After 2 years with no England Netball National Finals, it was with great excitement that the Turnford U16s made the short journey to Redbridge to compete. Having reached finals as undefeated Regional Champions, the squad were excited to see what they could accomplish against the 17 (2 from each region) other top teams in the country. This team had also been regional champions at U14s but Covid meant their national finals was cancelled.
The squad consisted of Darcie Everitt (C), Keira Ferns (VC) Ella Nijkamp, Ashley Buckle, Zenaya Cunningham, Ruby Peacock, Poppy Peters, Alice Patrick, Niamh Westwood, Hannah Gibson, Lily Bridge, Ronni Cripps.
In their first group on Day One, Turnford faced Teignbridge Titans and Weston Park Blades. The squad got off to a cracking start beating Teignbridge 33-17 and Weston 24-17. Having won the morning session, Turnford were re grouped for the afternoon with Northants Storm and Oaksway. Victory in both matches 27-15 and 33-21 respectively meant that Turnford won the group and were through to play for position 1-6 on Day 2. A fantastic start to nationals with all 12 squad members able to take to court.
Day Two saw Turnford grouped with Weston Park Blades and Eagles. Again, off to a magnificent start Turnford took the victory over Blades 31-21. With Eagles also beating Blades, the winner of the Turnford, Eagles game would be in the final and the loser the bronze medal match. The game was a tight affair from start to finish with both teams giving everything they had. Eagles were able to make a couple of crucial turnovers in the final quarter and took the win 22-27.
Devastated to not make the final, Turnford had 2 hours to get themselves back into a winning mentality as there was a bronze to be won.
Stratford Thunderbirds were the opposition for the final match - a talented side who had also only lost once all weekend. Turnford got off to a strong start, winning Q1 8-4 but Thunderbirds fought back in the 2nd quarter with the score 12-10 to Turnford at halftime. A drawn Q3 saw Turnford leading 16-14 and a huge final quarter ahead to fight for the bronze. Turnford dug deep, determined to leave nationals as medalists and took the win 25-19 showing fantastic fight and resilience to finish the game.
Head Coach Liam Ferns said, "I'm so proud of what this group has achieved. Covid cancelled U14 nationals so this was their one and only national finals and they brought their A Game. Every single player played their part in winning this medal for themselves, each other, and the club. I know that they are as proud of themselves as I am of them. A huge thank you also to my assistant coaches Nicky and Courtney, Scorer Chelsea and all of the parents that have played a huge part in the squad's success."