A remarkable 16th consecutive Netball Europe U17 title was secured by England’s youngsters at Worcester University Arena on Sunday afternoon following three days of fierce competition.
The host nation were firm favourites heading into the tournament and they delivered a trio resounding victories to once again engrave their name on the trophy. It was a real battle at times as the teams from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales attempted to dethrone their illustrious opponents.
However, in the end the quality displayed from the England girls saw them run out deserved winners. Wales finished the competition as runners-up with Scotland in third and Northern Ireland in fourth spot.
First up on Friday for the home side was a fixture against Northern Ireland and they were very quick to blow away any cobwebs with a dominant display, the attacking third was joyous to watch. Backed up by some excellent and stern defence the only slight disappointment for the England fans in attendance was that the team fell just short of the magical three figure mark, sealing a 98-17 victory.
On day two it was the chance to re-ignite an old sporting rivalry as England met Scotland. The visitors secured a very impressive win over Wales on the opening day of the tournament as the two unbeaten sides clashed.
An incredibly impressive and vocal support had travelled south for Scotland and they were getting behind their team who responded with a passionate display. Once again though the English defensive wall was in imperious form and the movement of ball through mid-court ensured that chances were created at a tremendous rate. A 78-23 win underlined the fine work on court.
The title was not yet secured heading into the final day as Wales managed to overcome Northern Ireland in Saturday’s other match in the Championship Section and, with a large margin reverse, could still mathematically overtake the reigning champions.
It was the closest match that England were involved in throughout the weekend as an energetic Welsh team closed down space and hurried the home side into some early errors. As the game progressed England were able to find their rhythm and eventually pulled clear with the attack firing once more in a 74-24 success.
Over the weekend the U17 England team had managed to net an incredible 250 goals and concede on a miserly 64 occasions. The Player of the Championship was awarded to Northern Ireland’s Rachel Moore.
More than 1,000 spectators made their way to West Midlands over the weekend to take in the action and it has to be mentioned the support for all of the competing nations was fabulous. A special mention goes to the cow-bell jiggering of the Swiss fans as they cheered on their side in the Invitation Section.
England Netball would like to thank all of the umpires and volunteers for their fantastic work on making the event a success. We would also like to extend our congratulations on all of the competing athletes and coaches for a terrific three days of competition.
The victorious Netball Europe U17 England squad were: Amy Clinton, Taylor Cullen, Rhea Dixon, George Fisher, Brie Grierson, Rebecca Hoult, Laura Morton, Ellie Newman, Vicki Oyesola, Jaydene Robinson, Iman Thomas, Francesca Williams