The June long weekend wasn’t all sleep-ins and relaxation for three Westlakes District Netball Association’s representative teams who took part in the NSW Netball Championships.
After a wild and woolly trek to Sydney in three mini-buses and a van through the driving rain, the teams arrived at their destination full of excitement, anticipation and some dread that the weekend would be cold and rainy.
The Opens team, coached and managed by Sue Shelley and Denise Wiltshire, fought hard in the Championship division to finish 14th on the ladder.
Denise said the competition was tough.
“The end result is that although it is very hard, we are competitive in this division and we can only continue to grow and develop as a team,” she said.
“Many of the teams we competed against have played together for years and our girls had only just formed their team this year. They have a passion for netball and it showed.”
The Westlakes 21s came in third behind Newcastle and Charlestown, making a strong Hunter contingent in the top three.
Coach Karen Daniels congratulated the team on its performance.
“Our best day was Sunday, playing some awesome games of netball,” she said.
“They are a great bunch of girls, showing beautiful sportsmanship on and off the court, and are a pleasure to coach.”
Fiona Knight, Westlakes’ liaison officer, also spoke highly of the team.
“They have done Westlakes proud, as always. Thank you for making them the players they are.”
The 17s tried hard all weekend against teams with more experience and age on their side. A large number of the Westlakes 17s are 15 years old, having moved into the team when the 15 years team folded.
With one player out with a lumbar sprain after Day 1, the Westlakes team had some extremely close games, including draws with Lakeside and Woy Woy.
Manager Lee Jones thanked the girls for their dedicated and perseverance.
“I hope the 17s enjoyed their representative season. We are very proud of how the girls played and supported each other over the weekend,” she said.
“We hoped the junior players enjoyed their experience of playing up [an age division] and would like to thank the senior players for nurturing and encouraging these girls. Your support of these girls on and off the court is a true reflection of your amazing characters and the beautiful girls that you are.”
Finally, Westlakes would like to acknowledge the umpires who represented the association at this high-level, fast-paced and challenging sporting competition.