THE Muswellbrook Netball Association produced a gallant effort in elite company at the 2019 HART Senior State Titles in Sydney over the June long weekend.
The Sarah Southcombe-coached under-17s finished fifth overall in division two, against 20 rivals, while the Ian Ingle-mentored under-15s secured 11th spot in division three.
Kristy Roach's opens squad, which boasted a mixture of young and experienced players from Muswellbrook and Singleton, claimed 19th in the highly-competitive second division.
The under-17s started their campaign slowly, losing to Great Lakes (25-13) before rebounding against Shoalhaven (27-12) and Southern Highlands (18-11).
The girls then experienced a mixed bag, accounting for Hawkesbury City (18-13), Maitland (21-13), City of Sydney (25-12) and Hastings Valley (20-16); succumbing to Charlestown (26-19), Bathurst (24-21), Inner Western Suburbs (25-22); and sharing the honours with Barellan and District (20-all).
But, they ended in a blaze of glory, beating Westlakes District (25-18), Tuggeranong (33-7), Blacktown City (20-19), Ballina (23-14), Dubbo (21-13), Baulkham Hills Shire (33-18) and drawing with Griffith (15-all).
Muswellbrook's under-15s registered victories over Lower Clarence (14-13) and Leeton (25-13), as well as recording a five-match winning streak at the expense of Kiama (18-11), Mudgee District (23-12), Dubbo (19-15), Sapphire Coast (22-13) and Casino (22-16).
However, defeats at the hands of Inverell (21-14), Nelson Bay (21-7), Tumut (27-24), Great Lakes (22-15), Queanbeyan (21-20), Woolgoolga District (14-12), Southern Highlands (20-13), Singleton (13-9) and Shoalhaven (27-19), and 18-all fixtures with Tamworth and Port Stephens, really hurt their momentum.
The opens, contesting the top grade for the first time in many years, were far from disgraced either.
Facing 24 opponents, they racked up five impressive triumphs - Mount Druitt (23-17), Cobar (25-10), Eurobodalla (18-12), Cooma (19-15) and Gunnedah (14-11).
The side also dropped six games by less than three points, falling to Glen Innes (19-18), Ballina (17-16), Port Stephens (18-16), Shoalhaven (20-19), Lake Cargelligo (13-12) and Grafton (19-16).
So, the coaching staff can be well-pleased with their three-day performance.
Formerly known as the Netball NSW State Championships, the tournament featured 180 teams from 89 associations.
Three sets of NSW champions were crowned with the division one winners in each respective age group (opens, under-17 and under-15) taking the titles - Newcastle, Penrith and Liverpool.
Campbelltown Netball Association hosted divisions one and two of the opens, under-17s and under-15s, while the Camden & District Netball Association staged games in divisions three and four of the under-17s and under-15s.
There was further success for Newcastle, who won the Weston OAM Country Championship Trophy, awarded to the highest ranked regional team in the top opens category.
2019 HART Senior State Titles
Opens division 1 - winners: Newcastle; runners up: Manly Warringah
Opens division 2 - winners: Ulladulla & Districts; runners up: Maitland
Pat Weston OAM Country Championship Trophy: winners: Newcastle
17/U division 1 - winners: Penrith District; runners up: Ku-ring-gai
17/U division 2 - winners: Barellan & District; runners up: Inner Western Suburbs
17/U division 3 - winners: Brunswick Byron; runners up: Coffs Harbour
17/U division 4 - winners: West Wyalong; runners up: Narranderra
15/U division 1 - winners: Liverpool City; runners up: Penrith District
15/U division 2 - winners: Ballina; runners up: Illawarra District
15/U division 3 - winners: Shoalhaven; runners up: Nelson Bay
15/U division 4 - winners: West Wyalong; runners up: Kurri Kurri