The UAE Netball team returned to the international stage with a bang as they claimed the gold medal at the Europe Netball Open Challenge last week in Gibraltar.
The squad, which included five members of Dubai PE staff and four school students, won every match on their way to glory in the event which rounded off a successful six months of preparation ahead of the tournament.
The Falcons’ road to victory started against Gibraltar, with a 49-34 win over the host nation. A second win over tournament favourites Isle of Man (59-52) led the team to a subsequent comfortable win over Switzerland (93-31).
In the final match of the weekend, UAE secured their fourth win of the weekend against Malta by a convincing 24 goal margin, with the final score 57-33 to the Falcons.
Susanne Skelding, The Falcons Team Manager and Head of UAE Netball commented:
“The UAE Falcons, management and players are thrilled with this weekend’s performance. The past six months’ hard work and sacrifice have paid off and we are proud of our achievement. To take overall victory against teams ranked way above us was unexpected but the girls put out an incredible performance, keeping calm under pressure and pushing on to take convincing wins.”
Dubai’s school were incredibly well represented in Gibraltar, with five teachers and four students representing the Falcons on the international stage:
Carly Lewis (Kings’ School Al Barsha)
Jenna Guy (Kings NAS)
Rachel Tuckey (JESS)
Hannah Southam (Jumeirah College)
Megan Polley (Jumeirah Primary School)
Charlie Preston (Dubai College)
Nicole Sproul (Dubai English Speaking College)
Sophie Siffre (Dubai College)
Kate Lewis (Dubai College)
Carly Lewis – UAE Captain, ex-Wales international player and member of staff at Kings’ School Al Barsha – was incredibly proud of the achievements of the squad, many of whom experienced international competition for the first time.
Lewis said: “We have a young squad with ten out of the twelve players gaining their very first caps in this competition, but they really stepped up and showed themselves to be solid throughout the tournament.
“It’s great to see the younger players coming up through the pathways on offer and to represent the Falcons. In taking the gold and reflecting on our overall performance during the competition, I feel we’re really putting the UAE on the sporting map in terms of the calibre of netball we are producing.”
UAE Netball is a non-profit organisation that oversees the continuous growth and education of netball in the Emirates for women and girls of diverse abilities and cultural backgrounds. The Association aims to raise the profile of netball in UAE and the Middle East; unite netball communities across the Emirates and partner with the wider network around the world to bring international netball to compete in the UAE, enabling women here to create their own sporting legacy.
Europe Netball is the governing body for the sport in the European Region which incorporates the UAE – the only Arab member country – and twelve other members: Denmark, England, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Israel, Malta, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales.
Featured image credit: Noelle Laguea