Top performances from Nelson Bay netballers at State Senior championships

Nelson Bay’s talented Opens representative netball squad finished eighth at the recent Netball NSW State Senior Division Two titles in Sydney.

THEY couldn’t replicate their State Netball championship winning heroics from the previous season but Nelson Bay’s Open representative team can hold their heads high after spirited showings at the recent Netball NSW Senior Titles in Sydney.

A serious knee injury sustained by talented centre Ashlee Hall soured the Bay’s Open Division Two campaign that concluded with an eighth place ranking and tally of eleven victories from their seventeen fixtures completed.

In a savage blow, the skilful Hall ruptured her ACL early in the carnival and was sorely missed.

Once again the inspirational mother-daughter coaching combination of Amanda and Taylar Wilks came to the fore as Nelson Bay reeled off seven consecutive wins including a courageous 15-13 triumph over eventual champions Hawkesbury City at Narellan Sports Hub.

Player-coach Taylar led the way on and off court with mum Amanda, the long serving Nelson Bay representative convenor, taking on an assistant mentoring role that proved invaluable.

“After the Division Three State title success last year the girls stepped up a grade and were competitive to the end,” a proud Amanda told News Of The Area.

“To lose a key player like Ashlee made our task more difficult and had a marked effect on her teammates who managed to battle on courageously and string together some crucial wins,” reflected Wilks senior.

“Ashlee is highly regarded in the region as a skilful player and innovative junior coach who devotes much of her spare time to fostering grassroots netball,” Amanda added.

Nelson Bay also chalked up wins over Quirindi (16-6), Westlakes (19-11), Great Lakes (14-7), Tamworth (23-16), Lakeside (17-7), Sapphire Coast (15-10), Manning Valley (15-9), Ballina (19-3), Blue Mountains (23-6) and Hastings Valley (11-8).

Their only losses were to second placed Blacktown City (16-13), third placed Woolgoolga District (17-8), fourth placed Nambucca Valley (18-12), fifth placed South Gungahlin (17-14), Coffs Harbour (13-11) and ADF (13-5).

Nelson Bay’s Open squad was managed by Michele Chadwick and featured Sienna Burrows, Ashleigh Martin, Emma Dawson, Ella Jones, Lucy Levido, Ashlee Hall, Jilarnie Ahoy, Katie Schein, Ruby Gardner and Mikaela Burrows.

In encouraging signs for the future the Nelson Bay 15yrs representative team produced outstanding displays to finish fourth in the Division Four category.

Fiona McGrath’s talented charges registered thirteen victories from their sixteen matches to finish on 26 points behind eventual champions Quirindi (30 points), runners up Sapphire Coast (27) and third placed neighbours Port Stephens (26).

A highlight was the 13-10 triumph over tournament winners Quirindi that underlined the high skill level, tenacity and commitment in the emerging squad.

Nelson Bay were the only club to defeat Quirindi during the three day carnival.

They also posted wins over Wollondilly (11-1), Brunswick Byron (20-7), Sapphire Coast (12-10), Scone (14-8), Narrabri (15-7), Blayney & District (17-12), Armidale (15-9), Gunnedah (15-7), Cowra (21-13), Tamworth (14-9), Muswellbrook (24-3) and Inverell (16-15).

The only blemishes were narrow losses to Tumut (19-18), Port Stephens (15-12) and Casino (9-7).

Coach McGrath and team manager Michelle Weber believe the girls lifted to pay homage to assistant coach Ashlee Hall after she tore her ACL while playing in the Opens division.

Nelson Bay’s outstanding 15 years squad featured Isla Foster, Chelsea Johnson, Melody Tibbs, Anneliese Jones, Poppy McGrath, Amber Redman, Charlize Vines, Charli Ball, Kate Slade and Sophia Akbal.

By Chris KARAS

Nelson Bay’s emerging 15yrs netball team finished a creditable fourth at the State Senior Division 4 championships.

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