Junior A Northern Ireland Netball League kicked off with a superb win for the Enniskillen Royal girls against Cookstown on Monday 14th February.
The two teams met at the Lakeland Forum for their first match. Certainly, for our girls, it was their first competitive match since Year 8.
In the league, for this age-group, each quarter lasts 7.5 minutes with a very short break in between each quarter.
In the first quarter, our girls dominated from the fore. Anna Cairns in Centre (C) played intuitively with Lucie-Anne Abbott in Wing Attack (WA) and Eve Balfour in Goal Attack (GA). The girls found the spaces in amongst the Cookstown defence and scored on practically each occasion either Maria Bullock (GS) or Eve were in the circle.
Meanwhile, back in defence, Emma Fawcett in Goal Defence (GD), Jodie Thompson in Wing Defence (WD) and Lauren McCordick in Goalkeeper (GK) worked in sync to ensure the opposition rarely received the ball in their circle. Sterling work by this trio.
1st quarter – 7-1 ERGS
In the second ¼, ERGS had no changes, but Cookstown really shuffled their team to great effect. ERGS were defending more, and our attackers were finding it hard to get the ball through a much more disciplined Cookstown defence.
½ time – 9-2 ERGS
One change in the ERGS team on this occasion – Chloe Robinson swapping into GK. In this quarter, the ERGS girls were not to be cowed. They rose to the strengthened Cookstown side, with intelligent play and tighter marking. Once again, the defenders and attackers got into their grove and worked the ball up the court into the circle where Eve and Maria were really placing every shot. Fantastic quarter by the girls.
3rd quarter – 14-3 ERGS
As we were comfortably ahead again, we switched the team around a little to give some of the other squad members a chance to play. Eva Howe slipped into GK, with Chloe moving to GD. Emma made a Segway into WD, Jessica Foy came on in WA and Ellie Booth came on as GK.
Despite the shuffle, the team continued to play well – their fitness proving to be a little higher than Cookstown’s who were beginning to flag. Fresh legs helped and our girls continued to work strongly together. A testimony to all the training sessions they have had where they constantly get to work with each other, either ‘out of position’ or with a different mix of players.
Full time – 16-4 ERGS
To finish off the morning, we played a 7-minute friendly, bringing on the remainder of our squad – Marianna Bell, Rachel Cathcart and Emily McFarland. In a fabulous effort, we won this short match too with Emily scoring the vital 2 goals.
Congratulations to the squad – good luck for the next match against Mount Lourdes on Friday 25th February.