'Fantastic achievement' for junior Panthers in High Wycombe

GUERNSEY PANTHERS’ long absence from the regional leagues is finally set to end – at least at junior level.

The Guernsey Panthers U16s who qualified for the regional league in High Wycombe. (30923181)
The Guernsey Panthers U16s who qualified for the regional league in High Wycombe. (30923181)

This follows the Panthers under-16s’ successful outing at last Saturday’s regional qualifying tournament in High Wycombe.

After two seasons of heavy disruption from Covid, the youngsters travelled over targeting a place in the Netball South U16 league for the 2022-23 campaign, which starts in September.

Senior coach Heidi Rosamund was delighted with her side’s performance in qualifying following the tournament result.

‘This is a fantastic achievement for the girls – all their hard work paying off,’ she said.

‘The coaching team couldn’t be more proud.

‘We’ve coached most of the squad at island level for a number of years, having previously coached U12 and U14.

‘With Covid hitting, it’s been a real stop-start path for this team while on their performance pathway, so we really couldn’t be happier for them.’

Panthers have not competed at regional level in any age group since the March 2020 lockdown, before which the Guernsey still had a senior representative side, and the U19s recently fell short in a tough qualifying bid.

The U16s’ recent qualifying success therefore marked an important milestone in the return to competitive normality.

There were 24 teams competing on the day in their age group, with only 16 places on offer.

The team played three rounds of four games to reach qualification, with a final round of matches to decide which league the team would compete in – resulting in a Division Two placement for Panthers.

The youngsters have finally earned a small break for the summer, but planning for the coming season has already started.

Rosamund is now calling for support to help cover the expenses of competing regularly at this level.

‘We are very much looking forward to the start of the league in September, but we are struggling for funding,’ she said.

‘We’ve organised fundraisers for the summer and we’ve received some small donations form local businesses, but with no main sponsor to fall back on, we are currently appealing to local businesses that would be willing to support this fantastic opportunity.’

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