National News

After a day of fierce competition at Bath University’s Sports Training Village, Linden, Imagin8 and Halton Netball Clubs took the honours at the inaugural finals for the Netball UK Challenge Cup competition.

Birmingham’s Linden Netball Club added the Netball UK Challenge Cup title to the National Clubs League (NCL) division one championship won earlier in the year, with an impressive 42-22 victory against former division one champions Hucclecote. Linden came out strongly from the first whistle, with a tight all court defence which caused problems for the young Hucclecote side. Linden’s skill and speed through the midcourt ensured plenty of shooting opportunities for captain Sandra Turner at GA and Mavericks and former England squad member Heather Clarke at GS, while Emma Bliss at GK and Noreen Simpson at GD closed down the chances for Hucclecote’s England U19 shooting combination of Chrissy Munro and Emily Yates.

Meanwhile, in the Netball UK Challenge Cup Plate competition, Imagine8 Netball Club from Warrington took the title with a hard-fought 53-39 win over Purley Netball Club from Surrey. Imagine8’s initially found the height of Purley GS Barbara Taylor difficult to contend with, but the defensive line of captain Jane Thomson, Cat Barwick and Lisa McHendry maintained the pressure on their opposition to force errors, which were capitalised on by shooters Denise McEvoy and Jenny McCall to enable them to edge ahead to secure the win.

For Halton Netball club, near Widnes, the side’s win in the Netball UK Challenge Cup Shield competition was a family affair, with five members of the Gumbs family represented on court during the match! Inspired by an impressive performance at C by Andrea Gumbs, Halton dismissed the challenge of Wiltshire side Pinehurst 37-18 to scoop the Shield in the first match of the day.

Many thanks to all the volunteers involved, and congratulations to umpires Denise Chittenden and Chris Wilson Smith (Cup), Kim Burns and Gary Burgess (Plate) and Mary Stanley and Sue Richards (Shield) for all their hard work in ensuring that the event was such a success.