UAE Falcons return with silver medal from European Open Challenge

Go down to Republic of Ireland in the final in the four-day tournament in Isle of Man

UAE Falcons reached the finakl of the European Open Challenge on the isle of Man but were beaten by Republic of Ireland. Photo: Vannin Photos
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The UAE Falcons had to settle for second best behind Republic of Ireland in the European Open Challenge but the team management believes they can take a lot of positives from the eight-team competition.

The Falcons went down to the Irish twice, in Friday's Group B clash 51-44 and in the final 55-41 at the National Sports Centre in Isle of Man on Sunday.

The Falcons created history when they won the European Open Challenge in Gibraltar last October but came up short against Ireland who went through the tournament unbeaten.

UAE Falcons

Carly Lewis (captain), Emily Fensome, Kelly Loy, Isabel Affley, Jessica Cronin, Jemma Eley, Jenna Guy, Kate Lewis, Megan Polley, Charlie Preston, Becki Quigley and Sophie Siffre. Deb Jones and Lucia Sdao – coach and assistant coach.

“It’s not the colour medal the team wanted but this young squad showcased some outstanding netball over the four-day event,” Susanne Skelding, the UAE Falcons manager, told The National.

“UAE netball is just four years old, so to challenge countries who have been playing netball since 1976 is a great achievement and to do so with such style and passion is indeed impressive.

“We can only expect more success in future years and we can be excited that in less than a year, this young team have achieved so much, bringing home gold and silver medals from each Challenge event.”

Falcons scored an impressive 298 goals in five games, picking up group wins against Malta and Israel before losing against Ireland.

A 58-38 victory over Group A winners Gibraltar gave the UAE team a second rack at the Irish in the final, but it was not to be.

“We can take a lot of positives forward from the just concluded European Open Challenge,” Skelding added.

“All 12 players got on court over the weekend, four of whom were new caps. The UAE team had targeted a high percentage of centre pass conversions which they achieved with success as well as converting turnovers into goals.”

Updated: May 16, 2022, 7:14 AM
UAE Falcons

Carly Lewis (captain), Emily Fensome, Kelly Loy, Isabel Affley, Jessica Cronin, Jemma Eley, Jenna Guy, Kate Lewis, Megan Polley, Charlie Preston, Becki Quigley and Sophie Siffre. Deb Jones and Lucia Sdao – coach and assistant coach.