Flames show flicker of promise in national Cup

The newly established Peebles Flames
The newly established Peebles Flames

Peebles Netball’s newest team have hit the ground running with an impressive performance in the qualifying stages of the Scottish Cup.

The club has a reputation for the success of its junior teams, but last season, courtesy of a £7000 lottery grant, it launched and began to develop an adult section.

Through come-and-try open nights to formal coaching and skills training, the club gradually formed competitive and recreational structures for any adult wishing to play.

One year later the club boasts five adult teams and a league based in Peebles which has attracted ten teams in total. Peebles Netball itself has doubled in size with half the players now being adults and, for the first time the club has been able to field an adult elite team, the Peebles Flames, coached by Linda Nicholson and team managed by Karen Sinclair.

The team pulls together the top players from across the various adult teams, and has drawn in former junior players who now have a pathway at the club into the adult age group, along with adults who are new to the club. The team is captained by Evanna Holland, news and sports reporter at Radio Borders.

Last weekend the Flames entered the national Scottish Cup competition at the qualifying stages which determines Cup section and Quaich section teams. Ironically drawn against the toughest of opposition for their very first match, the Glasgow Saltires, boasting several international and ex Peebles players, Jo Pettitt, Lauren Tait and Jenny Hudson, the rookie Peebles Flames did well to secure any goals, losing by 34-5 but matching their elite opposition repeatedly across the centre court and penetrating through the tough Saltires defence on numerous occasions.

Their remaining matches were more competitive with a well deserved and hard fought win over previous Quaich winners, Dingwall’s Fyrish Flyers by 16 goals to 14; and a loss after a close first half to a top Edinburgh outfit, Caledonia Netball Club’s first team, by 18 goals to 9.

The Peebles Flames now wait to hear in which section of the Cup they will be placed for the knock-out stages of the competition.

Team: Evanna Holland (Capt) (GD), Kate Thomson (Vice Capt) GK), Becki Botwright (GS), Caroline Connaghan (GA/GS), Emma Connor (C), Hannah Crick (GD/GK), Caillie Douce (C), Flora Gillies (WD), Neve Mclean (C/WA), Anna Miller (WD), Faye Nicholson (WA) and Rachel Nicholson (GA/GS).