‘Good connections’ are forged with Isle of Man

A FULL HOUSE of four wins made sure the touring Sarnians returned from their Isle of Man air-bridge trip in high spirits.

But finding off-island competition this early was a success in itself, with Panthers set to skip the next South League campaign and nearly two weeks remaining until the delayed domestic Winter League starts.

This welcome opportunity had sprung from an invite for the Guernsey men to play their freshly-inaugurated Manx counterpart team – yet several female players jumped on the opportunity and formed a special Guernsey Together Ladies side.

The men and women played two 4x12min. matches apiece at the National Sports Centre and, by the end, netball stalwart Gill Queripel admitted they were ‘all running a bit empty’.

Yet both men’s coach Queripel and the women’s captain, Charlotte Hill, felt it was thoroughly worthwhile.

‘It’s nice to give the players something other than local netball, which is great,’ said Queripel.

‘We have forged good connections with the Isle of Man, and we want to make it an annual fixture,’ she added, while confirming that a return match sooner than that is a possibility.

Her men started in particularly commanding fashion as they triumphed 52-12 against some relatively under-cooked Manx opposition.

The experienced Sarnian players, working alongside two relative newcomers in Torryn Armstrong and Niall Hollingworth, proved too well-drilled for a rival side with just months of training and no games prior.

Queripel nevertheless identified several talented players who, given time, could trouble Guernsey in future encounters.

The Guernsey men backed this up with a 38-29 win against the Manx Rams ladies.

Influential centre Karl Abbotts, sharp goal-attack James Robert and the defensive father-son duo of Richard and Jack Medhurst were particularly noteworthy performers throughout.

Meanwhile, the Guernsey Together Ladies, a blend of 11 players from several Winter League clubs, emerged the better from two closer contests.

Within a roster featuring relatively few Panthers regulars, several less familiar faces made their mark in a 33-24 opening win against a youthful Manx Cats side.

What followed was a fine come-from-behind victory against the Vikings, a mix of U19s and seniors who had led from early on and hit the final quarter still two ahead.

The superb shooting of Emma Mills proved particularly handy as Guernsey stole the lead and reached the final whistle leading 28-26.

‘It was classic Guernsey – we like to come from behind and really fight for it,’ said Hill.

‘We did not really go over with many expectations and it was not our full Guernsey or Panthers squad at all, so it was a bit of a mix of players.

‘It was nice to give some of the girls who have not trained with the Guernsey island team before the opportunity to come away and play that level of netball.’

Hill’s centre-court presence along with Ella Staples, Donna Brehaut, Steph Batiste and Abbie Greening nevertheless ensured they had tried-and-tested representation from island regulars in each third.

The captain also sang the praises of defender Viv Kemgne, who has continued to develop since debuting for Panthers last season, and of late addition Jane Williams for bringing the ball nicely through the court.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News