Inter-island netball returns after four-year wait

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THE netball inter-insulars make a welcome return after a four-year absence this weekend – with Jersey strong favourites to win both the senior showpiece and the overall contest.

Two full days of action are scheduled to take place at Les Ormes, featuring Caesarean and Sarnian under-18s, U14s, U12s, U11 A and B teams and over-30s, alongside the senior A and B clashes.

Most eyes will be on that senior A match, represented by the players of Team Jets who are currently riding high at the top of the South West Regional League I.

Jersey have won the past 14 inter-insulars, their last loss coming in 2006, and they will be confident of continuing their domination on the court. Jersey thrashed Guernsey 63-27 in their last meeting in 2019.

Jacy Brown and Rosie Tonner co-captain the squad of 12, with Emily Green and Leah Griffin the main goal threats for the hosts, who will boast former England captain Serena Kersten (née Guthrie) on the coaching team for inspiration, alongside the long-serving Linda Andrews.

‘It has been a long four years and to have it back up and running is brilliant. It is so needed,’ said Andrews.

‘It means so much to everybody. The girls in three of our age groups – U11s, U12s and U14s – have never played in an inter-insular before and it will be their first competitive match they have experienced. They are so excited and that makes it special.’

In the senior match, Jersey will have the advantage that they play together competitively on a regular basis for Team Jets – something that is absent from the current Guernsey programme, following the demise of Panthers’ senior regional squad. However, Andrews is expecting their rivals to provide a difficult proposition and admits to knowing little about them.

‘I looked at the Guernsey squad and the majority are from the U19 team from four years ago,’ she added. ‘It should be a really tough battle and we will need to think about our principles and adapt quickly to the match.

‘They are not the names we know. Most of them are playing in the O30s team. They will be bringing a lot of fresh faces that we do not know too much about. They will have youth on their side and we have to be smart.

‘It should be a competitive game and a good fixture.’

Jersey’s U18s squad is packed with talent that includes captain Lottie Howe and vice-captain Chloe Lagadu and will be expected to command the court, while Guernsey’s best hopes will come in the O30 match – the one category that they have traditionally had more success over Jersey in recent times.

There will be no U16 contest, though, as Guernsey’s players are fulfilling their regional league commitments.

The U11Bs get the weekend under way at 9.30am on Saturday, with the Senior B contest scheduled for 3pm. Sunday’s action begins wih the U12s at 10.30am and concludes with the Senior As, from 2pm.

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