THE Borders under-15 district netball squad, sponsored by Hirsel Estate Developments, produced a spectacular display in the Dundee International Sports Complex on Sunday to take the A District championship crown.
The 11 Peebles players making up the Borders squad played the toughest matches of their careers so far, to pull off one remarkable win after another, making their way steadily through qualifying section matches, a semi-final and a nail-biting final.
Ten district teams from Orkney to the Borders took part, showcasing the best netball talent in Scotland at this level.
Borders faced a challenging start to the day, drawing Perth in their first match, just holding on to the win by one goal in the final minutes. Matches against Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen followed, with the Borderers improving with each game, upping the stakes to prepare for the later stages of the championship.
Borders District has been beaten only once this season – by Renfrew – and the semi-final draw against the same team was a chance to turn the tables.
They set about the task with sheer determination, bringing out the very best from the experienced defenders Hannah Crick and Lauren Learmond and rising shooting ace Jenny Hudson, not only securing the win, but running away with the match 25-17.
With Perth also producing the goods in the other semi-final, Borders faced the prospect of a rematch against their old adversaries, this time with Perth desperate for revenge.
Careful selection of the strongest players on the day to take to the court, including three of Peebles’ Under-14 players, youngsters Susanne Krabbendam, Neve McLean and Mhairi Jackson proved to be crucial, with the final two teams appearing evenly matched and the scoreline neck and neck throughout.
Centre Lauren Tait once again stepped up her game to link Borders solid defence to its very fast attack, with all the players keeping cool under mounting pressure.
A break by Borders in the second half provided a sudden four-goal advantage, but a series of obstruction errors gave Perth the chance to claw back level.
But at the end of a long day of top-class competition, fitness began to show, and it was the local players who held their own as Perth started to flail. Another break by Borders was followed by a further goal, and the final whistle gave them the win they justly deserved – a magnificent championship victory against the very best in Scotland.
Borders Under-15s: Ellen Jardine (Capt) (GS), Jenny Hudson (Vice Capt) (GA), Susanne Krabbendam (GS), Nikki Pettitt (GA), Neve McLean/Flora Gillies (WA), Lauren Tait (C), Hannah MacDonald/Mhairi Jackson (WD), Lauren Learmond (GD), Hannah Crick (GK).
Results: Qualifying section: Borders 15 Perth 14; Borders 17 Glasgow 9; Borders 19 Edinburgh 8; Borders 27 Aberdeen 7. Semi-final: Borders 25 Renfrew 17. Final: Borders 15 Perth 13.
Elsewhere, the four Peebles High School teams, coached and managed by Peebles Netball, sponsored by Semichem, have completed their qualifying section matches, placing all of them in the gold section of the Scottish Schools Netball Cup.
All have played and won their respective second round matches. Peebles’ S1, S2 and S3 teams progress to the quarter-final stage, while, after their record scoreline against Eastwood High School, Peebles Seniors have a third-round tie against Renfrew’s Notre Dame to contest.
The match will be delayed to allow for international players Caillie Douce and Jo Pettitt to rest before the European Netball Championships, set to be staged in Dublin this weekend.