Extended Tryouts for Israel's Netball Team Ahead of European Championship Debut

'Team is made up of girls from Junior Maccabiah, some who played in the world youth championships, and some who played in seniors, so it’s a beautiful mix.'

Emil Salman

Ahead of its debut in the European Championships in May, Israel Netball is holding the most extensive tryout format in its short history.

Rather than having just one trying, national team coach Laragh Widdess is holding a series of seven assessments before paring down the field of 19 candidates to 12, Israel Netball’s Tal Segev told Haaretz on Thursday.

Segev said, “What we’ve done up until now is participated in developmental tournaments with teams like Gibraltar, Malta and Ireland.” The fact that Israel is going to the European Championships in England is “very, very exciting.”

She noted that Widdess, who plays for Tel Aviv, “comes with fresh ideas and has a different way of presenting things.” Her support staff includes assistant coach, Lexi Shapiro from Jtown, and Ra’anana’s Robyn Ginsberg, who serves as manager.

The squad held its penultimate session last night, while the final one will be in Modi’in next Thursday. The final squad will be announced in early February.

“The team is made up of girls from Junior Maccabiah, some who played two years ago in the world youth championships, and some who played in the seniors, so it’s a beautiful mix of from different ages and from different groups,” added Segev.

Meanwhile, Israel Netball has not neglected its league’s seventh season, which is well under way. Ra’anana, which is in first place with 15 points, suffered its first loss in four matches last Thursday, when Tel Aviv won in surprisingly dominating fashion, 52-16. In the other game last Thursday, Katamon maintained a slim lead over Jtown through three quarters before pulling away for a 48-43 victory.