Tameside are crowned Under 16 champions
Wednesday 3rd May 2017 @ 11:19 by Mark Phillip
Sports

Tameside Netball Club’s Under 16 squad were crowned national champions this weekend.

Coached by Lauren Palmer, the squad beat Eagles Netball Club 30-26 in Redbridge, Essex, on Sunday.

The squad – which has secured back-to-back titles in both the Under 14 and Under 16 division – were presented with their trophy on Monday evening at the Netball Superleague fixture between Manchester Thunder and Northumbria.

Having coached the girls since they were eight years old, Palmer, 25, described the victory as amazing. She said: “I’m still in shock to be quite honest – I don’t think it has actually sunk in what we have achieved.

“To win it in the dramatic circumstances we did was just amazing and will take a while to process.

“But i am so proud of my girls, they dug deep when needed and pulled off a memorable win.

“I have always dreamed of winning a National Title, as i was never that successful as a player. So to go on and win it twice as a coach is unbelievable.”

 

Tameside received the trophy on Monday evening at Manchester Thunder’s fixture against Northumbria.

Such is the quality within the squad, the girls have only lost three tournaments in eight years – something Palmer is impressed by. She said: “I’ve had this bunch of girls since they were eight years old and to watch them grow has been a pleasure.

“They have only ever lost three Tournaments in eight years and have won title after title, so that just shows how consistently they perform.

“They have a winning mentality, incredible friendship bonds and outrageous skill which is why they won – and deservedly so.”

Despite claiming victory on the day, Tameside were pushed to the limit on Sunday and were forced into a period of extra time.

The nail biting encounter was described by Palmer as ‘brilliant’, although she did admit to feeling sick in the final stages of the clash. “The game was brilliant and a great ending to the tournament” said Palmer, who previously attended Audenshaw Sixth Form.

“We were like an away team as all the supporters in the building were cheering Eagles on.

“We were down most of the match, and were three down with about two minutes to go, but then a brilliant turnover from Ellena Newton sparked our comeback.

“We pulled three goals back in quick succession to take the game to extra time.

“The momentum was in our favour at this point and we went on to win 30-26.”

She continued: “Nervy doesn’t cover it. I felt physically sick and couldn’t bare to watch some of the play in extra time, but that feeling at the final whistle was incredible.

“Such scenes of joy and pure emotion, as we knew all our efforts had been rewarded.”

Although victory was just reward for a fantastic team effort, Palmer reserved special praise for team captain and England player, Ella Standring. Questioned if she has a bright future in the sport, Palmer said: “Ella was a superstar this weekend, a true captain and leader on court.

“She has only recently returned from a back injury so to deliver the performances she did was incredible.

“She has been great to work with over the years and has the potential to go all the way, but i know how much she loves taking to the court with her best friends from Tameside NC.”

Although Sunday’s victory marked the last time that the girls will represent the club at junior level, Palmer is hoping that they will stay on to represent Tameside in the senior ranks. “The team will always be friends and stick together as best we can” said Palmer.

“No team at Tameside has ever retained their National title so these girls have a bright future at the club.

“It’s always tough to progress from Juniors to Seniors but hopefully the girls will stay on and represent the club, as they have done so successfully thus far.”