Netball is one of the University of Exeter's focus sports.

Back row left to right: Ashleigh Jay, Yasmin Hodge-England, Lydia Regis, Clare Jones, Rhian Bethell, Ruth Wintle, Ella Langford

Front row left to right: Rachael Smith, Amy Derham, Nicky Savill, Bethan Zeidler

EUNC face home nations friendlies

Following an incredibly successful season, the University of Exeter Netball Club (EUNC) are relishing the opportunity to play top international sides. The squad who will face Wales U21 on 14 April have already been tested by Scotland who invited them to a friendly on 7 April.

The student side travelled to Bath Sports Training Village for the match which was used as part of Scotland’s World Youth Championship preparation. The teams played a conventional four quarter game, with two additional ten minute halves allowing both sides extra time to experiment with new players and formations.

A strong start from the University, saw them lead going into the second half, Scotland, however, were able to overhaul the difference, winning 61 – 39. Despite missing out on victory, Exeter’s Vice Captain Nicky Savil was impressed by the University’s performance against such a high calibre opponent.

She said “It was a huge privilege to be asked to play an international side, an offer we simply couldn’t refuse. We all very much appreciated the experience and demonstrated we can compete against international sides. The girls will take some valuable lessons from the game and hopefully put them into play for our four remaining regional league games.”

The Exeter side have continued to make a huge impression in University netball and, despite only being promoted two seasons ago, finished a fantastic third in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier South 2012 / 2013 league.

The team also heads the South West Regional Two league, with a game in hand, and are thirsty for promotion.

High Performance Netball Manager Charlotte Hale lauded the team’s achievements. She said: “It’s been a fantastic season for us and the girls have been working incredibly well together. We are in a strong position with only four games left in the season but have some tough matches ahead of us and cannot afford to lose focus.  If we continue to display the cohesion and determination that has been present all season we will be serious contenders for promotion.”

First team captain Clare Jones added: “It is evident Exeter University first team has had an extraordinary journey so far. The team has displayed a great deal of perseverance, willingness, determination and enthusiasm. Each individual not only works hard for themselves, but for their coaches and each other. The team has demonstrated that hard work really does pay off. The most exciting prospect is that this is just the beginning of a great platform for what we can go onto achieve.”

The next big challenge for the squad will be their friendly against Wales U21 on 14 April. A former Wales international herself, manager Charlotte appreciates the value of these matches. She concluded: “Wales are a great side with some real talent so this will be another brilliant opportunity to try out new ideas and test ourselves against a top level opponent. We have taken a lot away from our match against Scotland and are all incredibly excited by this new challenge.”

Date: 10 April 2013