Guernsey Press

Sarnians-backed Blaze topple champions on opening night

Blaze are finally competing with fire in their bellies again.

SNC Blaze toppled champions Lightning Strike on the opening night of the new Deloitte Winter League season. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32528329)

Now renamed SNC Blaze A following a merger with Sarnians, they opened their new Deloitte Winter League Premier Division campaign with a 31-26 victory over champions Lightning Strike on Tuesday night.

The Lightning A team were, in their credit, missing numerous core players for the St Sampson’s High duel.

But after limited squad training and availability struggles left Blaze unable to match the front-runners last season, captain Zola Saunders has to take the positives.

  • Listen to a full interview with Sarnians Netball Club stalwart Bridget Yabsley on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘Last year was an absolute write-off for us, so we’re coming in with fresh new players and that just made a massive difference,’ she said.

‘I think we’re going in very positive.

‘After last year, we’re training again and we’re taking it seriously. I want to be contending for the title.’

Their merger is supplying them fresh blood as SNC’s capable youngsters provide additional depth to the squad.

Guernsey U19s McKenzie Rich and Demi Young have made an immediate impact, with the latter earning player of the match on Tuesday.

But perhaps their biggest gain this season is Tillie Graham, a newcomer to the island, who fills a void left by a lack of other centres,

‘She fits in so well – came straight in, got involved and she’s just such a lovely player,’ Saunders said.

  • Read a full match report in Thursday's paper