Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Israel's national netball team, coached by Carol Levin and Tanya Weil and captained by Brenda Benaim, took part in the European Netball Festival which was held in Malta. The other participating teams were Gibraltar 1 and Gibraltar 2, Sweden, Ireland, Malta and GB, a combined team made up of four players each from Scotland, Wales and England.

Friday June 4th

Game 1

Was it anticipation, was it nerves, was it simply the pressure of playing against an unknown opponent who was also the home team?

Whatever the reason, Israel's play in the first half against Malta was very disappointing. They are capable of far better. In the second half, their play improved and the number of goals scored by both sides was equal. But since they were already down by 5 goals, although the final score of 18-13 did win them 2 points it also took away their hopes of winning one of the top positions at the tournament.

Game 2

In their second match, the Israeli team faced GB, a combined team made up of 4 players each from Scotland, Wales and England. The youngest player on the GB squad was 15 while the oldest was 18 – one year younger than the youngest player on the Israeli squad!

Trained in a rich netball environment, the GB netballers had to fight hard to reach the 5-goal tie at the end of the first quarter. However the GB team controlled the subsequent quarters despite the tenacity of the Israeli players and the skilled shooting by Jodi and Sarah.

Younger and fitter – and as the final outcome proved, the best team at the competition – GB outranked the blue and whites, winning the game by 30-17. This result did gain the Israeli team 1 point for having reached more than 50% of their opponent's score.

 

Sunday June 6th

Game 3

The third and last match before the playoffs was against the Gibraltar 1 team. After two disappointments the girls were absolutely determined to win against the team that they had already beaten at the previous tournament in Ireland 2008.

In the first quarter the two teams appeared to be quite well-matched but the Israeli team played very well and succeeded in pulling ahead to a score of 7-5. In the next two quarters the Israelis continued their success with scores of 14-9 and 20-11 and it was obvious that they were better than their rivals even though in the last quarter they scored only 3 goals to Gibraltar's 4 bringing the final score to 23-15.

Playoff

Up against the Gibraltar 2 team in the playoffs, from the first whistle there was no doubt which team was superior. The Israelis played excellent netball both in attack and in defence, complemented by the skillful shooting of the GAs and GSs. This was reflected in the scores at the end of each quarter which were: 8-3, 18-4, 25-7 and 31-9.

Extras

Bringing any sports team to an international event is a costly proposition: flights, accommodation, food, transport to and from the venue are very expensive. To ensure that all participants (including players, management, and primary carers) were able to receive the maximum benefit from the event, the organisers held workshops that focused on a variety of subjects including match protocols, understanding the rules, bench management, match preparation and recovery, and core strength.

As an added attraction, interspersed between the matches of the participating countries, club teams from Sweden, Ireland and 2 from Malta played a double round-robin of mixed matches.

Alongside the tournament Europe Netball held their AGM and council meetings. At the VIP reception, Jodi Carreira, founder of netball in Israel, was honoured with an award for Outstanding Service to Netball Europe. 

Israel Netball is grateful to everyone who helped make this such a wonderful netball experience!