Wellington’s perfect start in U19 championships

Press Release – Netball NZ
Back-to-back wins on the opening day of the Netball NZ U19 Championship gave Wellington the perfect start to defending their title when the four-day tournament got under way in the capital today.

With team participation increasing to 20 from last year’s 18, including 19 Beko Netball League players spread throughout the teams, and the inclusion of an England U19 team for the first time, Wellington secured comfortable 46-27 and 41-23 wins over Selwyn and Howick Pakuranga, respectively.

With no players returning from last year’s title-winning team, Wellington got their preparation under way with a solid two-goal win over England in a warm-up match the day before the competition started.

“That set us up well for the rest of the week and getting two-out-of-two on the first day is a really good way to start,” Wellington coach Pelesa Semu said.

“From today, the aim is to just keep progressing. It’s a completely new team this year which is a great challenge. Many of the players are new to each other, so during our nine-week campaign we have just tried to build combinations and create an environment where they push each other and learn from each other.”

There were also two wins apiece for those considered to be strong contenders at the business end of the tournament, in the shape of Auckland, Waitakere, North Harbour and Hamilton City.

Semu was wary of the Auckland teams which she said always competed well at this level as well as the southern challenge provided by Christchurch and Dunedin. With two WBOP Magic players – Sydney Fraser and Amorangi Malesala – from the ANZ Premiership in their line-up as well as 2016 Secondary Schools Player of the Year, Courtney Elliott, Hamilton City are expected to pose a serious threat.

England, who will not challenge for the title, also posted two comprehensive opening day wins and are delighted to be involved in the tournament.

It has been of special significance for England assistant coach Amanda Newton and something of a homecoming for the former England defender who turned out for the Capital City Shakers in New Zealand’s national league in 1999.

“It is a great opportunity to play in this tournament, we don’t have these sorts of opportunities at home and the level of competition here is really high, so it’s good for our 19s to get this exposure to the New Zealand style of play,” she said.

The Netball NZ U19 Champs continues tomorrow from 10.30am and culminates in a grand final on Thursday 13 July.

Day 1 Results:

Pool C Christchurch 20 – 37 England
Pool A Wellington 46 – 27 Selwyn
Pool A Invercargill 39 – 37 Howick Pakuranga
Pool D Waitakere 57 – 23 North Otago
Pool B Auckland 57 – 22 Mainland Combined
Pool B Trust Waikato Hamilton City 51 – 15 Whangarei
Pool C Dunedin 55 – 27 Hawkes Bay
Pool D North Harbour 55 – 17 Nelson Russells Curtains & Blinds
Pool A Hutt Valley 44 – 24 Selwyn
Pool A Wellington 41 – 23 Howick Pakuranga
Pool C Pukekohe Kitchen Inspirations 13 – 55 England
Pool B Manawatu 57 – 20 Mainland Combined
Pool B Auckland 52 – 22 Whangarei
Pool D Harbourside 35 – 30 North Otago
Pool D Waitakere 46 – 19 Nelson Russells Curtains & Blinds
Pool C Christchurch 40 – 29 Hawkes Bay
Pool C Dunedin 43 – 22 Pukekohe Kitchen Inspirations
Pool A Invercargill 35 – 26 Hutt Valley
Pool D North Harbour 38 – 18 Harbourside
Pool B Trust Waikato Hamilton City 28 – 32 Manawatu

USEFUL INFO
Draw, results, ladders: click here
Team contact details: click here
Team lists: click here

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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