sports gazette

Charity netball tournament a huge success

teams at St. Mary's University charity netball tournament last Friday © Pietro Palladino
Published: 11 Nov 2013

A number of Sports Gazette writers dusted off their trainers to take part in the University charity netball tournament last Friday, proving they can't just write well about sport, they can play it too.

On the 8th November, St. Mary's netball club hosted a charity tournament in aid of Emma's Bubble Trust. As a keen netballer I saw this as the perfect opportunity to show my course mates just why I love the sport so much. I managed to persuade a group of my sports gazette colleagues to enter a team although I think it may have been the promise of a pre-match Nandos that swung it.

With ten teams taking up the challenge, it was an undisputed success. The tournament raised £101 for the charity, exceeding the Athletic Union President Pietro Palladino's target of £100 and representatives from the charity, who were present, were delighted with the turnout.

In a closely fought final, which showed netball at its best and which once player commented 'carried more pressure than a BUCS match’; St. Mary's Netball 1sts narrowly pipped the 'Old Girls' consisting of previous St .Mary's netball players, 8-7.

Whilst the final was a serious affair with pride and bragging rights on the line, the real entertainment came in the pool matches, where players who had never played, or whose sole experience of netball stretched back to the days of primary school sports,took to the court once more.

With two pools of 5 each team played matches lasting six minutes. These were six minutes of fast, frantic action with a certain leniency to the rules, in particular footwork and non-contact! In pool A team Sports Gazette, who were secretly relieved not to be in the pool with the team of rather intimidating, lycra and bandanna clad boys, lined up against the Netball 1sts, Netball 3rds, Team Sports Science and Team SU.

 Whilst we didn't emerge covered in glory, we certainly didn't disgrace ourselves. Once a number of our players began to understand you couldn't run with the ball, and no, you can't just chuck it from one end the court to another, some of the play was actually quite impressive. We scored one win, counteracting the physical tactics of Team SU, to emerge 2-1 winners. We also pushed the netball 1sts close with the eventual score being 6-3. A number of Sports Gazette players debated the final score; however as team captain I reminded them that the official’s decision is final!

Sports Science were the surprise package in Pool A, with an experienced goal shoot and distinct height advantage, their alarmingly fast play and causal, one handed slinging passes took them all the way to the semi-finals where they lost against the 'Old Girls'.

Special mentions have to go to a number of Sports Gazette players who hadn't played netball since Primary School, or in the case of Giulio Gasparin, had never heard of the sport until I started bleating on about it in lectures. Simon Collings who despite looking terrified every time he received the ball, discovered he had quite the talent for Goal Shooter and provided the best quote of the evening, which as a netball-lover made my heart sing. He turned to me and said: "It really is the ultimate team sport, isn't it." Yes Simon, it is.

Huge congratulations have to go the St. Mary's netball club and AU President Pietro Palladino for organising the event and making it such a success. The aim now is for a sports club to host a charity tournament every month and, with our competitive instincts well and truly lit, the Sports Gazette team is looking forward to further demonstrating its sporting prowess and supremacy.

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