REDEMPTION - 
POOLE WIN U14
GRAND FINALS

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Poole NC put the ghost of last season behind them by winning the ENG U14 YNPL Grand Finals. After such a devastating loss to Turnford NC last season the Dorset based side came into this competition to write the wrong of last season and they did just that with a superb performance through-out to lift this national netball title for the first time in their history.

 

After retaining the Southern Conference this season Poole came into to this event in good form. With players coming back from injury at just the right time and having players like Sascha Dale playing the best netball of her life, they couldn't of been in a better place to take on the challenge of winning this national netball event.

The first game started like most opening games of major tournaments, with Chester and Poole relatively even in regards to the score. Once Poole NC found their flow, they were too hot to handle for a Chester NC side competing in this event for the first time. Winning this game was meant to set up a huge semi-final with Turnford NC, but Poole were in for a shock. Grangetown NC managed to pull off a huge upset against last season's national champions and Poole had to prepare for a completely different challenge in the semi-finals.

The opening two quarters in the game against Grangetown were fairly even and Poole had to hold their nerve to stop the Middlesborough based side from getting ahead. Defensively they disrupted Grangetown and the mistakes started to pile in from midway through the third quarter and Poole finally found the breathing space to take control of the game. In the end it was a fairly comfortable win and up next was Kingsway Power.

The opening quarter in these type of events are very important because it sets the tone for the rest of the game. Poole, unlike Kingsway Power started bright and confident and weren't in no mood to allow a normally clinical and fast Kingsway Power to get ahead early doors. With such a great start the pressure was on Kingsway Power to get back into the tie, but the defensive paring of Martha and Katie was too much for the Kingsway Power shooters to handle. In what was meant to be a difficult game, Poole made it look fairly easy and ran out comfortable winners.

Redemption was the aim from last season and redemption is what Poole NC got. The devastating loss to Turnford was just reminding them of how hard they have to work to reach the pinnacle of youth netball and they didn't ignore the message. All season they have been ruthless in their approach and the performance in this competition showcased how incredible they are. The bar has been set again by Poole and the interesting thing will be whether they can replicate such a faultless season again in the 2022/23 season.

Poole NC might of been on a mission but this competition presented other teams with the chance to show they had what it takes to mix it with the best. Kingsway Power reached their third final in the space of a week and unfortunately just couldn't find that speed of play and cutting edge that gave them so much success in the league. Eagles NC gave them alot of problems and if it wasn't for some sloppy play could of easily won the game. In the final against Poole NC they just started too slow which gave them a mountain to climb and they couldn't find answer to the defensive pressure Poole put on them. 

Grangetown NC pulled off one of the big shock after winning against Turnford in a ENG classic. The game went to extra time and Grangetown scored with seconds to go, but they will be disappointed at themselves for allowing the game to get to that point. After dominating the first half in particular, they should of convincingly secured the win, but kind of got stage fright in the final quarter to allow Turnford to get the draw in regular time. They did get the win though and presented Poole with their toughest challenge of the day, before finally succumbing to the Dorset side who were relentless through-out. To cap off a great day for North East giants they won the 3rd/4th play-off game to win the bronze medal and secure their highest ever finish at a major ENG national netball competition.

Eagles NC secured a 4th place finish after a mini redemption of their own after defeating Ellesmere Port in the quarter finals to get revenge for the quarter final defeat to the same last season. Disappointment for Turnford who lost their opening game but showed character to secure the 5th place finish in the end. CD Phoenix and Ellesmere Port dropped down positions from last season with Chester NC taking on some tough sides to finish in 8th.

A tough event which comes with alot of tension and expectation. The match play on show was incredible for this level and it was a privilege to watch such talented athletes compete in such a intense environment with such maturity.

Well done to Poole though they put to bed the ghost of last season and are officially the No.1 U14 team in the country.

Awards:

1st: Poole NC

2nd: Kingsway Power

3rd: Grangetown NC

4th: Eagles NC

MVP: Martha Vujicic (Poole NC)