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Christina (left) and Hannah (right) in action for Team Bath NPL U21 at the NPL tournament

Exeter represented at Netball Performance League (NPL) tournament

University of Exeter Netball Club (EUNC) and Exeter Netball Club (ENC) represented at Netball Performance League (NPL) tournament for the first time this year.

England Netball ran a final NPL tournament weekend at the University of Nottingham from 24th-27th August 2017 across 3 age groups U17, U19 and U21, with a number of EUNC and ENC players named amongst the squads.

Sports Scholars and current EUNC and ENC Regional 1 squad members Christina Shaw and Hannah Blackman alongside ENC Hannah Barnes represented the Team Bath U21 side, with Maisie Sharp named as a training partner. The partnership between ENC and EUNC continues to flourish, with 2 ENC representatives in the Team Bath U17s side (Rachel Fee and Sophie Ewin) as well as Lauren Wood in the U19s side.  Many of these will join forces to represent Exeter Netball Club Regional 1 side in the Netball South West top tier of competition, providing an additional high level competitive outlet for University netball High Performance athletes.

The Team Bath U21 side were up against a number of quality sides with England U21 players and Vitality Netball Superleague players on show across the franchises. Bath faced Loughborough Lightning, Hertfordshire Mavericks, Wasps, Team Northumbria and Surrey Storm in the pool stages. Taking wins against Team Northumbria and Surrey Storm, Bath met a strong Mavericks side in the semi-final and despite having a good contest in a tight game at three quarter time Mavericks came out the winners with a 49-34 victory.

The fight for 3rd place was on and Bath met Wasps in the 3rd/4th place playoff despite an improved performance against Wasps compared to the initial pool stages Bath eventually lost out 46-64 finishing 4th overall.

Having faced the England U21 defensive duo twice in the competition when playing against Mavericks, University of Exeter Sports Scholar Hannah Blackman commented “It was an amazing opportunity to experience a High Performance tournament. It was a challenge but great to be able to play against such high quality players consistently over 4 days. I felt my performance really improved throughout the duration of the tournament”.

Reflecting on her involvement with Team Bath across the season, University of Exeter Sports Scholar Christina added “Playing two matches, each an hour long, a day was challenging but ultimately being able to achieve a 4th place position in the end made it worth it. Many of our opponents had Super League players which helped develop my game as an individual as well as improving our performance as a squad. The management team were fantastic and being coached by Exeter Netball Club coach Denise Ellis was a privilege”.

The EUNC High Performance athletes now begin their pre-season in preparation for BUCS and look forward to the Netball South West pre-season tournament on Sunday 10th September representing ENC as part of this. 

Date: 31 August 2017