Sport

Army Crown Inter-Unit Netball Champions

Colchester Garrison took the trophy after a Ellie Nawale-inspired performance during the tournament.

Colchester Garrison have won the Army’s annual Inter-Unit Netball Championships, beating 1 UK Division in the final.

After a second place finish in last year’s tournament, Colchester have managed to go one further, this time helped by the talent of Super League player Sergeant Ellie Nawele.

The Fijian is the latest player to sign up for Celtic Dragons’ 2019 campaign, but she powered through the competition to give Colchester the trophy.

Teams from across the UK were represented in the tournament in Aldershot and places were open to not just serving soldiers, but also people aspiring to serve who have completed further education.

Sergeant Larnie Wagstaff said: "We always come runners-up so I’m really chuffed with this."

In the final, Colchester defeated 1 UK Division by 10-6 and their captain Sergeant Larnie Wagstaff said she is pleased to have won the championship: “It’s fantastic to win.

"We always come runners-up so I’m really chuffed with this.

"It’s brilliant to bring the girls that are developing here and the girls with experience. It’s just a brilliant all-round competition for everyone who are really really friendly. Any level is welcome.”

Meanwhile, despite a potentially great year coming up, Nawele is keen to stress her pride to have earnt her big break through the military sports system.

“We never forget where we started,” said Nawale. “This is where we started from a very low level of netball and look where we are today.”

She said: “We have been exchanging emails from the coach back in Fiji so yeah, fingers crossed. Let’s see what it brings.”

One of the teams in action came from York University Officers’ Training Corps and they got off to a fast start in their game against 3 Regiment RLC, taking a 5-1 half-time lead.

Unfortunately for them, the joy ended in the second half when their opponents came back to knock them out of the tournament with an 8-7 victory.

Officer Cadet Grace Hadfield said she is really impressed with her team's result, considering that they only had "a week or two of training".

Despite the loss, Officer Cadet Grace Hadfield is pleased with the performance of her team and is confidently looking ahead to the future.

She said: “We put a team together quite last minute. We’ve only had about a week or two of training so I’m really impressed with how we’ve done actually.

“Our main competition is Queen’s Cup Challenge. It’s down at Sandhurst and it happens every year in April.

"All the OTCs come together and play sports from rugby, football, tug of war and netball.

"Last year, our team made a big dent actually and got to the semi-finals. This year, we’ve got an even stronger team, so hopefully we can get further."