Dubbo Netball Association enjoyed the highest of highs and suffered through the lowest of lows at the weekend’s NNSW State Age Championships.
The under 12s side, competing at the state carnival for the first time, was outstanding and finished fourth overall, while the under 14s battled and finished the campaign without a win.
The under 13s and under 15s both had mixed results during their tournaments.
All of the Dubbo sides competed in Division 2, just one step below the Championship division which is often littered with city sides.
“The 12s had an amazing carnival and finished fourth. That was fantastic,” Dubbo Netball Association president Karen Weekes said.
“Coach Kylie McKeown did an amazing job preparing them and getting them ready for their first carnival.
“The 13s did really good and the 14s and 15s struggled but the results don’t reflect the effort and level the girls tried.
“The 14s and 15s are an absolute credit to the association and to Dubbo. They never gave up and every match they worked as hard as they could.”
While playing in Division 2 was an achievement in itself, the goal for the Dubbo association is to work forward and play in the Championships sooner rather than later.
The likes of Orange and Bathurst have sides in the Championship and while some of this year’s results weren’t what Weekes and the association wanted, the top grade remains the goal.
“We’ll go back and review things and there is a representative season review planned,” Weekes said.
They never gave up and every match they worked as hard as they could.Karen Weekes on Dubbo juniors
“If we’ve got to step back to step forward then so be it. But the coaches and me as president have to be more strategic about how we move forward.
“Our youngest team is hitting the top of the mark so we’ll move them up through and we’ll look at preparing sides and how we can refine things as we build-up the girls already in the program.”
McKeown and the 12s side was strategic in the way it prepared for State Age, with each lead-up carefully chosen to ensure the Dubbo players got the chance to take on the type of sides they would go on to meet at the weekend.
It worked for the team, with 13 wins, three losses and a draw recorded across the three days.
There was dominant wins, such as the 22-8 victory over Coffs Harbour, but the majority were narrow victories, like the 17-16 game against the Inner Western Suburbs, a 10-9 win over Hastings Valley and the 6-5 game against western rivals Bathurst.
While that was a highlight for the Dubbo association, Weekes was delighted to see the huge amount of players having so much fun on and off the court.
“They got in with other associations and did the hokey pokey, one night the girls got together and did face masks for a bit of relaxation,” she said.
“The 15s did a bit of a dance to bond together and did the ‘nutbush’ one morning. There was a lot of memories created, just not all on the court.”