When Orange Netball Association made the long journey to Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association last June, they were looking to have fun and play some competitive netball.
However it wasn’t until the end of the second day when the team did the math that the possibility of a top three finish in the Open Championship Division was plausible. So as a group they re-evaluated and made a goal to finish in that trio – but little did they know what that goal would bring them.
At the end of the three-day tournament Orange took home the Pat Weston OAM Country Championship Cup – a trophy presented to the highest ranked regional Association to contest the Open Championship division.
Introduced in 2009, it was the first time that Orange had been awarded the trophy, following their third place finish with 16 wins and five losses after playing against some of the best netballers from around New South Wales.
Trini Allen was part of that 2013 trophy winning team, and has been a member of the Orange side for more than a decade – first as a player and now as Assistant Coach.
Allen said although Orange is competitive they were only “looking to do the best that we could.”
“We have a great team that represents Orange at both State Championships and our Regional State League – a mixture of experience and youth,” Allen said.
“We had a fair idea last year that if we kept it together over the weekend we could do alright. We were aiming to finish in the Top 5, so we were more than happy with where we finished up.”
Allen relishes the opportunity to play against Metropolitan teams and athletes.
“The State Championships just help strengthen us as a side and helps us play with so much more confidence,” Allen said.
“The weekend offers some hard core netball competition – something a bit more high intensity than we are used to, but it’s also great to see friends from other Associations and catch up.”
Orange are returning to the Open Championship Division in 2014, and Allen said they’ll be putting up a battle against other Regional Associations to hold onto the Pat Weston OAM Trophy.
“We definitely want to hit that Top 3 again this year and absolutely we’d love to be number one like every team would like to be,” Allen said.
“If we could get that Pat Weston again it would be a bonus absolutely. But we definitely don’t want to do any less than last year.”
The Pat Weston OAM Country Champions Cup was named in honour of Netball NSW Life Member Pat Weston OAM, who worked tirelessly in the regional netball community including many years as Tamworth Netball Association President.