Youngsport: Hucclecote reach final of netball tournament in Jersey
Hucclecote Under-14 netballers were narrowly beaten in the final of Jersey's annual tournament.
They were defeated 18-15 by Essex after putting on a strong display of exciting netball throughout the contest.
Having only ever played in the local Gloucestershire League, coach Gilly Salter wanted them to gain experience playing much tougher opposition as they prepare to go to regional play-off rounds on March 10.
Jersey certainly provided what was needed with an exceptionally high standard of teams entering.
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Saturday saw five games played and they secured three wins: against Guernsey Panthers 17-4, Jersey Jets 12-11 and Jersey Under-13s, 9-8.
Essex Open Under-14s and last year's finalists proved to be another tough game but Hucclecote dug deep and managed to secure a draw at 12-12 each.
Their final game against Essex Under-13s saw their first lost by 13-10.
On Sunday, their first game against an Exeter Under-13 side saw strong attacking movement from Milly Boorman who fed the shooters well enabling the them to score 13 goals in the first half .
With fresh players Jess Brown and Eve Saunders also on in defence for this game, Exeter struggled to penetrate through this tight marking unit and with Hannah Jordan taking control at Centre Hucclecote notched up the much needed five points, winning 20-8.
With the board showing four teams still in contention for the semi-final play-offs Hucclecote had it all to go for.
Exeter A squad had a better goal difference so Cote knew they would have to up their game to take the win.
This performance proved one of Hucclecote most outstanding games, with Jayne Taylor at just 12 years of age in great form.
Beth Adkins and Holly Tyler fed some fantastic feeds through to Taylor and Lucy Martin who is also a year young produced outstanding form.
Defensively the partnership between Lily Lovell and Captain Caitlin Santacroce grew over the weekend and their performance completely destroyed Exeter's shooting consistency with Hucclecote running away as winners 17-6 putting them through to the semi-finals.
Facing Jersey Under-14s for the second time Hucclecote started nervously however it wasn't long before Adkins, Tyler, Taylor and Martin started to steal the show.
One change saw Jordan switched and Zi Wu onto WD and her quick marking and long range instantly made an impact and with the Jersey crowd left speechless.
Hucclecote produced a slick and citing performance wining 19-8 putting them through to the final against Essex Open.
The final saw Essex get the upper hand initially and with nerves showing , particularly in the attacking end Hucclecote were slow off the block and found themselves 4 -1 down in the first few minutes.
Hucclecote got back into the game and clawed it back to five each before Essex hit hard again taking a rally of goals to lead by 11-6 at half time.
The second half went more in Hucclecote's favour and suddenly with the shooting on song by Taylor and Martin and with the centre court working hard the gap began to close again. Essex though were not prepared to let it go and with the young sibling of ex-Hucclecote player Rosé Morgan Smith (Issabelle) producing an awesome display at GA for Essex , no matter how hard the defence end worked the gap whilst reducing saw the clock ticking down.
Adkins and Tyler once again put in some amazing feeds but it was Essex who took then title winning by just 3 goals 18-15
Hucclecote now look forward with confidence to attending the regional finals in two weeks time.