Albany dominate netball championships
Albany Netball Association have emerged big winners of the inaugural Great Southern Championships, taking out six of the eight titles on offer at the highly successful three-day event held at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre at the weekend.
The carnival run by Netball WA and their hosts the ANA, attracted 32 teams across the eight age divisions while a boys’ exhibition game was also an exciting addition to the program.
Teams played qualifying games starting as early as Friday night before the grand finals on Sunday decided the seven inaugural champions.
In the open division 1 grand final, Albany 1 and Albany 2 faced off for bragging rights but it was the older and more experienced Albany 2 that started strongly and never looked back on their way to a 16-goal win, 55-39.
The 12-and-under decider went the way of Albany, who continued on their strong recent form winning all games including the all-final 30-11.
Albany were also successful in the 17-and-under division, who despite having only three teams produced some terrific games and in the final Albany were too strong for Narrogin, 63-45.
A very strong Albany side swept all before them in the 15 and under competition, as they trounced Esperance 45-10 in the grand final.
Little separated Albany and Narrogin in the 14 and under division all weekend, Albany prevailing in their earlier encounter.
In the final Albany were able to withstand a gallant Narrogin challenge to win 30-26.
Albany’s other division victory came in the competitive masters with Albany 1 prevailing in a tough battle over Albany 2, 42-34.
Denmark won the closest division of the entire weekend, with the grand final going down to the wire.
Katanning finished on top of the 13-and-under ladder and Denmark edged out Albany by percentage to also secure a place in the final.
Denmark produced a terrific game as they held on in a thrilling finish, 18-17.
The open division 2 grand final was won by Katanning, as they beat Ravensthorpe 63-35.
In other awards from the championships, the three nominees for the volunteer of the year award were Kelly Judd (Denmark), Rosemary Wolter (Albany) and Sally Walter (Esperance) with Walter named the winner.
Coach of the meet was Esperance’s Julie Hawke and rising star coach was Judd.
Esperance were the best-dressed association and Denmark won the sportsmanship award.
Albany’s Maddy Hines was the umpire of the meet and Sarah Curnow was recognised as the rising star umpire. Six national C umpiring badges were awarded including Albany contingent Maddie Deal, Amber Nekel and Lidia Turnbull and Denmark’s Maggie Hardiman.
Hines and Ongerup’s Haylee Morton were award national B umpiring badges as well.
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