Looking back at 2016 – Competitions!

England Netball has a vast array of competitions and 2016 made no exception!

The Competition and Events department aims to promote and encourage the game of netball amongst all our members.

Ranging from the highest level of adult club competition in the country, through to age-group and inclusive tournaments, there’s something going on throughout the year for all ages and levels encouraging juniors and mass participation amongst the sport.

Premier League 2015/16

The Premier League has been running since the 2006/2007 season and for the 2010/2011 season the league was expanded with the introduction of Division 3.

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Premier League Netball is the highest level of club netball in the country and the teams that make up the three divisions have come through a gruelling county, regional and national pathway to take one of the 30 coveted places.

Competition is fierce at this level and 2015/16 was no exception with Academy Netball Club taking the spoils in Premier League 1 after an incredibly tough season with Oldham and The Downs as their closest competition respectively.

In Premier League 2, it was Tameside who finished top and after a play-off weekend in Sheffield, Worcester Reds joined them in the top flight for 2016/17.

Linden and Chester were promoted out of Premier League 3 into the second division.

After playoffs on the 14th and 15th May at the English Institute of Sport, none of the teams battling to keep their places managed to maintain Premier League status.

In their place, three regional clubs Billericay, Charnwood Sapphires and Grangetown stepped up to the next level.

The 2016/17 season all kicked off in September and the first half of the season has been packed with fantastic, competitive netball.

You can look here for the results so far and latest standings.

Netball Performance League 2016

The 2016 Netball Performance League consisted of 10 teams of players aged between 14 and 19, who were selected to represent the Youth squads of the eight Vitality Netball Superleague franchises or either the South or West Midlands region.

The season involved each team playing each other once, with Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm, both winning every game until they met each other in Round 9.

What a game it was! Thunder edged out their closest rivals by just one goal 48-47 at the Surrey Sports Park, breaking Storm hearts.

This win all but sealed Thunder’s unprecedented fifth NPL title in a row, with Surrey Storm finishing second and Yorkshire Jets third.

NPL/NPFL Competition

The NPL season finished in late April, with all teams then working towards the NPL and Netball Performance Foundation League (NPFL) Competition in July from the 22nd-24th.

An amazing weekend of closely fought competition culminated in two fantastic final games in Loughborough.

Some of the most exciting young netballers in the country took to court in the NPFL tournament.

The showpiece final was between the London and South-East and North-West regions where the southern side managed to pull away from their northern rivals to take the title with a 33-24 win.

The NPL competition also didn’t disappoint with Vitality Netball Superleague stars of the future showing the crowd their potential.

Manchester Thunder and Hertfordshire Mavericks put out undeniable displays as they both won all of their group games.

Both teams also won their semis to set up an agonisingly close final which Mavericks took 48-47.

The third versus fourth play-off saw Surrey Storm beat Yorkshire Jets 38-36 in another fantastic and competitive game!

U21 September Showdown

Manchester Thunder were crowned U21 September Showdown champions as they saw off fierce challenges from Surrey Storm and Team Bath to take the title at the University of Worcester.

A brand new competition saw six Vitality Netball Superleague clubs joined by regional side, West Midlands Warriors, and a University of Worcester Select team for four days of action.

Days one and two saw the eight sides split into two groups (won by Manchester Thunder and Team Bath respectively) – the top two sides from each group would progress to the semi-final stage on day three.

The match of the tournament was saved for the 3rd place play-off on the final day as extra-time was required to separate Hertfordshire Mavericks and Surrey Storm.

A good opening quarter saw Mavs take a goal five goal advantage. The girls in duck-egg blue reduced the deficit to two goals at the half-time break.

With fifteen minutes to go, the comeback was complete as Storm moved a single goal ahead but a resilient Mavericks held their nerve and after an hour the teams were locked at 45-45.

Extra-time was entered and at the midway point of the additional time, Storm had edged into a two goal lead. Mavericks attempted to fight back but Storm ruthlessly saw the game out 58-51.

Fittingly, the two table toppers met in the final on Sunday afternoon. Inspired by a phenomenal shooting performance from Amy Clinton, who netted 41 from 45 attempts at 91%, Thunder produced a scintillating display to defeat Team Bath 56-39.

National Schools

National Schools is the biggest schools competition in the netball calendar!

The competition consists of three age groups; U14, U16 & U19 with schools finishing as winners or runners up in each age group progressing through to the next stage of the competition all the way through to nationals.

The 2016 National Schools Finals were held on the picturesque Brighton seafront at Roedean School on the 19th March 2016.

The competition was well-fought with families and teachers pitching up tents to set up a base from which to cheer on their girls for the day.

The U14 competition finished with Berkhamsted School beating Guildford High 10-6 in the final and Millfield beat St Edmunds College into third position, winning 11-5 against St Edmunds College.

After a tough day for anyone that came up against Grammar School at Leeds in the U16 age group, they beat Oldham Hulme Grammar 10-4 in the final to take the crown.

It was a slightly closer contest between Aylesbury High and Wirral Grammar in the third place play-off as Aylesbury came through 13-9 winners.

The final of the U19 competition was a thrilling encounter between Beaconsfield High and Grammar School at Leeds with Grammar School at Leeds edging out their rivals 10-9.

The third place play-off was a fantastic display from Fallibroome Academy as they beat Brighton College 16-4.

National U14 Club Finals

The National Clubs U14 Finals brings together the top 18 teams in the U14 age category from across the country.

The 18 teams consist of the winners and runners up from the nine regional competitions that take place throughout the season.

This year’s National Clubs U14 Finals took place on 28th and 29th May 2016, at Redbridge Sports Centre in Essex.

Showcasing the incredible talent we have in this country from such a young age, Tameside won yet another brilliant final this year against YWCA Bury 20-19.

National U16 Club Finals

This year’s National Clubs U16 Finals took place on 30th April and 1st May, at Sport Central, University of Northumberland, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

You may feel like you’ve got a case of déjà vu reading this next result but yes, Tameside won the U16 competition, beating YWCA Bury 20-19!

Tameside’s U16’s paved the way for their younger colleagues, showing them exactly what they needed to do later that month.

In the third place play off, Telstars managed a two-goal victory (28-26) against Leeds Athletic.

16-19 Open

This is a competition launched by England Netball, specifically for 16-19 year olds.

The 16-19 Netball Open 2016 took place at Redbridge Sports Centre, Barkingside on 2nd July where the competition was spilt into three for the final stage.

The main competition was won by Clan Red – they won all five of their games in the final stage, including beating last year champions Weston Park Blades (8-4).

Weston Park Blades picked up the silver medal with Turnford taking 3rd place.

The Challenge Cup was won by Telstars who also won all their matches. The plate was won by Brigg who had four convincing wins.

Marion Smith Open

The annual Marion Smith Competition was held on Saturday 11th June 2016 at Derby Arena with the players treated to an interesting venue – three courts in the middle of a cycling track!

This tournament is a netball competition for people with an intellectual disability. England Netball were delighted to be working in partnership with Special Olympics GB and the tournament was sponsored by FAST Ambulance.

England Superstar Sasha Corbin put huge smiles on faces as she attended on the day, took coaching sessions and answered questions.

The teams were full of fabulously talented players with an array of successful long shots and creative passing keeping the crowd entertained.

In the over 16s section, first place went to EPCN Dynamo’s and in the under 16s category Friar’s Academy had another successful year!

What a year it’s been for netball competition all across the country in 2016 – long may it continue and here’s to learning about more fantastic new talent in 2017!

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