A group of Tumut netballers have proven their worth in the strong Wagga Wagga Netball Association (WWNA) competition this season, winning the under 14s division one grand final at Wagga Equex Centre on Saturday.
Tumut’s under 14s consisted of Taylah Graham, Molly Webb, Lily Webb, Claire Bottero, Ellisha Olsen, Olivia Dean, Katherine Oakes, Cindy Roche and Chloe Turnbull and they were too good for Kooringal Maroon, winning 31-28.
Playing against the best netballers Wagga has to offer in their age group week in and week out, the group even went through the competition undefeated, with the close grand final result their toughest test of the season.
Megan Turnbull, who helped form the team and coached the girls alongside Carmel Lemon and Anna Webb, said she expected the girls to do it tougher this season, before praising the group on representing Tumut so well.
“When they (WWNA) said we would be in division one, we thought we would go over there and get flogged to be honest. We didn’t know what we would be coming up against, but the girls proved well and truly they could play at that level,” Turnbull said.
“They went through undefeated and played really good netball.”
Turnbull said the grand final could have been a different story though, with Kooringal well ahead at key moments in the hard-fought contest.
“The girls came back from being seven down at one stage, then in the third quarter they came back to level it on the back of strong defence and some intercepts by Molly and a couple of goals to Chloe and Lily,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull explained that Kooringal went ahead again in the fourth quarter, but a determined Tumut outfit would come home with a wet sail and leave Wagga as victors.
“They were just really determined to get the win,” Turnbull said.
“Kooringal came out and got four goals in a row in the fourth quarter but Tumut came back and won in the end.
“The team we played was strong and physical, but the girls had the confidence they did from all the hard work throughout the season.”
The winning result really demonstrates the strength of netball in Tumut and the ability of local players to perform against bigger towns and clubs.
“Tumut is a smaller town, and we are only picking from 10 to 15 players, so it proves we can hold our own against clubs picking from a lot more players,” Turnbull said.
WWNA President Rosemary Clarke said she was always happy to accommodate the Tumut players at the beginning of the season, and was even happier to see the playing group tasting success.
“They gave us a call as they wanted to be part of the competition and we were happy to let them in for the learning experience,” Clarke said.
“They had a fantastic season and played really well in that type of competition.”
Clarke believe the Tumut playing group would only be better for their experience in the fast-paced Wagga competition.
“It’s a different style of netball playing in that type of competition and the girls will take a lot out of it.”