State Netball Championship glory for mighty Port Stephens Under 17s representative squad

Port Stephens Netball Association’s emerging 17yrs and 15yrs representative squads tasted success at the recent State Senior Netball titles in Sydney.

GOOD things come to those who wait is a motto that resonates with the youth brigade at Port Stephens Netball.

Five years after tasting title success at the annual Netball NSW State Carnival, the regional association is celebrating yet another impressive milestone.

Keen netball judges are lauding the achievements of both the Port Stephens 17yrs and 15yrs representative teams that performed with distinction at the recent State Senior Netball Championships in Sydney.

Emma Penfold’s talented Under 17 years line up produced outstanding team displays to bring home the State Division Four trophy while Nadine Marsh and Jessica Rumbel guided the Under 15s to a top three finish in the Division Four category for a second successive campaign.

This is a massive feat for the region and great fillip for the small Port Stephens association that demonstrated skill, sportsmanship and spirit in bucket loads throughout the carnival.

“Both squads deserve recognition for their efforts and produced outstanding netball over the three days,” a delighted Port Stephens Representative Convenor Sam Rumbel told News Of The Area.

“The resilience and never die attitude was shown every time they took the court representing our association with pride,” beamed the long-serving official who has coordinated the representative program for the past nine seasons.

“All the hard work, commitment at training and carnivals was shown by both squads throughout the weekend with the 17s finishing day three on an undefeated note,” quipped the decorated life member.

“Our 15s had a never-say-die attitude and posted twelve wins and two draws from their seventeen matches and left everything on the court,” she added.

Under head coach Marsh and assistant Jessica Rumbel, the 15s finished a gallant third – narrowly missing out on a Netball NSW top two patch.

Port Stephens’ championship-winning 17s chalked up fifteen victories and three losses from their eighteen fixtures to top the standings on 30 points on a countback from Temora (30) followed by Yass (29).

For talented goal shooter Sophie Banister it was a second State title, having played a role in Port Stephens’ triumphant Under 12yrs Division Four squad back in 2019.

Successful coach Penfold and team manager Brooke Smith praised the 17s squad on their tenacity, durability and skill.

The squad recorded wins over Casino (18-9), Woolgoolga (14-10), Blayney (14-12), Singleton (20-8), Yass (18-16), Gloucester (32-11), Tumut (23-9), Lower Clarence (16-11), Brunswick (27-11), Armidale (20-13). Griffith (21-5), Wollondilly (12-1), Parkes (24-5), West Wyalong (20-10) and Cowra (26-15).

The only blemish was three narrow losses to runners up Temora (21-15), Narrabri (15-14) and Sapphire Coast (15-13) during an arduous long weekend schedule.

Hard working Port Stephens executive committee member Maddy Turner proved a valuable assistant throughout the carnival.

Port Stephens’ championship-winning 17yrs squad featured Sophie Banister, Bronte Micheli, Lainey Blake, Asha Collins, Tara Kenny, Lily Peters, Caitlin Scanes, Ella Walmsley, Bronte Bohan and Holly Smith.

The emerging 15yrs line up included Sarah Byrne, Madalene Connolly, Emily Crain, Isla Forster, Lilia Frize, Amelia Gill, Laura Moir, Evie Oswell, Caitlin Porter and Blair Vorenkamp.

They registered victories over Blayney (12-10), Armidale (14-3), Gunnedah (15-3), Cowra (17-12), Nelson Bay (15-12), Tamworth (10-9), Muswellbrook (24-2), Tumut (17-8), Wollondilly (19-6), Brunswick (26-3), Scone (14-8) and Narrabri (34-3) plus draws with Casino (10-all) and runners up Sapphire Coast (13-all)

The team’s only losses were to eventual champions Quirindi (21-13) and Inverell (13-10) – a testimony of the squad’s fortitude and skill level throughout the tournament.

By Chris KARAS

Jubilant Under 17 Port Stephens netballers celebrate their Division Four championship triumph at the 2024 State Senior Netball titles.

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