GDST Select VII netball team victorious against Leeds Rhinos

Earlier this month, the GDST Select VII netball team played their first ever match together, and emerged triumphant, beating rivals the Leeds Rhinos. The best netball players from across the GDST family were selected to join the team.

Team Captain, Laura Smith, gives a round-up of the team’s triumphant win

Arriving at Leeds Beckett University, on Friday afternoon, was our first opportunity to meet up as a squad, several months after the GDST Netball Rally in Bromley in March 2018 and the follow-up squad selection process at Northampton in June.

After receiving our GDST kit, which certainly started to give us a feeling of real team identity, we began by meeting to discuss our unit aims and collectively devised several set plays, which we hoped to implement in our matches.

Next came a coaching session in preparation for our first match later that evening. We put in a really solid performance to beat a Leeds Rhinos Hub team pretty convincingly 74-11.

The opposition head coach seemed genuinely surprised by the quality of our play, especially when she learned that this was the first time we had played competitively after just a few hours training together. She did however suggest that we get some sleep and recover well, as she promised us a much tougher encounter the following morning.

Later on Friday evening, back at our hotel, we had a great bonding session over some well-earned pizza. It was a really fun and enjoyable experience for everyone, and allowed us to get to know each other even better.

Saturday morning, and the Leeds coach’s promise was realised when we saw the quality of the opposition, with a squad comprised of several Vitality Netball Superleague and Premiership players. Despite this, we were determined to improve on our previous performance and had all arrived at the venue inspired and driven to deliver our best. We successfully managed to achieve this and, after a really fantastic performance from everyone, with a clinical defence and some incredible shooting, all linked by a dynamic mid-court, we came out on top, 53-48, in an extremely competitive game.

Our coaches were brilliant throughout, giving us great advice and tactically rotating the squad to give everyone a chance to make a valuable contribution to the team.

Overall, the weekend proved to be a fantastic experience for all of us and the start of some special friendships across the GDST network.

It was a real privilege to play alongside such a talented group of committed girls.

Well done everyone, and thank you so much to our coaches who were amazing!

I really do hope that this is the start of something extra special for GDST Select VII Netball in the future.