Netball is offered to all girls at Friends’. Practices are arranged to enable all girls to play both hockey and netball. Four afternoons each week Minors (Y9), Juniors (Y10) Intermediates (Y11 & 12) and Seniors (Y13 & 14) 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 talented coach. Teams are entered in NI cup and league competitions as well as the Lisburn Development league.
On Saturday mornings Year 8 girls are welcome to take part in a full morning of sport with both netball and hockey on offer.
Netball Report 2017-18
2017/18 has been another successful season for netball at Friends’. From new and promising talent in the incoming YR8 group to success in the Cup and League Finals at the very end of the season.
The year 8 girls have been attending netball from the beginning of the year with netball taking place on Saturday mornings, and after school during the week. Commitment has been great from a large core of girls and although they don’t play in leagues at this stage, we have worked solidly towards two tournaments at the tail end of the season, they also played within the local Lisburn League. Two teams were selected to take part in both the Lagan College and Rockport Tournaments. The Lagan Tournament proved to be our most successful performance, with the A team making it through to the final, having drawn their group stage and won well in the semi-final against Grosvenor. They finished runners up, but a superb result for this team.
Both Minor and Junior teams worked hard throughout the season, but struggled with very strong competition in their respective leagues. Both minor teams, A’s captained by Ruby McClelland and B’s by Sienna Johnston respectively, struggled in the beginning of the season, but built in confidence with each performance and showed that they could work well together as a team.
The Juniors, captained by Rebekah Irwin, competed in the newly formed Premier league, in which the top teams in Northern Ireland competed. This proved to be a very tough league with the team struggling with the extremely strong competition, however improved with each match and continued to work hard throughout all of their matches.
They enjoyed most success in the final of the Junior Bowl competition. They faced Assumption Grammar, in the final and were successful in beating Assumption and finished the season on a deserved high, winning the Millen Bowl.
The Intermediate A team, captained by Rachael Ledbury, had a successful run in their league winning three of their four matches within the District Legaue competition, losing only to Down High. They showed great promise and worked well together as a team in all of their matches, improving with each game. Their strength in defence, provided by Emily McMurtry and Aoife Doyle was what made the matches most exciting. The B team, captained by Eliose Gregg, played in the local Lisburn league, and enjoyed some close matches with St. Patricks, Lisnagarvey High and Fort Hill.
The Senior A team, led by Shannon Scott, were also entered into the new Premier League structure and were successful in winning their league defeating both Rathmore and Lumen Christi. The squad were unfortunate to not have more competition with two teams withdrawing from this league, and although they won both matches convincingly, would have relished the opportunity to compete further.
It was the cup run that offered the Senior A’s their biggest competitive opportunity. With a successful first round against Lagan College they faced Our lady and St. Pat’s, Knock, in the second round. This was a heavily contested match, which was won well by OLSPCK, who went on to be the overall cup winners. This loss placed the team into the shield competition. Solid wins over both Lumen Christi and St. Paul’s, Newry saw them reach the final of the shield where they faced Methody. Methody proved to be a very fast, effective and accurate opposition. An early lead was established by Methody which left Friends’ with a very hard job ahead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the final quarter that the Seniors showcased the full extent of their abilities, and pulled a few goals back with some lovely defensive work in the circle from Shannon Scott and Rachel Barns, supported by confident goal conversions from Shannon McCleery and Ruby McElhinney. This may not have been the finish to the season that we would have hoped for, however it was nice to see the team show the standard of netball they are capable of and finish on a more positive note.
The Senior B team this year proved to be a strong and cohesive squad who enjoyed a very successful season. Captained by Maisey Sinclair they finished as winners in their District league with convincing wins over Assumption and Rathmore. As a result of winning their district league they progressed to a ¼ final overall league play off where they met Sullivan, winners of District League 6. They won this match well, playing with great composure. In the semi final they met Lagan College, who proved to be very challenging opponents with two dominant and influential players. In a very exciting game the girls were successful in winning 31-26, only pulling away in the final few minutes of the game.
In the final, the Senior B’s came up against Cookstown High School, who were playing off the back of a win in their shield final the previous day. This match proved to be very well contested, and for much of the first half was goal for goal. After a dip in performance in the third quarter the team was one goal down going in to the final quarter. Superb defensive pressure through the whole court, directed capably by Alannah Miller, and some sensible attacking play lead by captain Maisey Sinclair in the shooting circle with confident shots from Hollie Stewart saw the girls break away from their opponents to seal a win by 5 goals, 27-22 the final score. This win secures the team as Northern Ireland District League Champions! A great success given that all bar one of their opponents in both their league, and Cup/Plate competitions, were A teams in each of the schools they played.
Throughout each year group netball has been well attended and enjoyed; it has been a busy season with a new league structure and introduction of the bowl competition, affording all teams additional opportunity to play matches.
Representative Honours 2017-18
Regional U13 Academy
Kiera Meil-Delbedari and Clare Neeson were selected to the Lisburn Squad.
U15 Regional Level, Future Internationals academy
Rebekah Irwin, Mia Furey and Emily McMurty were selected to train with the Lisburn squad, coached by Mrs Hamilton, and were overall winners of the U15 Academy Tournament.
From this tournament Emily McMurtry was selected to take part in a squad, made up of players from all regions, to represent Northern Ireland in the UK Schools Games. A fantastic opportunity to gain underage representative experience in a highly competitive setting.
Several players were nominated for U17 trials. Successful at first trial, progressing to the second stage were Emily McMurtry and Aoife Doyle.
Podium U19 Lisburn squad.
Shannon Scott, Alannah Miller, Francesca Pickering, Lauren Irwin, Megan Higginson, Victoria Hunter, Ruby McElhinney and Shannon McCleery. Lisburn were the winners of the tournament!