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Courtney Ferns Blog (29th Mar 2019)

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March Madness ! Courtney Ferns blog for The Netball Show with Mizuno

March is always a busy month in our house – with both my birthday and my dad’s just a couple of days apart.  But birthdays aside – it’s been packed full of netball.

We’ve had three Under 17 Wasps matches this month – starting with Leeds Rhinos, then Manchester Thunder and finishing off with Severn Stars.  We were lucky enough to play two of those matches on the show court at Ricoh Arena before the seniors played Superleague.  It’s a real privilege to play on that court and we are so grateful that the seniors are always there to watch us too.  We definitely work that bit harder to show them what we’ve got!  We came away from March with two wins and a loss (to a strong Thunder side) and had the opportunity to put lots of combinations on court.  We now wait to find out if we have made it into the squad of athletes selected for the U17 long squad ahead of the NPFL tournament in July.

Aside from the U17s matches, we’re also competing in the Wasps Hub League – I’m part of the Bedford squad (coached by Josie Huckle). The format of the league means that all of the Wasps Hubs play each other and then the teams that finish 1st and 2nd in the league get the opportunity to play a final at Ricoh Arena on Saturday 20 April.  The league started back in October so we are into the final few rounds now.  All of the hubs are packed full of talented athletes so the matches are always hotly contested and a great opportunity for more match play.

Early in March we faced the Oxford Hub away – and we put out a strong performance to take the win 60-33.  We then faced Rugby on Friday 22 March – which just so happened to be my 17th birthday.  Again the team put out a great performance with everyone contributing to a great win, 49-20.  That win meant that we had won all seven of our matches so far and had topped the league with a match to spare and taken one of the two spots in the final.

We play our final league match on Saturday – a tough fixture against Walsall Hub and then wait to find out who will join us in the final as there are currently four other hubs that statistically could make it.

In between all the netball I try and play hockey for my club Crostyx as often as I can.  March saw me score my first ever goal for the Ladies 1s – I’m usually a defender so the opportunity doesn’t arise much but this match I got to play a bit at Right Wing!  We took the win 0-3 away at Colchester – definitely made the long journey worthwhile! I also got a green card but we won’t talk about that!

At U19s training last week, we were lucky enough to have a session with Tamsin Greenway.  It was both the toughest and most fun netball training session I’ve ever attended. Everyone was so focused and learnt a huge amount. We all can’t wait for the next one!

March also saw the final of the U19 Schools County Cup which I was lucky enough to be competing in with my school St Edmund’s College. We faced local rivals Broxbourne, with whom we always have really great match-ups.  The opposition also had players who are my teammates at Turnford and Wasps.  The match was played outside during one of the windiest days of the year but it managed to subside a little for the actual time we played.  Finals are always a bit nerve-wracking but we got off to a cracking start going 6-0 up and then both teams settled into the match and played some great netball. I was so proud of the way our team worked together and put out a full team performance to take the win and the cup, 39-15.  This was followed up on Monday by my sister Keira and her school U13 team winning their County Final 43-11.

Since the Wasps Seniors and U21s always make the effort to watch our matches when we play before them, it was great to be able to watch the stream of the University BUCS final yesterday between University of Hertfordshire and University of Birmingham (even though I had to watch the recording later in the evening as I was in Wasps training when it was live).  Both teams had Wasps players, coaches and also players and a coach from my club Turnford. It would have been tough to decide who to support but with my big sis G in the Herts side, the decision was made! It was a really great game but congrats to Herts on the win and to G for 100 per cent shooting stats (40/40).

That’s it for March – it’s been a crazy month, and April doesn’t look like slowing down – netball never stops!