Netball Counties Manukau Region – Lois Muir Challenge 2009
Counties Manukau Region made the decision to enter the Lois Muir Challenge for 2009, after taking part in the finals weekend in 2008. This has enabled the region to deliver “unlimited pathways” for players, coaches and officials. The structure of this competition enabled the Region to expose young age group players, together with the stabilizing influence of senior experienced players to a competition of first class netball, that is played at a high skill level with intensity and speed that the younger players had yet to experience. This competition also helped the younger players prepare for their own age group competition and give them awareness of what is required physically and mentally to take their netball careers forward. The competition started for Wellington, over the weekend of the 28 & 29 March. This first round of competition proved to be a tough weekend, however we did manage to show what we were capable of, with a strong game against Canterbury.Despite the 11 goal loss, we played some good netball. The other 2 games were losses to Cook Straight and Otago. The following weekend we were at home at Strathallan College. It was great to have the home support in the stands, which helped us secure our first win against Bay of Plenty, a great game to start the day. After a shaky start (down by 9) we found some belief in eachother and started to let the ball go and fought our way back into the game, continuing the momentum to win by 3 goals - this showed us all what were capable of. The achievement from all the players was nothing short of inspirational. However it would seem that we did not have a lot left for our second game, we went down to Waikato in the afternoon. After a two week break it was off to Te Awamutu for the third round of competition. We faced North in our first game and recorded our second win. Again we got off to a slow start but were still in the game and at the end of the second quarter some changes were made and we came home strong to win by 4, another strong determined performance by everyone. This time our second game against Auckland Waitakere was not a repeat of earlier days. We started strong and stayed in the game all the way, until injury forced some changes, from which we lost momentum and in the end lost by 9. This time the team proved they could back up a win with strong performance in a back up game. The team could feel very proud of their day’s effort. The final weekend at Rotorua, we were unable to build on the the achievements of the weekend before and we went down to both Southland (who won the Challenge) and Western (finished 3rd) by emphatic margins, which was disappointing to all concerned and not the end that we had hoped for. This team finished in 8th place overall and experienced all the highs and lows that go with a competition of this level. All things considered, they played at times some outstanding netball and represented the Region well both on and off the court. We have all learnt more about ourselves and what is required of ourselves to constantly perform at this level. The one thing that everyone got to see is just what this Region’s players are capable of achieving. A huge thanks to all those involved in any way who contributed to our involvement in the 2009 Lois Muir Challenge.
Dave Booth Co-Coach Lois Muir Challenge Team 2009