Sapphire netballers take on the state

• The under 17s team at the state championships are (back, from left) manager Vanessa Bain, Darcie Roberson, Nikki Tarlinton, Virginia Renauld, Maddie Keevers, Natasha Alcock, Mardi Longford, coach Krystle Fowler, (front) Sally Lausch, Lindsay McLeod, Gabbi Johnston, Hannah Mullens and Emily Nawiesniak.

• The under 17s team at the state championships are (back, from left) manager Vanessa Bain, Darcie Roberson, Nikki Tarlinton, Virginia Renauld, Maddie Keevers, Natasha Alcock, Mardi Longford, coach Krystle Fowler, (front) Sally Lausch, Lindsay McLeod, Gabbi Johnston, Hannah Mullens and Emily Nawiesniak.

Sapphire Coast netball was represented by two teams at the State Championships held last weekend at Campbelltown, Sydney.

The opens team faced the daunting task of promotion to division one, or “championship division”, after their successful 2013 campaign. 

The first day saw good results with five wins, one draw and three losses. 

Unfortunately for the locals, day two drew some higher ranked teams such as Gosford, Illawarra, Newcastle and Penrith. 

A memorable game on this day was against the eventual winner, Orange. 

In a physical encounter, Sapphire Coast was defeated by just four goals, showing the ability and determination to mix it at this level. 

After day two, Sapphire Coast finished in ninth position, just out of the top eight, so was unable to playoff for the top spot. 

Therefore, day three provided a chance to try some different combinations and give everyone some more game time. 

Coach Sue Beasley said she was extremely proud of the skills and abilities shown by the whole team.

However, she made special mention of the efforts of the two younger members, Katherine Pacujzok and Kelsea Tarlinton.

The duo were playing in the opens for the first time after coming up from the 17s.

Kelsea only slotted into the team four weeks ago due to injuries. 

At the end of day three, the Sapphire opens finished a solid 11th.  

Meanwhile, the 17s team had 19 games to play over the three days. 

Day one was an extremely good day, with the team ending the day in fifth position. 

Day two also had many wins for the squad, but also a few narrow losses. 

The squad enjoyed a few memorable games on the hard- fought final day. 

Highlights included the  chance to win the game with a penalty shot after the bell against Nelson Bay.

The shot missed, resulting in a draw.

However, against rivals Eurobodalla, there was heartbreak. Euro was successful in scoring after the bell, resulting in a one-goal defeat. 

Coach Krystle Fowler said she was devastated for the girls with that result, but really proud of the girls efforts overall. 

The squad had the second best defensive statistics overall. 

The team finished the weekend in seventh spot.

Local organisers were happy with the solid results. 

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