The finals bring together the top eighteen teams from across the whole country, and for two squads from one club to reach this stage is a notable success.
The under 16s played superbly to finish top of the Regional group having won all seven of their fixtures—six of them by ten or more goals. The squad includes Hannah Raine and Tasha Grylls, both of whom have made National Premier League appearances for Grangetown this season, and Annike Jinadu, who has recently earned the opportunity to attend training with England’s under 17 squad.
The squad’s coach Ria Small was understandably delighted: “Not only are we going to the National Finals, but we are doing so as the best under 16 team in the north east. I couldn’t be prouder of each and every member of the squad. The girls have shown dedication, determination, grit, and most of all an abundance of talent. It’s a fantastic achievement, which they have all thoroughly deserved. The National Finals are being held on April 30 and May 1 at Sport Central in Newcastle upon Tyne; we’re thrilled to have qualified, but now it’s time for the hard work to continue.”
The under 14A players face a considerably longer journey for their age group finals, which are due to take place in Essex on May 28 and 29. The squad won six of their seven Regional League fixtures and qualified as group runners-up; and the strength of Grangetown’s junior set up was amply demonstrated by the club’s under 14B squad also reaching the Regional finals. “This year is the first time we’ve had two teams qualify for the under 14 Regional League,” commented the squads’ coach Faye Summerhill. "Both sets of girls have trained really hard and I am proud of all of them for the progress they’ve made during the competition. The A team didn’t always play to their full potential, but still managed to win games. At their best though, they were outstanding and capable of outclassing opponents with their skill and athleticism. It’s a while until the finals, but we’ll keep training hard and make sure we’re at our best in Essex. The B team has a lot of promise and did incredibly well to reach the Regional League. A few primary aged players made their debut and acquitted themselves really well. This squad is about developing new and exciting talent and building for the future, and this experience has made a massive difference.”
Grangetown under 16 Squad: Hannah Raine, Natasha Grylls, Annike Jinadu, Kirsty Weledji, Tilly Skidmore, Alex Elwine, Savannah Lloyd, Emily Haley, Chloe Roebuck, Abbie Wilson, Rebecca Herlingshaw, Megan Kavanagh, Olivia Aston, Catherine Hewitt, Safy Diarrassouba
Coaches: Ria Small, Sarah Sainty
Support Team: Julie Haley, Claire Willett
Grangetown under 14A Squad: Jessica Moore-Greenwood, Lauren Dixon, Tamsin Canham, Nicole Carne, Elena Bausor, Maddison Hockburn, Kimberley Briggs, Lacey Harvey, Catherine Hewitt, Safy Diarrassouba, Scarlet Hudson, Shannon Murray
Grangetown under 14B Squad: Katharine Barrett, Ellie Tweddle, Estelle Matthews, Ruby Whitney, Maisie Canterdale, Cheri Darley, Emily Burnett, Sophie Ward, Maia Bausor, Erin Wilson, Maria Chambers, Alexandra Webb, Lucie Skidmore, Ashleigh Dixon
Coaches: Faye Summerhill, Nicki Canham
Team Managers: Steve Wilson, Val Canterdale
By Richard Kirby @gtownnetball