Premier Division

Route 1 Connection 34,

Manx Fellas 32

The Isle of Man’s first all-male netball team made its historic debut on Sunday against the league runners-up from last season.

In what was always going to be an exciting game, the contest did not disappoint. From the very first whistle, Fellas showed composure and control which resulted in a three-goal streak, settling them nicely into the game.

With co-captains Rob Mason and Stephen Mulhern controlling the tempo from the centre and goal defence positions, the team continued to make good decisions, with Manx Fellas finding themselves with a lead after the first quarter.

The second period saw some excellent defensive work from Katrina Keeling who was constantly battling alongside her team-mate Paige Skillicorn to counteract the height of Fellas’ GS Michael Josem, who was very effective but not without challenge.

But Fellas continued to put on their own defensive pressure resulting in some great mid-court interceptions from Michael Lewis and Michael Pardoe. As such, they managed to hold onto a five-goal lead when the whistle blew for half-time.

Both sides made several changes at the break, some tactical and some objective. Each team adapted to the changes well and the game continued to entertain the crowd that had gathered to watch the first male team playing in the island league.

Connections made the usual move of placing Keeling into the shooting circle which creates extra height and strength in the attacking circle, but it was the movement of Keeling with Eliana Kneen that opened chances closer to the post which the girls easily put up and started to close the gap on Fellas.

The fourth quarter saw some more changes from Fellas, making sure all players got the much-needed court time they are looking for before competing in the UK next season, coupled with some more changes from Connections.

The women’s side, having played together last season, seemed to adapt to the changes quicker than Fellas and closed the gap and took the lead with only minutes to go to win the game 34-32.

The two teams will meet again in the second half of the season and both will believe they can take the win.

This was a brilliant, evenly-matched game which will have got both teams thinking going into the second round of fixtures this weekend.


Simcocks Green Eagles 14, Manx Gems Sapphires 26

Simcocks Green started with the ball, but the play was swiftly turned around by Manx Gems Sapphires.

Gems scored the first goal of the match despite receiving strong pushback from Howland (GK) and Skelly (GD). The first quarter ended with an 8-3 lead to Sapphires who came into the second period as strong as they ended the first.

Baines (C), Jones (WA), and Whalley (WD) fought hard to feed the ball into their attack. There were many interceptions from both teams, particularly from Szetu (GA) and Leece (GK) as the score stood at 5-15 to Sapphires at half-time.

Simcocks came out with fire in the third quarter as Cowley (C) and Craig (WD) used their skills to create turnovers and feed their attacking circle. They were met with strength from Hawkins (GD) and Leece who did their best to fight against this momentum.

The final quarter began with a 9-20 lead to Sapphires. Simcocks shone in this period as Osbourne (GS) and Skehan (GA) worked skilfully together to score more goals past the Sapphires defence.

But it wasn’t enough to close the gap and the game finished 26-14 to Manx Gems Sapphires, with the player of the match award going to Tori Leece from the winning team.

Division One

Suntera Global Ballasalla Drifts 37, Panthers 22

Suntera Ballasalla Drifts started strongly in the first quarter, with sound centre passes from Gemma Collister (C) and feeds into the shooting circle by Janet Lawrinson (WA) ensuring Drifts led by three goals.

The southern side made a change, bringing Freya Skillicorn on at (WA) in the second quarter.

Panthers continued to work hard for the ball, but their shooting duo of Courtney Quinn (GA) and Dani Kelly (GS) were put under pressure by Ballasalla Drifts’ defence of Gemma White (GK) and Georgia Walton (GD).

The score at half-time saw the Ballasalla side leading 14-9.

A combination of continued strong play in defence - particularly by Walton (GD) with some great interceptions, Steph Haslett (WD) who worked hard to restrict play, plus Lucy Radcliffe (GA) and Ciara Jackson (GS) who worked well together in the circle - ensured Ballasalla Drifts increased their lead further in the third quarter to 26-14.

Panthers fought on during the last quarter, but Ballasalla Drifts took a comfortable win of 37-22, with player of the match going to Walton (Drifts).

Division Two

Thompson 3 14,

Ramsey Scarlets 33

Although this was the first match in the Isle of Man Netball senior leagues for most of the players in both teams, there was little evidence of any pre-match nerves when it got underway with the first centre to Ramsey Scarlets.

Thompson Travel 3’s Holly Roberts (GD) and Lydia Wylie (GK) made it difficult for Scarlets shooters Lola Tebay (GA) and Erin Corkill (GS) and, despite some great balls fed into the D by Lottie Stennett (WA), the quarter ended 6-5 to Thompson.

Scarlets then made changes to their line-up, bringing Sarah Nash on as GS and moving Sarah Shaw to WA. Their attackers quickly started to add to their goals after several interceptions by their defensive pairing of Caitlin McAleer (GK) and Dixie Yardley Scott (GD).

Unfortunately, Thompson Travel 3 were a player down and, despite Jess Quigley (C) and Emily Kirkham (WA) working tirelessly to cover the space left by their missing WD, the score at half-time was 12 - 8 to Ramsey Scarlets.

Thompson Travel 3 came out strongly in the third period, applying great pressure in all areas of the court supported by great shooting from Zharah Hewlett (GS), especially when Izzy Wincester (GA) had to leave court briefly.

At the end of third quarter, Scarlets had increased their lead to 18-11.

More changes were made by both teams, but Ramsey Scarlets proved too strong for the six players of Thompson Travel 3.

With the northerners’ Matilde Jackson (C) continuing to make fantastic interceptions, Scarlets were able to convert their turnovers into goals and eventually won the match 33-14. Player of the match going to Lola Tebay from Ramsey Scarlets.