Thunder storms to epic under-15 result as injury-ravaged 14s give top tier a red-hot crack

HUGE EFFORT: Caitlin Prestwidge, May Turner, Liv Dolbel, Ellie Mooney, Lucy Dean, Hailey Prestwidge, Georgia Cornish, Bonnie Keegan, Sophie Banks, Meg Eslick. Photo: AMANDA MOONEY
HUGE EFFORT: Caitlin Prestwidge, May Turner, Liv Dolbel, Ellie Mooney, Lucy Dean, Hailey Prestwidge, Georgia Cornish, Bonnie Keegan, Sophie Banks, Meg Eslick. Photo: AMANDA MOONEY

Orange Netball Association’s under 15s went agonisingly close to finishing their Netball NSW State Age Championships career with a title win, finishing second in division two behind Lakeside on percentage only.

The side only dropped the one game from their 18 starts, which was a 16-12 loss to Inner West Suburbs, who finished fourth overall, and beat eventual winners Lakeside 12-9 in their clash on Monday. 

However, Lakeside didn’t drop another game and ended up scoring more goals and conceding less than their rivals to put them on top of the ladder. 

The under-14 side had a tough weekend at the championships, coming in 16th on the ladder from 20 sides, with six wins and a draw coming over their astonishing 19 games over three days. 

However, the side was ravaged by injury on their way to the six wins, with Caitlin Prestwidge and Megan Eslick in hospital on Monday, after a head-clash and an injured wrist respectively, at the end of play. 

Overall we knew it was going to be a whole new world up in division one – and it was.

Sue Dean

Coach Sue Dean said the injuries “made for a tough Monday”. 

“To the team’s credit they fought hard all day and were rewarded with a win in the last game against Penrith, coming back from five down to win by one, so that was the highlight of the day,” she said. 

“There’s some disappointment that we didn’t achieve our goal of finishing in the top 10, but we’re also very pleased to have won a third of the games we played.

“We feel better for having the experience … it was a massive jump from division two, and we will take all that we learned into under-15 division one next year.”

Dean said she was proud of her girls’ effort coming up against the best teams in the state, including some of the top Sydney clubs. 

“The girls have been real competitors all weekend, they showed lots of spirit and were proud to represent Orange – a country team in the midst of big tough city competition,” she said. 

“There were some real highs and some lows as well but overall we knew it was going to be a whole new world up in division one – and it was.

“We’re all very proud of the way they played and know that playing that level can only help improve your game.”

The under-13 side finished in 15th with five wins from their campaign in division two, while the under 12s finished in the same ladder position, albeit with one less win than their counterparts an age group older. 

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