Wiltshire Mavericks U18 Girls have qualified for the National Finals to be held in Sheffield on the weekend of the 18-19th April. After a strong performance in the previous round beating Wandsworth Borough, London Lynx and Wessex to top the previous pool the team were in buoyant mood going into the pool matches over the weekend. Finishing in the top two of their pool of four would guarantee a spot in the semi-finals.
The team, captained by England Junior Kate Pearce, got off to a nervous start putting all three of their first serves out. They came back strongly to get their first win of the Last 8’s under their belts with a comfortable 2-0 win over Cambridge. The next match Wiltshire Mavericks faced was against Redhill. The girls knew winning this match would guarantee them a spot in the semi finals. They settled into the match well and showed little signs of the nerves that they showed in the first match. The Mavericks attacks were just too strong for Redhill to cope with. Wiltshire Mavericks took the match 2-0.
With the deciding match against Tameside, and both Tameside and Wiltshire Mavericks through to the finals it was a chance to relax and enjoy the final group match. Tameside on this occasion were just too strong for the Wiltshire Mavericks and they won 0-2. This set up a semi final against Wessex, whom Wiltshire Mavericks had beaten in the prior round. Again nerves came to the fore and Wiltshire soon found themselves down 4-10 down with some erratic service receive. However the team showed great determination and self belief to claw themselves back into the set and they managed to take the set 25-23. The second set saw the Wiltshire Mavericks take an early 1-5 lead. This was brought back to 17-17 but some amazing attacks from the Mavericks and consistent serving from Becky Ashworth saw the Wiltshire Mavericks girls sensationally book their place in the final for the first time in history on the 18-19th April in Sheffield. Wiltshire opponents will be Tameside who overcome Ashcombe in the other semi 2-1.
After the match, coach Matt Stevens said “The weekend has been fantastic. We travelled up on the Saturday and have been training intensively for this event for over 3 months now. Once Rosie Kirk hit the winning smash everyone from our bench just ran onto court screaming in joy. I was so overjoyed and proud of the girls. Their commitment, determination and belief they have in one another is something special. Myself and Luke Wiltshire, who has been fantastic as my assistant coach, are already preparing the next set of training sessions in readiness for the final. The girls will be working hard to ensure we go to Sheffield with the best preparation possible so we can put on a performance everyone connected with the club can be proud of”