At the weekend, Surrey Storm were crowned the 2016/17 NPL U19 champions after inflicting a rare defeat on holders Manchester Thunder.
As expected, it was a classic encounter which saw Storm take a 48-43 victory at Loughborough University.
It was the first time in seven seasons that Thunder had failed to lift the trophy.
Storm got off to the better start and opened up a five goal after fifteen minutes. Thunder responded well in the second quarter, reducing the gap to just one, 27-26 by the half-time break.
Momentum quickly swung back to Storm after the interval as they re-opened a seven goal advantage. Back came the girls in black and yellow to reduce the gap to 39-35 heading into the final quarter.
Despite some excellent spirit from the title holders, Storm were determined to capture the crown and resolutely held on for the victory.
Wasps Netball took third place after they battled back from a 13-19 half-time deficit to eventually conquer Hertfordshire Mavericks, 37-35.
The 2016/17 season introduced a brand new competition format which saw teams spilt into North and South Groups who played a single round robin.
The team that finished first automatically qualified for the semi-finals with second and third teams in each group playing an elimination match for the remaining place in the semi-finals.
All teams that finished outside the semi-final places then played a final placing match.
The eventual finalists, Thunder and Storm both finished top of the groups and claimed the automatic semi-final places.
The North Elimination match was contested by Yorkshire who finished second in the North group and Wasps Netball who finished third.
It was a tightly contested match with Wasps leading by one at the end of the first quarter. By half-time Wasps had taken a six goal lead.
Yorkshire reduced this to four goals by the end of the third quarter and narrowed the gap to just two in the final few minutes but Wasps were able to hold on for a 47-45 win.
The South Elimination match was contested between London Pulse who finished second in the South group and Hertfordshire Mavericks who finished third. Mavericks got off to an impressive start leading by eight at the end of the first quarter.
Defensive turnovers and great shooting from Pulse saw the gap reduce to five at the interval. Mavericks came out strong and managed to regain their eight goal lead to finally win the match, 43-51.
The semi-final and placing matches had been confirmed and all were played at Loughborough University.
- Semi Final 1: Manchester Thunder v Hertfordshire Mavericks
- Semi Final 2: Surrey Storm v Wasps Netball
- 5th/6th Play-off: Yorkshire v London Pulse
- 7th /8th Play-off: Team Bath v Loughborough Lighting
- 9th / 10th Play-off: Severn Stars v Team Northumbria
Both Semi-finals were really tight and the scores were level at the end of the third quarter.
Thunder pulled ahead into a five goal lead in the fourth quarter and won the first semi-final 46-41.
Surrey Storm v Wasps continued to go goal for goal with Storm leaving it late to secure their place in the final by a single goal, 51-50 at the final whistle.
The final placing results were:
- Yorkshire & Humberside 44-46 London Pulse
- Team Bath 36-41 Loughborough Lightning
- Severn Stars 53-60 Team Northumbria
Final standings for the 2016/17 NPL U19 Competition:
|1st Place||Surrey Storm|
|2nd Place||Manchester Thunder|
|3rd Place||Wasps Netball|
|4th Place||Hertfordshire Mavericks|
|5th Place||London Pulse|
|6th Place||Yorkshire Youth|
|7th Place||Loughborough Lightning|
|8th Place||Team Bath|
|9th Place||Team Northumbria|
|10th Place||Severn Stars|