FOUR years had passed since the last netball inter-insular.
The Covid pandemic – and the now-common logistical problems that exist for inter-island travel – had forced its absence.
Its return could not have been more welcome and Jersey dominated the weekend’s action, winning seven of the eight matches ranging from under-11s to seniors and the over-30s.
But the smiles on the faces and the excitement of everyone involved was the main story here.
While partisan rivalry was taking a hostile turn in Guernsey for the Junior Muratti, at Les Ormes the mood was a lot more celebratory.
‘It’s really important to have these fixtures,’ said Serena Kersten, the former England international enjoying her first inter-insular as a coach. Everyone else enjoyed her presence too, with starstruck Sarnian players looking for a post-match selfie.
‘It’s huge for us. It’s Island pride, Island colours, and getting netball visible at the highest level on the Island,’ she added.
Kersten was impressed too with how all the Jersey teams performed – none more so than her charges in the senior A team, who were ruthlessly efficient in their 74-27 destruction of their rivals.
They started at a furious pace and never let up, strangling the life out of Guernsey with fluid passing and movement, clinical finishing under the net and proactive anticipation in defence forcing the turnovers.
Jersey towered over their opponents, both literally and figuratively. Emily Green (GS) and Leah Griffin (GA) rarely missed an opportunity to score and when they did Green was on hand to mop up the rebounds and make sure for a second time.
At the other end, Jersey were alive to everything to snuff out the danger. Jodie Blampied and Lauren Devine read the game so well and were quick to make snap interceptions. On the occasions that Guernsey got past them, they had the even more difficult challenge of getting past player-of-the-match and Jersey goalkeeper Kat Le Riche to try and score. And they failed more often than not.
Meanwhile, in the centre, co-captain Jacy Brown buzzed around the court, dictating the play and the tempo of the game, while the other co-captain, Rosie Tonner, sought pockets of space that helped link each attack.
Rarely was a foot put wrong.
‘It was a really dominant performance from the girls and I was really proud of how they kept at it,’ said Kersten.
‘It’s a big season for us and we’re aiming high. We’ve got a strong squad and I was particularly impressed by Kat Le Riche and Lauren Devine. I think they were excellent.’
The only game Jersey lost across the two days was the one prior to the main event, when the U18s lost 52-45. That prevented a clean sweep but Kersten was also encouraged by their performance.
‘We had three or four U16s playing in an U18 category, so the future is really bright for our youngsters,’ she said. ‘It’s great that we were able to give the kids the exposure they deserved this weekend.’
The U11Bs kicked the weekend off with a comprehensive 16-2 win, which was followed by a tight battle in the O30s, Jersey nicking it 39-37. The U14 and U11A matches were both lopsided affairs – 51-8 and 30-4 respectively – as was the U12 match, which Jersey won 42-6. In the senior B team match, Jersey won 55-29.
Open A: Jacy Brown (cc), Rosie Tonner (cc), Aimee Bourke, Becca Forrest, Emily Green, Jodie Blampied, Kat Le Riche, Lauren Devine, Leah Griffin, Maddy Fitzgerald-Wilkins, Nicole Goddard, Toni Chaytor.
Open B: Toni Chaytor (cc), Nicole Goddard (cc), Aimee Bourke, Gabby Scott, Georgie Ruellan, Katie Doyle, Lauren Mills, Lottie Howe, Maddy Fitzgerald-Wilkins, Mollie Luce, Molly Ryan, Sophie Harvey.
O30s: Michelle Nelson (c), Rena Nelson (vc), Alice Godfrey, Ella Vieira, Emma Wilton, Harriet Simon, Holly Gilbert, Kay Graney, Rebecca Lever, Siobhan Le Moignan, Stacey Livingston, Tara Parker.
U18s: Lottie Howe (c), Chloe Lagadu (vc), Daisy Dunn, Emily Le Gros, Helen Blackstone, Katie Henman, Layla Dos Santos, Maddy Gott, Talia Bevington, Taylor Mai Dixon, Thalia Fletcher.
U14s: Poppy Hughes (c), Molly McKeon (vc), Anais McDermott, Emily Dove, Florence Allo, Grace Thomson, Isla Rafferty, Lacey Dickson, Roxy Dickson, Sophie Thornton.
U12s: Scarlet Le Fustec (c), Florence Kelly (vc), Autumn Carro, Bethannie Wood, Esme Hargreaves, Lexi Edward, Mae Griffiths, Paloma Farnia Richings, Rosie Holbourn, Sophia Goddard.
U11A: Scarlet Murphy (c), Priseis Grenyer (vc), Amelia Gaudin, Amelia Smyth, Annabelle Slack, Laura Goddard, Libby Parris, Lila-Rose Murphy, Minna Hardman, Winnie Young.
U11B: Florence Williams (c), Adele Payn (vc), Adria Le Main, Aimee Ollivro, Amber Grime, Isabella Strong, Kasia Hughes, Lucie Bellew, Lucie Jedda, Phoebe Sabiston.