Well, what a season! Jets achieving the goal that our coach, Anna Carter, had dreamed of for many years – qualifying for the Superleague play-offs!
The matches were played at the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Village, seating 7,000. Stepping out onto court in front of a sell-out crowd was exhilarating and personally quite emotional, as I knew that this would be my last-ever Jets match, as I had made the difficult decision to retire from Superleague netball after several years.
The match itself was an exciting battle. Our opponents, Manchester Thunder, wanted to prove that they should have qualified for the Grand Final and that their shock loss to Mavericks the previous weekend was a one-off.
Meanwhile, Jets had to prove that they were worthy of having qualified for the playoffs and that it was our talent which had secured our place.
As the match commenced the atmosphere was electric. Each team took it in turns to claw two goals ahead and then an error made under pressure equalled the scores once again.
At half-time Jets were one goal ahead despite having to continuously battle through centre court to get the ball into our shooting circle. Anna decided to move Butters to Centre and Shaw up to Wing Attack in order to present Thunder with a new challenge. Meanwhile, Skingsley took the WD bib.
Thunder also made some changes to counteract Jets’ defence which had worked well as a unit, taking interceptions and rebounds and causing lots of feeds to be thrown off the back line.
Despite these changes, neither team took a lead and at three-quarter time the score line was 39-39.
Anna decided to revert to the original starting seven, Grierson once again taking the court at WA, but unfortunately for Jets this did not have the desired effect and Thunder won 55-49.
We were all disappointed, as we had wanted to win so much. Possibly our lack of experience playing in such a big game counted against us a little, but next year Jets won’t have that excuse.
It was clear watching the Grand Final – Storm v Mavericks – that our match for third place had been a much closer contest. Mavericks, unfortunately, appeared unable to replicate their fantastic form from the semi-final victory over Thunder and Storm won 56-39.
The presentations were a time to celebrate, especially as Timmy Cato received an award for scoring the most goals during the season and Natalie Haythornthwaite received the Player of the Year Award, which was voted for by the public.
Naturally, they were both delighted and so was the team because once again our supporters have stood up and been counted – thank you!
Being part of a Superleague squad requires 100 per cent commitment – I know I’ve done it for so many years.
As I start my fourth year of medical studies, I have decided, with some sadness, to retire.
My clinical commitments will be too time consuming to allow for the hours of training, and competing in fixtures on week days would be impossible.
It is a shame because, as a player, I feel that I have really grown during my time with Yorkshire Jets.
However, for me, it is important to do one thing well, rather than two things half-heartedly and my lifelong dream has always been to be a doctor.
Fortunately, I get to go out on a high and the success we have experienced this season is a memory I will treasure forever.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and wish the future Jets’ squad every success.
I hope that I’ve managed to give you some flavour of a Superleague season with all its highs and lows, and brought netball more into the public eye.
I look forward to reading plenty more netball and Jets news in the Yorkshire Evening Post in the future as their new number one fan!