Tamworth U14 girls exceed all expectations

TAMWORTH’S Under 14 girls’ basketball side is treading new basketball frontiers as it prepares for three major basketball tournaments.

Tamworth’s Country Premier League Under 14 girls’ side is treading new courts for the local association (from left) Naomi Monckton, Grace Salter, Jessica Watt, Krystal Booby, Josie Chick, Brianna Zwolsman, Miah O’Sullivan, Sienna Kennedy.  Absent: Ruby Murphy, Phoebe Johnson.  Photo: Barry Smith 200614BSD02

Tamworth’s Country Premier League Under 14 girls’ side is treading new courts for the local association (from left) Naomi Monckton, Grace Salter, Jessica Watt, Krystal Booby, Josie Chick, Brianna Zwolsman, Miah O’Sullivan, Sienna Kennedy. Absent: Ruby Murphy, Phoebe Johnson. Photo: Barry Smith 200614BSD02

The Greg O’Toole-coached side has qualified for the Country Premier League (CPL) Finals at Maitland on July 19-20.

It’s also off to the State Championships at Maitland from August 1-3 and then the Australian Under 14 Women’s Championships in Brisbane from September 29 to Friday October 4.

That’s a load of firsts for a Tamworth Basketball Association (TBA) junior team.

It’s an exciting time for the talented young side which was plunged into the CPL earlier this year.

It became the first Tamworth team to play in the elite CPL after it had decimated rivals in the Northern Junior League.

“It was a big move by the TBA,” team manager Gina Watt said.

“We thought we’d be lucky and win a couple and be competitive.

“But we finished third to Newcastle and Canberra.

“We’ve got a final CPL round at Maitland (July 19/20) then we’re off to the State Championships too.

“Luckily they’ve been moved to Maitland as well so they’re just down the new freeway. That’s great for us.”

The fact Canberra doesn’t play in the State Championships and also attends the nationals in its own right bumps Tamworth up to number two behind Newcastle for the State Championships and gains it a place at the nationals regardless of what happens in the final CPL playoff round at Maitland.

Watt said it had already been an amazing journey for the young side.

She said  O’Toole had been amazingly patient and constructive with the team as well as John Ireland, the State League men’s coach who has also filled in for O’Toole.

“All the parents have been great – given us and the girls girls great support.

“And our referee, Dom Sills, has gone everywhere with us,” she said.

“He has fitted in really well too but the whole thing has gelled so well.”

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