THE HeartKids Cup could expand further after the 2014 event on the weekend.
After starting out with one exhibition game in 2012, then a five-team competition last year, 12 sides line up in the 2014 event at the Orange PCYC.
Tournament organiser and Orange player Mardi Aplin was thrilled with the two days of netball.
“The weekend was a fantastic success. I’ve had lots of positive feedback from all the teams,” Aplin explained.
“They all want to hold their places in the competition and some want to bring more teams.”
This could create a headache for Aplin as she has to work out whether the tournament can accommodate more sides.
Sunday’s grand final was a highlight of the tournament with Baulkham Hills edging out the ACT 21s 32-27.
The two sides had clashed during their pool games with the ACT team coming out on top 42-28.
The Baulkham Hills side had a distinct Orange flavour with Charlotte Jasprizza joining the Sydney-based team, and Aplin was called in for the grand final to fill in for injured goal keeper Sarah Kitcher.
“It was hard,” Aplin said of the grand final.
“I just love playing netball, so to get another run was great.”
Baulkham Hills captain Nardia Macdonald was happy to take out the 2014 title and win the $1000 from the Robin Hood Hotel.
“It was very hard work which was great. We needed a good hit out,” Macdonald said of the tournament.
“Both teams did great (in the grand final). There was plenty of pressure from both sides.”
ACT 21s coach Melinda Clarke also saw the benefit in playing the pre-season tournament.
“It was a good opportunity to get all the girls on the court. We’ve got lots of new combinations, so it was good to try those out,” Clarke said.
“There was some good, physical netball which is what you get at the top level.”
Orange performed well in the top division as it finished third.
Aplin was happy with her side’s effort in its first time back on the courts this year.
“Things like this are fantastic because we learn from them, especially going into the state championships this year,” she said.
Aplin was disappointed to lose to Baulkham Hills in the opening game 41-29, but happy with the team’s overall performance.
“I would have liked to be playing Baulko later. We were just back on the court and still working a few things out,” she said.
“We played some great netball as the games went on. I think we could have won but a few things went against us, and I think fitness caught up with us.”
Orange’s division two side was winless in their round robin matches but improved as the tournament went on.