Netball is very popular and successful at Friends’ and is offered to all girls. Practices are arranged to enable all girls to play both hockey and netball. Four afternoons each week Year 8, Minors (Y9), Juniors (Y10) Intermediates (Y11 & 12) and Seniors (Y13 & 14). In addition on Saturday mornings Year 8 girls are welcome to take part in a full morning of sport with both netball and hockey on offer. The girls are coached by Mrs Gemma Hamilton, a past pupil of Friends’ who gained NI representative honours. Whilst still playing at the highest club level Mrs Hamilton is also recognised as a talented coach. Teams are entered in NI cup and league competitions as well as District and Lisburn Development league. It was unfortunate due to Coronavirus that we were not able to have a netball season in 2020- 2021, however, we are looking forward to getting back on the court this year.
Netball Report 2019-2020
It has been a busy and successful season for netball at Friends’. The new year 8s show an exciting depth of new talent: the As were undefeated with 3 wins, and the Bs were also looking strong with 2 wins before the season was cut short. Saturday morning netball has been packed all year, with many girls also doing hockey.
The Minor A team struggled at the beginning of the year, but improved as the season progressed, and reached the Minor Shield semi-final, where they lost after extra time to Regent. After a goal for goal game, the score was tied at 15 all, this resulted in 2 halves of extra time. Afterwards, the team demonstrated not only good netball skills but a gritty determination and superb level of intensity throughout. The minor Bs worked hard, showing steady improvement in games against Hunterhouse, Shimna, Wallace B and Down High A. The real positive was the growth in numbers, which even enable us to organise fixtures for a C squad
The Junior team this year proved to be very successful; they had an impressive run in their cup campaign which saw them reach the semi-final in which they lost to a very composed team from Our Lady and St.Patrick’s College Knock. The Juniors also won section 2 of the premier league, beating St Pauls, Sacred Heart, and Lurgan JHS, qualifying for the league finals against Section 1 winners, Aquinas. The final was a demonstration of some top-class netball, showcasing some wonderful skill from both sides. Captain Brooke Logan led by example but Aquinas’ centre really stood out. It was goal for goal most of the 1st quarter, but in the end, Aquinas won 22- 16. The Junior Bs worked hard throughout the season, playing well in their league, against strong opposition from Down High A, Hunterhouse, Shimna and Wallace. They are a great group, who have a few players really developing well, some of whom will probably move into the A squad next season.
The Intermediate A team competed in the Premier Section of the leagues this year. They faced strong competition against BRA, Glenola and Belfast High. Their performance improved vastly over the course of the season, particularly in the shield competition, where the team made it to the quarter final, where they were put out by an extremely talented Wallace side.
The Intermediate B faced tough competition in their district league against very strong Assumption, Down High A, Rathmore and Wallace teams in home and away fixtures. The girls performed in very competitive matches with consistency and showed improvement over the course of the season. This is a group of reflective, smart players who will continue to learn as they play and have the potential to do well next year if they increase their shooting accuracy.
The Senior A team, under the captaincy of Aoife Doyle, competed in the U19 premier league. The girls played very well against teams including MCB, Aquinas and OLSPCK. Defensively we won a lot of turnover and normally transitioned well into attack but our links in the attacking unit were not slick enough, A collective shooting average of 59% for the season tells its own story. After a strong win against Banbridge in the Shield, the team lost the semi-final to St Paul’s Newry.
The Senior B team competed in the district league against BRA, Wallace and Down High in home and away fixtures. The girls worked hard and improved throughout the season, enjoying their netball. They lost in the quarter final of the senior plate to an extremely strong Down High A team. The number of seniors playing the game demonstrates what an exceptional sporting ethos Friends has and has always encouraged
At national level, Aoife Doyle and Emily McMurtry continue to train with the NI U21 Development squad. Unfortunately, the new NI talent squads (regional and national) have not been selected this year because of the current crisis.
Thanks, must go to Mrs Bleakley for coaching the teams, to Miss Henning for her help and hard work throughout the season with the year 8s and to Mrs Rodgers and Miss Adams for their continued support and assistance.