NETBALL: All the magic of the cup – Newnham snatch victory from Murray Edwards on an exciting day of action on the courts.
Newnham have been crowned Netball Cuppers Champions for 2012. In the process, they have avenged last year’s narrowest of defeats and showcased some of the sparkling performances they have produced all term.
Newnham were hotly tipped going into last weekend’s tournament as they have been posting impressive league results all term. They managed to progress through the morning’s group stages and a win in the first round of the knock-out stages set up an intriguing semi-final against Queens’.
Queens’ themselves have put in some strong performances in the league this term and also had one eye on cup glory. Propelled by enthusiastic captain Gayle, the team made serene progress through the group stages, thanks in part to the versatility of Harley who moved from the wing to goal attack with great skill.
A strong performance against John’s in the quarter-finals set-up the clash with Newnham. In a battling performance, Queens’ tried to keep level with Newnham throughout the match, but a skilful and ruthless Newnham attack proved enough to knock out a high spirited Queens’ team.
In the other half of the draw, all eyes were on the experienced sides of Downing and Murray Edwards who both made their way towards a semi-final clash. Downing sailed through the group stages to then produce a pulsating victory against Jesus in the quarter-final with a strong shooting display from the duo of Fran Thornton and Call Harris. Murray Edwards also secured a safe passage to the semi-finals, beating Tit Hall along the way in the quarter-finals.
The semi-final was tense as both sides produced some of their best form of the tournament. Despite the efforts of Downing goal attack Fran Henson, Murray Edwards managed to maintain the ascendancy and power through to the final.
The final was a thrilling affair and this was reflected in the narrowest of score lines as Newnham edged it 15-14.
Murray Edwards were able to achieve the dream start, scoring twice in the first minute, but Newnham produced a champion’s comeback and by half time found themselves four goals up. But Murray Edwards showed a never-say-die attitude and were able to restore parity in the last ten minutes with excellent defence from Eliza Lefroy and Laura Gell. Lefroy would later be rewarded with the Woman of the Day Award for her work in defence.
It set up a dramatic finish as both teams searched for the winning goal. However, both defences seemed to remain strong – despite Murray Edwards’ movement up front from Tucker and Dalgleish, they were ultimately left frustrated by the Newnham defences. It went down to the last centre pass, from which Newnham held onto the ball and were able to score the goal which handed them the trophy.
Photograph by Maya Beano