The annual Turnford tournament brings together many of the top junior netball clubs in the country. For the various Saffron Hawks teams, last weekend was a chance to test themselves against the best.
The U10s, U12s and U14s were all agonisingly close to the second place in their group required to secure a semi-final spot. The U10s in particular performed admirably in their first tournament together.
After reaching the final at the Tegate tournament last week, the Hawks U11s knew that sterner tests awaited them in Turnford. They won eight of their ten group games, with a 7-7 draw against group winners Eagles, a 21-1 win against Durham and a 6-3 win against Bury securing second place in the group. They bowed out to the eventual winners Tameside in the semi, but not without a fight. Sarah Higgins was the U11 player of the tournament for her tireless running and intelligent link-up play.
The U15s had a similarly successful tournament. They won four out of their six group games, beating rivals Turnford along the way. After their quarter-final 7-4 victory against Star, they faced the U15s of the newly-created NPL franchise London Pulse in the semis. Pulse are the NPL U19 champions, so the narrow 4-7 loss was an astounding performance. Tia Kaye was the U15 player of the tournament for her defensive dominance and tenacity.
Hawks finished the weekend with a sense of belonging. Competing as equals against such nationally-renowned clubs is incredibly satisfying.