Brakkies netballer on point

KEAGAN MITCHELL

Alicia is a Grade 11 pupil at Brackenfell High School. Only the top three schools in each age group qualify for the Western Cape Top Schools competition. Brackenfell, along with De Kuilen and Stellenberg, who finished first and second respectively, made the cut.

Brackenfell started the day with a bang, beating Tygerberg 31-24. That was followed up by two consecutive losses, 24-14 and 40-12 against De Kuilen and Stellenberg, respectively.

Alicia suffered her injury when warming up in her side’s 32-18 defeat to De Kuilen in a league fixture, last week. She believes her side played well at Top Schools despite the side not functioning at full capacity due to illness and injury.

“There were a number of mistakes we made but we will work on them during the week. I believe we will have a better performance at the WC Top Schools and hopefully everyone will be better, including myself,” she said.

Last weekend, the youngster made the under-18 Western Cape Schools’ side that will play at nationals, in Boksburg, in Johannesburg, later this month. The youngster has made the WP and WC schools’ side since she was under-13.

The former Petunia Primary School pupil said the competition was tough but that she was happy to have made the side.

“The standard of competition gets better every year. Normally everyone would play two rounds but this year some girls played three-rounds which made me panic. I gave it my all and it was enough to see me make the WC side for a fourth consecutive year,” she said.

Alicia was selected for the under-18 SA squad that took part in the international school girls challenge in New Zealand, last month, but could not go for trials because of an ankle injury that she picked up in the last league game of the season, against Stellenberg, last year.

“I was heartbroken because it was a dream of mine to represent South Africa but I believe everything happens for a reason. My teammates always kept me on my toes when I got injured because they believe in me,” she said.

She praises her parents Glenton and Joan for everything they have done for her and travelling to all the competitions that she takes part in.

“They are my motivation to do well and they give me advice at half-time on where to improve my game,” she said.

She is inspired by Proteas and Southern Stings netball player, Erin Burger, who competed in the 2007 and 2011 world championships. Burger was also part of the Proteas side that came sixth at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in Delhi, India.

Alicia said in 2010 she was a ball girl in a friendly match between South Africa and Scotland and that was when she met Burger for the first time.

“I watched her two matches closely because she was a key player in the team. When I watch her play, I want to put my takkies on and also play,” she said.

The Brackenfell under-19A netball side have had a good start to the league beating Durbanville and Bellville but losing to De Kuilen, last week. They also won the Klein Karoo top 10 invitational tournament in Oudtshoorn, in April.

Alicia’s mother said her daughter is dedicated to netball and always gives her best.

“I would always watch netball games on television so that I could give her advice on where she can improve. I believe if she carries on this good run of form she will make the Proteas side one day. Outside of netball she is like any other teenager who likes to go out with friends and enjoys watching movies,” she said.