The Wanganui U17 netball representatives made a solid start to their campaign with a third in their grade at the Steffenson Tournament at Vautier Park in Palmerston North at the weekend.
The campaign started with a full contingent of 10 team members travelling away to the tournament and from the outset the girls showed they were worthy contenders.
The first game, against Wairarapa, saw Wanganui win 44-12. They then played Kapi Mana in a rematch from the Masterton tournament two weeks ago. Coach Lisa Murphy was thrilled with her team's performance in this game with strong driving, communication and supporting each other throughout the court seeing Wanganui take the game 28-22.
Strong performances from the defence end of Georgia Walford (WD), Sophie Collins (GD) and Kelera Kuruyabaki (GK) getting some lovely turnover ball helped secure the win.
The team then went into the semifinal playing Wellington Black, once again another rematch from Masterton.
Wellington Black dominated from the whistle and out-played Wanganui, winning 26-14. Wanganui then played Taranaki for 3rd and 4th. Wanganui came out on top winning 23-18.
Kataraina Hakaraia injured her ankle in the last quarter of the game.
Overall Murphy was pleased with her team's performance and how different combinations she put on worked well.
"We now look forward to playing at home this Sunday building towards the nationals in North Harbour in July," Murphy said.
The Y8 girls won their first two matches with victory over Motu Kairangi and Hawkes Bay 26-20 before losing to Northern Suburbs 28 -26. In the fourth game Wanganui beat Manawatu 21-16.
Outstanding play from the entire team with all working hard on defence, letting the ball flow through the court and finishing off with putting the ball in the net.
The U15 girls had a tough outing, but with lots of positives when losing to Kapi Mana 20-18 and Manawatu 33-14 before beating Hutt Valley 28-24 in pool play.
A close loss against Wellington Gold 22-20 in crossover playoffs saw the team finish 6th in division 1. Shooters Taliah S'ua and captain Niamh Flower had standout performances, shooting at 97 per cent and missing only one goal each throughout the day. At the other end of the court, Lisa Lin (GK/GD/WD) did a lot of work both on defence and bringing the ball through court.
The U15 Development squad beat Horowhenua 20-16 first up before succumbing 22-21 to Kapiti 21-22 and 21-15 to Hawke's Bay. However, they returned for their final match to beat Wairarapa in 32-5 cross-overs and claim fifth overall.
With the rain holding off the Wanganui U17 development squad was able to establish some good games against their counterparts.
They continued to fight with determination right till the final whistle to the final game pleasing coach Marie Kinloch.
The team finished with two losses and two wins for an overall ranking of 9th out of 12 teams. The U17 Development team had a good start to their 2014 campaign.
"We look forward to our preparation before the Wanganui combined tournament on June 22 at Laird Park, Wanganui," Kinloch said.