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Mavericks Youth Crowned Champions of the NPL Finals Tournament

28th July 2016

Last weekend 3 teams representing Mavericks Youth and the East Region headed to Loughborough to compete in the NPL and NPFL Tournaments.  For the Mavericks squad this was the chance to right the wrongs of the season and prove that they are a team to be reckoned with.  And for the 2 East sides competing in the Futures tournament it was an opportunity to get a taste of elite competition and a vision of what is ahead of them if they make it into the Mavericks Youth team in the future.

Mavericks Youth sent an incredibly strong squad to the tournament and knew that if they came together as a team and focused on the fundamentals then they had a very good chance of taking the trophy.

The tournament lasted over 3 days and each day would see 2 full matches for each squad.  Mavericks opened their campaign on Friday morning against Surry Storm NPL and got off to a strong start – taking the match 57-34.  This was followed by an outstanding match V Team South Tigers where all Mavericks players took to court and took the game by an astonishing 81-23.

Back at the hotel, there were performance analysis sessions, team building and of course the dreaded ice baths, followed by a well deserved and needed night’s rest. Mavericks youth started day two top of their group and faced West Midlands Warriors in the morning.  After a slow start Mavericks came through and put in another strong team performance saw the game won 64-31.  Following the same pattern from Friday the second game of the day was an even stronger one for Mavericks – as they beat Junior Dragons 77-29.

Sunday was the big day – when placing’s would be decided.  Having won their Group, Mavericks first match of the day was a semi final against Yorkshire Jets.  The girls were determined to make the final and played outstanding netball. This Jets and Storm games were tough for us mentally as these were games we lost in the league and felt that we didn’t perform at our best – so it was about preparing and then performing which the squad achieved. We moved the ball through the court, taking an incredibly high percentage of centre pases to goal and turning over ball all over the court.  The final score against Jets 55-29.

The final was a face off of two teams unbeaten over the entire weekend – Mavericks and Manchester Thunder.  The Manchester Thunder team in fact unbeaten in six years.  All knew it would be a tight affair and that it was vital to land every goal and turn over ball.

Mavericks went out strong and were leading 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.  This was not the time to rest on their laurels though as all involved knew the Thunder team would not do down without a huge fight.  At half time they had reduced the defecit to 7 goals with a score of 26-19.

Mavericks knew Thunder would give it everything and that they needed to remain calm and finish strong.  In the 3rd quarter Thunder made a significant come back and going into the 4th quarter Mavericks had only a one goal lead – 36-35.

The final quarter was therefore like a game of its own with all to play for.  Both sides were hungry for the win and the lead flip flopped between either team. In the final 2 mins Mavericks looked to be in control with a 3 goal lead, until a held ball call against Mavericks in the shooting circle, Thunder bought the ball down court but failed to convert after growing pressure from Mavericks who were hungry, forced a footwork mistake by the GS.  With around 30 seconds left all Mavericks had to do was keep possession, but a misunderstanding in the defense lead to Thunder made the vital interception to bring the score to 48-47 with Thunder in control for the centre pass. They swiftly bought the ball through to the shooting circle where another footwork call on the Thunder GS gave possession back to Mavericks. This time learning from their mistake Mavericks work hard to maintain the possession bringing the ball through court carefully with all players moving to offer for the ball until the final whistle went, with Mavericks taking the win 48-47!  An awesome achievement from a hugely talented team.

Head Coach, Sam Meade had this to say: It was a fantastic weekend for all involved and a great opportunity to put some of our best U19’s in the country under pressure in a high performance environment. This experience will of course have a positive effect on our national teams for the future. The 12 players that represented Mavericks Youth this weekend are very talented and hard working bunch. They are keen to develop, progress and did so over the three days. We prepared well for the competition with the help of a lot of partners and personal. In particular Luke Oates our Performance Analysist, Niamh McCarthy (Body Balance) and S&C coaches (Performance Herts) all based at the University of Hertfordshire. It was great to be able to have the opportunity to rectify some of the performances through out the season particularly against Yorkshire Jets and Surrey Storm where we under performed. To get in to the final unbeaten was defiantly the plan and all 12 players were instrumental in getting us in to that position. You can not go to a competition like that with out having 12 players that you believe in equally to do the job required. The final match against Thunder was tough as we knew it would be, however we did make it hard for our selves with a slow start in the 3rd quarter. If you give a team like Thunder a chance like that – they will come at you hard and they did! I was particularly please with the character we showed to hang on to the win."

The squad consisted off – Hali Adio, Summer Artman, Beth Dix (Capt), Ellie Durr, Zara Everitt, George Fisher, Philippa Fleming, Aimee Hatley, Ellie Kelk, Vicki Oyesola, Phoebe Parker and Georgia Satwick

The two teams from the East competing in the NPFL competition also had a great weekend with wins against teams from all over the country.  These squads got a fantastic taste of elite competition and finished 5th and 9th respectively.