Top row: (left to right) Linda Swain (Coach); Laura Butcher; Millie Nathan; Kate Little; Jenny Hill; Gracie Breen; Rose Cates; Jazz Latham; Louella Hodgson (Assistant Coach)
Bottom row: (left to right) Sarah McLaughlin; Juliet Tyndall; Kerri Hilton-Taylor (Captain); Harriet Lander
Hills Road Netball Team are representing the East Region in the Association of College’s National Finals in Nottingham from 21st
April 2017, after winning the East Regional tournament at Cambridge Regional College on 9th
The memories from last year's tournament came flooding back as Hills warmed up, memories of missing out on the Nationals by one goal in extra time in the final against the South East Essex College (SEEVIC). Hills were determined to not let this happen again. They started off the day well with impressive wins against Cambridge Regional College, East Norfolk and Suffolk. The semi-final was a tough match against Colchester with Hills in the lead 6-5 at half time but they knew they had to step up their game to secure a win and get to the final. Hills kept calm heads to achieve a final victory of 15-7 and a place in the final where they would face SEEVIC College from Benfleet again.
The Final Match
Hearts were thumping and palms were sweating as the Hills Road team knew what was at stake, a tremendous challenge against the daunting and very tall players of SEEVIC College. Both teams waited nervously for the whistle as the SEEVIC Centre started with ball in hand. The whistle blew and within 15 seconds, the extreme defensive pressure of Hills meant that SEEVIC made an error and Hills had a turnover ball.
The team worked together to get the ball down the court to the shooters where Jenny Hill (GS), with a level head, scored the first goal of the game. It was now Hills Road’s centre pass and due to fast, decisive movements from Jazz Latham (GA) and Gracie Breen (WA) the Hills attack were able to work the ball incredibly well into the shooting circle where Jenny increased the score to 2. More defensive pressure from Rosie Cates (WD) and incredible interceptions from Captain Kerri Hilton-Taylor (GD) meant that Hills were able to extend their lead to 6-0.
Suddenly SEEVIC began to pick up the pace as their defence tightened up and they were able to score 3 quick goals in succession. This did not phase Hills as they managed to remain calm and composed, ending the half in the lead with a score of 8-4.
The second half started much the same as the first, with Hills quickly adding a goal to their score from an outstanding long range shot from Jazz. Kate Little at goal keeper was able to dominate their goal shooter, forcing a number of errors. The game was getting heated and Sarah McLaughlin (C) was floored on a couple of occasions but quickly bounced back. The frustration levels of SEEVIC were rising; tension could be felt across the sports hall.
Kerri and Rosie played a tactical game up the court making lots of short passes. Incredible shots from Jazz meant that the defensive work to turnover balls was not put to waste. With a score of 13-6 to Hills and 2 minutes remaining, victory was within Hills grasp. Hills kept fighting right to the end and really showed their determination under immense pressure. The final whistle blew. Hills had won 15-8 displaying their best netball this year.Netball Positions: GS - Goal Shooter; GA - Goal Attack; WA - Wing Attack; C - Centre; WD - Wing Defence; GD - Goal Defence; GK - Goal Keeper