All-Stars: Eva Thorpe (Ryland NC), Rosa Makin (Chorley Inferno), Poppy Dyson (Tameside NC), Nia Ofuyaekpone-Shombe (Aces NC), Erin Dunn (EP Netball), Aliyah Garland (Little Sutton), Lola Dean (MNC Wildcats), Mia Hanham (Starz NC)

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