Triumphant ending to sad season for Gems

Gems had their former captain Rachel Dawson very much in their thoughts as they clinched the North Bridge LC League’s Division Six title.

The team now led by Faye Highley won their title decider against the section’s other outstanding team, Wasps, by 27-18 after leading 11-10 at half time.

They were making it 18 wins out of 18 this season.

Gems had pledged to finish top after the tragic death of Dawson from a heart attack, aged just 33, in mid-season.

Goal defence Dawson had been a key figure in the development of the club, which emerged from the “Back to Netball” campaign.

Highley said her loss had been deeply felt by the other players. They had worn black and purple ribbons in their hair and held a minute’s silence in their first match after her death in the spring.

“We were keen to win it for her,” confirmed Highley, who said Gems had been unable to get out of the bottom division before.

Gems, previously known as Blackbirds, have also had to cope with a couple of players leaving the team in recent weeks

They were tall goal shooter Hannah Goulden and wing attack Emma Bedford.

Emma Schofield has come in to swell their numbers.

Highley said Steph Hunt and Jenny Rose had stepped up to the mark and been joint players of the match in Monday’s finale while goalkeeper Rachel Wickham had also played well.

RESULTS - Division Two: Heath Ladies 17 Runners 24, White Rose 14 Queens 21, ROKT 14 Jets 19, Panthers 33 Blue Mavericks 21, Rockets 20 Robins 19.

Division Four: Falconers 19 Sapphires 22, Old Brods II 19 Twinkles 15, Ravens 4 Emeralds 14, Impact 16 Sparkles 12, Triangle 18 Tommos 12.

Divison Six: Average Joes 3 Ladybirds 34, Barki Belles 12 Pink Fizz 12, Gems 27 Wasps 18, Sowerby Stars 13 Harlequins 14, Diamonds 8 West End Girls 22.