LEGENDARY STATUS CONFIRMED
Poole Diamonds capped a great end to 2023 after being crowned the ENG U16 Netball Cup National Champions. After winning their regional heat they battled their way through a tough group and some tricky knock-out games to win their third national title since competing within ENG's netball structures since 2019. This win also meant they have qualified for our ENG Netball Super Cup game in Belfast.
The group got underway with MK Dons winning 8-4 against a Sutton Town B side that had players as young as thirteen in the side. Magic NC who won the Eastern Finals played out a fantastic game against Nottingham City which showcased the competitive nature of the group. The game was goal for goal until Magic managed to creep in front in the final seconds to take the win 7-6.
Nottingham City were once again involved in a tight affair, this time against Aces NC. Once again the game was like a chess game with each side counteracting each others moves, but once again Nottingham City failed to land the killer shot, which meant they once again just lost out, this time it was a 8-6 defeat.
As we moved through the games Magic NC won another intense encounter against MK Dons this time and Aces NC were in good form winning their games quite convincingly. Once again Nottingham City played in a tight game, but once again couldn't find the win, losing 8-6 to MK Dons.
As we came to the final games, MK Dons were safely through to the quarter finals along with Magic NC and Aces NC who played each other to see who would come top of the group, which Magic won 10-6. There was also a win finally for Nottingham City against Little Sutton B, which meant they finished fourth in the group and in theory had an easier opponent in the quarter final play-off game.
MK Dons (8) Vs Little Sutton B (4)
Magic NC (7) Vs Nottingham City (7)
Nottingham City (6) Vs Aces NC (8)
Magic NC (11) Vs MK Dons (9)
Little Sutton B (2) Vs Magic NC (15)
Aces NC (11) Vs MK Dons (5)
MK Dons (8) Vs Nottingham City (6)
Aces NC (12) Vs Little Sutton B (3)
Magic NC (10) Vs Aces NC (6)
Nottingham City (9) Vs Little Sutton B (4)
The group of death it was named due to the high level of competition in it and it got underway with the famous Poole Diamonds winning convincingly against Little Sutton probably would of preferred an easier opening game for it being their first time at an ENG national event. AP Saints like Little Sutton didn't really turn up in the opening game and were easily swept aside by TTNC and TTNC followed that victory up with another win against Sutton Town, winning 12-10.
Poole NC went onto to win their second game against AP Saints and against Sutton Town they were made to work for the win with Sutton Town leading by two points with minutes to go. AP Saints did record their first point of the competition after scoring in the final seconds against Little Sutton to draw 7-7. The group was split going into the final games with Poole NC and TTNC fighting for the top spot in the group and the rest fighting for the other positions in the table.
Poole NC and TTNC came face to face in what was a an exciting game of netball. With Poole starting the better of two sides TTNC managed to get in front and if not for some missed shots could of easily won the game, but they let Poole off the hook, which meant they went onto win the game 9-7. Sutton Town managed to get their first wins in their final two games of the group which meant they finished third and avoided the quarter final play-off games.
Poole NC (16) Vs Little Sutton (2)
AP Saints NC (6) Vs TTNC (13)
TTNC (12) Vs Sutton Town (10)
AP Saints NC (5) Vs Poole NC (14)
Little Sutton (7) Vs AP Saints NC (7)
Sutton Town (6) Vs Poole NC (11)
Poole NC (9) Vs TTNC (7)
Sutton Town (9) Vs Little Sutton (5)
AP Saints NC (2) Vs Sutton Town (11)
TTNC (8) Vs Little Sutton (6)
Quarter Finals Play-Off
Nottingham City (10) Vs AP Saints (6)
Little Sutton (7) Vs Little Sutton B (5)
AP Saints (12) Vs Little Sutton B (2)
Nottingham City (7) Vs Poole NC (14)
TTNC (12) Vs MK Dons (10)
Magic NC (13) Vs Little Sutton (11)
Aces NC (4) Vs Sutton Town (11)
MK Dons (11) Vs Little Sutton (7)
Aces NC (12) Vs Nottingham City (5)
Poole NC (10) Vs Sutton Town (8) - This game had it all and if not for a superb shot with five seconds to go by the incredible U17 England International Sascha Dale, Poole would of been playing for a 3rd/4th play-off position. The game started with both sides going toe to toe and it was vital for Sutton Town to stay ion contention up until half time. and they did just that with the score being 4-4 at half time. As the second half started, Poole got an all important turnover and it looked like they would go on to win the game. Sutton Town forced errors and replied instantly though and then even forced more errors to then go ahead in the game. With just under a minute to go the score was 7-7 and it looked like the next goal would win it. With Poole NC franticly defending the clock was running down and eventually Sutton Town got the goal and all they had to do was hang on for fifteen seconds to claim a famous win. Poole NC took the centre and moved the ball down court using the sides as a way of moving into the shooting circle, Sutton Town were ones now frantically defending and a foul of Sascha Dale was going to give Poole NC a chance to level with five seconds to go. The England International didn't disappoint and showed true champions mindset to sink the shot and level the game. In overtime Poole NC scored and overturned the ball to win by two points and march into the final.
TTNC (9) Vs Magic NC (13) - A blistering start from Magic NC saw them go in at half time 7-2 up in what was a surprise due to the qualify TTNC processed. In the second half TTNC did fight back and got within three points of Magic at certain points, but the damage had already been done and Magic NC were in their first ENG National Final.
MK Dons (9) Vs Aces NC (12)
Nottingham City (16) Vs Little Sutton (14)
Sutton Town (12) Vs TTNC (7)
Poole NC (19) Vs Magic NC (6) - If Magic were hoping to take advantage of Poole after such intense semi final game unfortunately they had to contend with a team wanting to prove that performance and result was just a one off. Poole NC were dominant from start to finish in this game and secured their third major ENG title. Magic NC reached their best ever finish within an ENG event and even though the result in the final was a disappointment they had more than done themselves proud with an exceptional performance throughout the whole day.
Poole Diamonds began their ENG journey back in 2019 at the U12 Netball Cup Southern Finals which led to their first national final win in 2020. This event marked the end of that journey and they finished where they started with another national final win and cemented their legacy as one of the greatest or if not the greatest grassroots netball teams in the country. With minimal player turnover and maintaining practically the same squad over a 4yr period it's unheard of for any team to have the level of success they have had, especially even more so when you consider where they're based in the country. The commitment from the players and coaches to continually strive to be the best has led to one of the greatest stories that will ever be told. From dominating grassroots netball, to feeling the pain of defeat to then bounce back to dominate once again is testament to the true winning mindset the team has and instilled by their coach Hayley Peyman. Will there ever be a team like it again in ENG, we hope so, but if not the memories and journey they have been on will never be forgotten. They were famous for the highly celebrated 'More Than A Game' against Turnford, but equally this is more than a just a netball team. Poole NC are an example of excellence and the true spirit of what competitive sport represents and everyone associated with the team are true role models to young girls wanting to achieve similar results while playing grassroots netball.
A big well done also to Mia Lashbrook who was awarded the MVP award of the competition. Easily one of the best shooters in the country, Mia memorised the watching audience with her incredible shooting accuracy and grace while doing it through-out the competition.
Thank you to everyone who attended.
1st: Poole NC
2nd: Magic NC
3rd: Sutton Town
5th: Aces NC
6th: MK Dons
7th: Nottingham City
8th: Little Sutton
9th: AP Saints NC
10th: Little Sutton B
Mia Lashbrook (Magic NC)