Premier League Netball is the highest level of club netball in the country and the teams that make up the 3 divisions have come through a gruelling county, regional and national pathway to take one of the coveted 30 places. Having won their place by winning the North East Regional league, Riverside had to overcome Loughborough, Billericay and Eagles with 3 victories in their group to set up a winner takes all final playoff against Aquarians at the end of the grueling 2-day schedule. This was a nail-biting affair, going goal for goal all the way and the teams couldn’t be separated at the end of normal time with the score 30-30. So extra time was needed and although the scores remained level 36-36 at the interval, Riverside raised their game in the closing minutes to take a stunning victory 42-38.
Captain Alex Wood said “I’m so proud of the girls. We really had to dig deep in the second half of extra time, especially after playing 4 full games in 2 days. But we mustered the energy from somewhere, our team spirit is so strong and I think that got us through to take the victory.”
Coach Deborah Percy added: “This is a remarkable achievement for the club. It is something we have been aiming for and having the chance to test ourselves against the best teams in the country next year is fantastic. It is a great opportunity for players and young talent from Tyne & Wear to progress into national-standard club netball, something that has been missing in our County previously.”