Severn Stars’ youngest recruits have made an impressive debut at a major contest.
The Under 17s team competed in the England Netball Under-17 National Performance League Tournament in Nottingham, coming 7th overall out of 12 teams.
The four-day tournament in Nottingham saw the development side of Severn Stars, a franchise partnership between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, competing against a number of youth sides, including those from the professional side’s Superleague rivals.
Players selected were Harriet Sanderson, 15, Tee Cowley, 16, Felicity Elvidge, 16, Isabella Robinson, 17, Alex Baird, 15, Katie Cruickshank, 16, Jane Taylor, 16, Beth Gabriel, 16, Katie White, 17, Summer Knight, 15, Darcey Scott, 15, and Chloe Carchrie, 16, who are from across the Midlands, South and South West.
Despite long gaps between their matches, the team, who have had only had four weeks to train since forming, managed to stay focused and work hard on improving game to game.
Impressive wins against Wasps (39-26), Team Northumbria (35-31) and Loughborough (50-27), saw Severn Stars excel in the early stages, leaving them equal second position in their section of the tournament, but a narrow defeat to London Pulse 31-28 and draw with Hertfordshire Mavericks put them just outside the top positions. They narrowly lost out on a place in the semi-final to Mavericks on goal average.
In the play-offs for 5th to 8th place, they lost to Team Bath 36-30, but responded to that defeat by going on to end the tournament on a high, beating Wasps a second time 43-19 to clinch 7th.
Gilly Salter, Severn Stars Under 17 Head Coach, said: “This squad have amazing talent and were so close to gaining a semi-final place. All 12 members were motivated and worked hard together to support one another on and off the court. I am very proud of the way they have all conducted themselves throughout putting the Severn Stars name out there as a top contender.”
Severn Stars will now be running five Nova Academies for under 17s from September in educational centres throughout the region as it looks to develop a pool of young talent and to prepare for next years’ Under 17 competition. Each education centre will host a Nova Academy, providing talented Under-17 players with weekly training sessions, strength and conditioning programmes and provision, high level technical training, as well as sports therapy and off-court support. Players attending the Nova Academies will be working towards competing in the Severn Stars Under-17 National Performance League team and, beyond that, the Under-19, Under-21 and professional side.
Image credit: Andrew Taylor