Balla end CRHS's 21-yr dominance

in Netball

Since its introduction in 1996 there has been only one winner of the Joan Whitehead Trophy - Castle Rushen.

Its senior netball team have dominated in a way that is unparalleled in Manx school sport.

But, after 21 years, there was a feeling that this was the year for change and so it proved to be.

Ballakermeen took to the court last Thursday afternoon at the NSC for this season’s senior final with its strongest team for many years, and with great hope of claiming the title.

The first quarter was fairly even with both defences, Vicky Watson and Alex Honour for BHS and Anna Monroe and Maylyn Campbell for CRHS, on top form.

Castle Rushen, sensing the threat of Gemma Kirkham, double marked her for the entire game, but Rachael Deighton utilised the resultant space superbly and by the end of the third quarter the Douglas side led by nine points.

However, the defending champions were not about to relinquish their crown easily.

The effort expended by the Ballakermeen centre court players Lizzie Beard, Ellie Hughes and in particular the player of the match Lydia Shaw had taken its toll and five unanswered points at the start of the fourth quarter by Ciara Danes and Dionne Wall led the CRHS supporters to believe that a comeback was possible.

It was not to be though, and as the final whistle went, Balla triumphed 31-27 to ensure that a new name was to be engraved on the shield this year.

The game was played in an excellent spirit throughout, umpired admirably by Bethan Kneen and Claire Battye and attended by a very large crowd from both schools.

Credit to both Jody Astin and Ashley Hall for coaching their teams to such a high standard, and thanks to the NSC for the use of the sports hall.

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