The best netball teams from the East of England battled for supremacy in the Tegate tournament on Sunday. With the likes of U16 national champions Turnford and U14 national semi-finalists Hatfield in the mix, the competition was intense.
For the Saffron Hawks U11 side, this was their first tournament together. Little did they suspect what drama was to come.
They started off with a nervous 5-3 win against a Brookshaw side who would eventually make the semi-final, but all eyes were on their third game. They had recently beaten Hatfield 29-26 in the league, but they raised their game yet further to record a 6-2 victory. They finished the group undefeated with six wins and advanced to the semis.
Their semi-final 8-7 victory against Wodson U11 was the game of the tournament.
With neither shooter missing (Hawks only missed two shots all day), it was eight minutes of the highest quality netball. Hawks were three goals behind at one point but drew level in the dying seconds to force two minutes of extra time. After a further two minutes, still nothing could separate them and the next team to score would win. Hawks passed it calmly up court into their shooter’s hands… every parent and player held their breath.
The ball swished into the net for the golden goal.
The final against national champions Turnford followed swiftly after, but the team had nothing more to give. As they went to pick up their runner-up trophies, you feel that there is more to come from these heroic girls.