BAHRAIN’S teams that competed in the 33rd Inter-Gulf Netball Championship in Fujairah over the weekend came home with a number of impressive accolades.
Highlighting their campaign, which has been considered as the Bahraini delegation’s best showing in recent years, was the runner-up finish of the Divas team, who were competing in the Social Cup. They made it all the way to their division final and finished in second place overall.
The Bahrain ‘A’ team emerged as Plate runners-up in the Competitive Group, while the ‘B’ team were also Plate runners-up in the Competitive Social division. Both sides were fourth overall in their respective categories.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain ‘C’ team in the Competitive Social division were Bowl runners-up and sixth overall.
Apart from the teams’ successes, two Bahrain players were also honoured for their individual performances.
Mel Goosen from the Divas picked up the Best Player award for the Social Cup, while Asha Samildeen from Bahrain ‘C’ claimed the same award in the Competitive Social group.
The Bahrain Divas were made up of ladies over 35. Joining Mel on the squad were Jacqui Morten-Shepherd, Jo Preocanin, Carol Woodrow, Jo Reed, Helen Hind, Jeannine Wessels, Katy Bailey, Sheron Hujjair and Leanne Simms.
Bahrain’s ‘A’ team featured top talents such as Khulood Al Sabah, Rama Salim, Bianca Jordaan, Ruth Daly, Martine Timmer-Arends, Lauretta Moore, Mairi Maclachlan, Charlotte Collinson, Amani Al Asfoor and captain Kelly Hutton.
Speaking of her team’s achievement, captain Kelly commented: “I am extremely proud of how our team came together to perform well beyond pre-tournament expectations.
“We proved to the current netball powerhouses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi that Bahrain is a force to be reckoned with and should never be underestimated. The future is very bright for upcoming tournaments with some great talent on the island.”
The ‘B’ team, fondly known as “The Beasts”, were made up of a mixed bag of experienced and novice players, as well as late-joiners.
Katie Blaker and Katie Smith were awesome utilities, often playing out of their normal positions to plug any gaps. Nicola McHugh, Vikki Hughes-Swick, Laura Asquith and Nicole Wait were solid defenders, getting some amazing reaches, tips and interceptions to delay or stop the opposing teams from scoring.
Sara Rahim, predominantly goal attack, helped the team out as centre and made many great passes and interceptions. Shannon Barrows and Fiona Palamountain were the two main shooters, converting some brilliant shots as well as playing an awesome rebounding game in the semi-circle.
Anne-Marie Hall had to pull out of playing at the last minute due to injury but still joined the team to support them at the competition.
Asha was a part of the ‘C’ team, which had a number of their key players come from the Bahrain Netball League’s Sri Lanka Club squads. Asha was joined in their fine performance by Clioni Athulwage, Meera Alwis, Gayani Jayakody, Zinha Firzan, Nicole Balkhuysen and Sarah Al Wasaibei.
This year’s Inter-Gulf Netball Championship was hosted by the Fujairah Netball League.