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Varsity Netball: GKT beats UCL 49-20, KCL Lose 60-32

Logo courtesy of KCLSU

Staff Writer, Kate Bent, comments on the performance of the GKT and KCL Women’s netball teams in the 2024 Varsity Series.

It was a night of triumph and heartbreak for King’s College London Netball at Moberly Sports Centre in the annual Varsity match on 16 March as the GKT team resoundingly beat University College London 49 to 20 while the King’s team struggled, losing 60 to 32. 

GKT came out the gate strong and never let up on UCL who only managed to get 5 points on the board in the first quarter to GKT’s 9. 

UCL made a valiant attempt to come back in the second quarter, amping up their defense in the final few minutes but to no avail as it ended 27 to 10, sounding the death knell for UCL’s hopes of a win.

It was a strong passing game, communication and cohesion as team and standout performances from Wing Attack and Captain Grace Harper and Goal Shooter Cleo Yu that helped clinch the 49 to 20 win. Harper also took over most of the coaching duties when their coach suffered a stroke midseason but emphasized that their success was a collaborative effort.  

Both players are third years who said that playing GKT netball was one of the best parts of their university experience. Yu said that it was great to be ending on such a high note. 

“I’m really sad to be leaving,” Harper said. “I don’t want to get a real job and stop playing netball.”

However, it was a different story for the King’s team which despite enthusiastic  encouragement from a packed crowd failed to overcome UCL’s forceful defense and lost 60 to 32. 

UCL played a more physical game from the get go, making consistent interceptions on the KIng’s team. However, King’s kept nipping at their heels throughout the first quarter and ended it only trailing by four goals. 

King’s upped their defensive game in the second quarter and seemed to come together better as a team in the third but it wasn’t enough to pull off a win. 

In spite of the disappointing loss, spirits remained high for King’s.

Goal Defense, Sarah Russell, said she has so much fun playing with the other members of the club that the final score doesn’t matter so much . 

“The friendships you make are friendships for life,” she said. 

Captain and Center, Eva Johnson-Ellis, said that it is a very tight knit group and that it’s a privilege to represent her team. 

“We hope to do them justice even though it doesn’t look it on the scoreboard today,” she added.

Following the match, members of KIng’s rugby who had come out to support a fellow King’s club ran over to the UCL stands waving their signs and shouting “Who CL?” With a fresh victory under their belts, UCL fans seemed wholly unperturbed by the taunts and responded with smiles and a half-hearted wave of a few of their own signs. Both sets of fans left the packed hall having enjoyed a well played night of sport while the King’s team toasted each other in the rain with champagne in paper cups. 

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