Saturday 27th February 2016 saw the second North West County Play Day take place at Wright Robinson College in Gorton Manchester.
An unusually late start with a warm up time of 12 noon resulted in our athletes arriving bright eyed, bushy tailed and raring to go with games being split over three indoor courts. Two were on ground level and one on the second floor, which gave an additional warm up experience (mainly for the coaches)!
Directives from England Netball have meant that the selection criteria for athletes into the performance pathway has changed in recent years. Historically, players were selected based on the need to field teams and, therefore, the positional requirements were an overriding consideration in the process, to ensure there was enough cover in all areas of the court. Currently, positional requirements aren't part of the agenda and players are selected on a mix of athleticism, game sense and impact on the game.
Whilst, in theory, this should result in the best players being in the county programme regardless of their position, it brings about different challenges when we do need to field teams at Regional events.
The availability of virtually all our players meant we were able to field four teams this time, as opposed to three on the previous date. Consequently, squad sizes were slightly smaller than last time which meant players were able to benefit from increased court time. However, with a surfeit of shooters in the Satellite programme it did mean that we struggled with cover in the defensive circles.
As such, it was explained to players that they may have to play “out of position” but that versatility is a highly coveted quality in team sport and they all rose to the occasion admirably. Court time was split as equally as possible, allowing for the gaps in court cover, and six games for each team meant there. was plenty of opportunity to put into practice skills that we’ve covered in our training sessions.
Well done to all those who represented Lancashire Academy and Centre of Excellence. Thanks to our umpires, coaches and parents for your continued support.
The next event will be on Sunday 24 April in Cumbria and will involve players from all counties being mixed into teams - always an interesting one!
Results from yesterday are detailed below:-