Wales’ under 17 age group had a successful campaign at the Netball Europe U17 Championships 2017, winning a silver medal position ahead of Scotland and hosts Northern Ireland.
Wales drew against Scotland in a nail-biting, entertaining first game on Friday 3 March with 59 to both teams, but lost to Netball Europe champions England on Saturday with a score of 67-37. Their last match against Northern Ireland was played with added pressure, as both Wales and Scotland were in reach of the silver medal, with the winner dependant on the goal difference against Northern Ireland.
Wales v NI was another incredibly exciting game to experience, as both teams worked hard and the score line was close throughout. However, Wales oozed determination and edged away from the opposition, taking a 46-37 win.
Wales U17 centre court player Elysse Haywood, a student at St David’s College in Cardiff, also received the great honour of winning the title of Player of the Championship, sponsored by the Antrin and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the tournament from start to finish, and to be given this award and being a silver medallist too just feels amazing”, says 17-year-old Elysse, who has previously played for Wales U17 and U15.
Eight of Elysse’s team mates received their first cap for the Wales U17 team. Congratulations to Emily Davies, Beca Hughes, Ellie Begley, Gwenno Davies (Captain), Sapphira Fisher, Megan Gareh, Caris Morgan, and Nikita Harris.
After the event, Netball Europe stated that 80% of the athletes at this year’s Championship were new internationalists, making their debut for their country.
Head of Performance at Welsh Netball, Rosie Pretorius describes how the Wales U17 team reflect the talent Wales has to offer:
“The fact that eight of the Wales U17 players received their first caps this weekend and what they’ve achieved reflects the hard work of our athletes, workforce and dedicated Coaches and management staff across the country, in helping us grow the game and inspire success” says Rosie, who recently joined Welsh Netball at the beginning of 2017.
“We are immensely proud of the team and what have they have achieved. It’s extremely exciting to see so much young talent coming through our pathway in Wales.”