Expert Netball coaching on tour in Bath

A group of Middle and Upper Fourth pupils took part in a pre-season Netball tour from 15-17 December, which included match play, team building games and expert coaching from top Super League team, Team Bath.

The tour started in Southampton with a game against King Edward’s School. Epsom was without some key players, so different combinations were tried. Up against strong King Edwards teams, including a group of U16 players, the matches were set to be a test.

Special mention must go to Jess Haigh (R) who captained the U15 team well, and Izzy Burke (Rv) who scored many of the goals. Heidi Warren (Rv) also worked well in defence to secure a number of interceptions. The play was often end-to-end and did not reflect the final 7-28 scoreline. Player of the match was awarded to Lulu Candlish (Rv).

The U14s put in an enthusiastic effort with Maddie Fairbank (Cr) and Mia Smiley (Rv) working well in attack. Gina Liebenberg (Rv) impressed as Goal Keeper, a new position for her. Emily Long (R) was awarded player of the match. Despite King Edward’s proving to be too tough an opposition, there were many positives to be taken from both games and the fixture was an enjoyable start to the tour.

On Saturday the tour party headed into Bath for a game of mini golf, with Ysella Oliver (Rv) winning by 5 shots, and the challenge of an ‘Escape Room’ where teamwork was tested. After lunch, and a wander around historical Bath, the group’s next stop was Clifton College. The two year groups combined to form one team, with rolling subs allowing every girl to get good court time and to try a variety of positions. Initially, the game was equally matched, but in the final quarter Epsom pulled away to take the win 30-19. This was even more impressive as Clifton’s team included U16 players, meaning Epsom’s Middle Fourths were playing girls two years above them. The day was rounded off with a game of bowling, with Mia Smiley improving drastically to be named top bowler.

The final day of the tour took place at the University of Bath’s Sports Training Village. The facilities were outstanding and it was no surprise to hear that Bath has recently been named as the Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times. The first part of the visit comprised a strength and conditioning session which gave the girls a good understanding of exercises they should be completing to benefit their netball play, and to reduce the risk of injury. Lunch included a fun quiz which was won by the highly-competitive staff team. The final session of the tour was taken by England and Team Bath players, Rachel and Jess Shaw. The session focused on attacking play, including movement and placement of the ball.

Awards were given out at the end of the tour, with every girl being given recognition for something they had achieved during the three days. The Top Tourist awards went to Jess Haigh and Holly Darlston (R).

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