TAUNTON Junior Volleyball Club Under-18 ladies defied their lack of experience and a series of injuries to place fifth at the National Cup Last 8s on Sunday.

In their first ever appearance at the event, Taunton made a shaky start against Boswell’s Academy, before coming close to eventual finalists Tameside.

A win over Black Country, the match going to three sets, secured them a very creditable fifth spot.

The team’s preparations were hampered by injuries in the build-up to the competition, and the nine players fought bravely despite finger and knee injuries at the tournament.

The Taunton squad – coached by Jurek Jankowski, with Elliot Lipscombe as assistant – was as follows: Bethan Bailey, Maddie Booker, Amy Hart, Kaja Jankowska, Mischa Jankowska, Holly Lovell-Fox, Georgia McGovern (captain), Tejah Mossman and Catherine Tolley.

Placing in the top five in the country (out of 30 clubs in England and Wales who entered) is all the more remarkable given that every single one of the Taunton players is young enough to be eligible to play in this competition again next year.

The team’s season is far from over, as they still have fixtures in the South West League.

Yet they are already looking to next year, and the goal of going even further into the 2020 national championships, with a training week in Slovenia planned for this summer.

Taunton are always looking for new players, and the club can be contacted via juniors@volleyballtaunton.org.uk or www.facebook.com/tauntonJVC.

Come and try sessions are free, and the club trains at Wellsprings Leisure Centre on Tuesdays.