Netball: Bra and Methody take on Rugby
There was much talk of rugby in netball circles at the weekend but nothing to do with the happenings on the pitch at the Stade de France. With the Spar Premier Netball League taking a break this weekend the spotlight was on the netball tour of Rugby School where the oval game was purported to begin.
They were being hosted at a venue of similar vintage.
Opened in 1785 Belfast Royal Academy acquired a new Sports Hall which was opened in 1985 to celebrate the bi-centenary of the school and on Friday BRA and Methodist College Senior netball teams took on the girls from Rugby.
BRA coach Vera Heaslip had taught at Methody and the Rugby netball coach was Lara Hampton, one of her pupils.
Vera took the BRA netballers on tour to Rugby last year and Lara was delighted to return the favour this year.
Lara, whose surname could be easily be Croft with her action girl CV, finished her degree at Cambridge, and came back to teach in Downey Prep, loved the games so much she decided to gain a Masters in Sport at Loughborough University.
With all this studying she found time to marry an Englishman, take up rowing and make the England crew who went on to win a bronze medal when the Commonwealth Games were held in England in 2002.
She is enjoying being back in the province for a few days and her colleague Erica Ford stepped in as umpire for the tour.
The opening match between MCB and Rugby was fast and furious with two goals separating the teams throughout. Only in the last few minutes did the visitors take the lead and win by five goals, 14-9.
BRA's team, captained by Sian Darrah, and MCB, with Grace Hully the skipper, played next with a 17-6 win for Methody.
Rugby defeated BRA in the last game and won the triangular tournament and concluded the trip with a practice game on Saturday against the Northern Ireland Under 17 squad at Strathearn School.
Spar league fixtures for Friday Oct 26th
Belfast Ladies vs Laganside, Graduates 3 vs Larkfield, Bangor vs Belfast Ladies 2, Graduates vs Graduates 2.