Mudgee and Gulgong team succeeds on the sand

LIFE'S A BEACH: The team formed of Mudgee and Gulgong players took out third place at the Beach Netball Festival in Wollongong.
LIFE'S A BEACH: The team formed of Mudgee and Gulgong players took out third place at the Beach Netball Festival in Wollongong.

Mudgee and Gulgong ladies hit the sand at North Wollongong for the second Beach Netball Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

In its second year the local team advanced one step further than last year, finishing third out of 32 entrants.

Beach netball is fast paced, played on the equivalent of 1/3 regulation court, five players are on the sand with three interchange. Matches are two 5-minute halves, which doesn't sound much but factor in running on soft sand, up hill.

The local side played eight regulation games, only going down in one match 5-3, putting them in contention for the final.

They were pipped by goals for and against, missing the play off match for 1st and 2nd, but qualified and won a close final match for 3rd. And moving up one place from 4th in 2016.

Shelley Wolthers, Jordan-Rae Moroney and Paige Sales controlled the back transverse area, shutting down any attempts by opposition teams getting the ball back into play. Controlling the middle was Gabby Wiltshire, Briege Bailey and Britt McKenzie. Working the goal scoring area was the unstoppable Beth and Tara Chilcott along with Emily Lynch.

The country players found a second home on the beach, diving for possession across the sand, showing athleticism and determination, and stepping up to the challenge.