Trials test girls’ skills, speed
Youngsters compete for spots in primary rep teams
QUICK reflexes, fast footwork and communication are key skills on the netball court.
The primary schools’ North Burnett selection trials held this week brought together first timers and old hands.
Ainsley Bayntun, 11, has been playing the sport for about four years and showing steady improvement.
She’s progressed from being named Gayndah junior netball’s 2014 most valuable player and players’ player to being the only Gayndah representative on this year’s North Burnett primary schools team.
“I like netball because you meet people there and they’re nice and friendly,” Ainsley said.
“It’s my sport that I like playing.”
A keen touch player and sprint runner, she finds not stepping with the ball easy, but “trying to get in front of people” can be hard.
Ainsley trains three times a week and favours bananas for an energy boost before a game or run.
She capped off this week with placing second in her age group at the Gayndah cross-country trials.
Courtney Bryant has also enjoyed the team sport for about four years.
Her favourite positions are centre and goal attack.
“In centre you get the ball a lot and as GA you get to shoot,” Courtney explained.
“I read an opponent’s moves through shadowing, but this can be difficult – particularly against taller players.”
Monto high jumper Claire Goody said quick reflexes were needed for the game and her favourite on-court position was goal attack.
“The hardest thing to learn is not stepping and not bouncing,” Claire said.
“The easiest thing is throwing the ball to other players.”
Miriam Shepherd is an all-rounder when it comes to footwork.
BUDDING DIAMONDS: Ainsley Bayntun (centre) with Miriam Shepherd (right) at the North Burnett netball trials.
TRIALS: Miriam Shepherd leaps for the ball, shadowed by Ainsley Bayntun at the North Burnett netball trials.
The Gayndah sportswoman has a passion for both long distance and sprint events and was giving netball a go for the first time this year.
“I’m learning how to get in front and get the ball (and) I like moving around the court as well,” Miriam said.
She had yet to decide on a favourite position, but appreciated the skills required for wing defence, wing attack and centre.