England Netball National Schools Finals Winners
It was a remarkable weekend of Netball for our U14 & U16 Regional teams in Bournemouth. After a well-rested night, both teams headed to Sir David Wallace Sports Centre full of excitement and anticipation of the day ahead.
For all bar two of the girls for U14s, it was their first experience of the regional competition and all that it entails. With six games for them in group stages, they knew it was going to be an intense day of Netball. The girls played tenaciously during all six of their fixtures against the best schools from the South West. There was some fantastic attacking play, as well as countless turnovers, and the girls were determined to put out strong performances in whatever combinations of players were on court.
6-9 loss v Churston Ferrers Grammar School
9-7 win v Crypt School
14-1 win v Penryn College
11-11 draw v South Wiltshire Grammar School
17-8 loss v Taunton School
10-8 loss v Talbot Heath
With these results, it meant that they finished in a very respectable 8th place. This is a tremendous achievement for the girls. Well done to the squad: Mima, Phoebe, Bella, Lara, Meg, Anna, Bella, Isobel, Doreen and Nancy. A special mention to Meg and Mima who were the coaches players of the tournament.
This squad were fortunate to have seven players out of the squad of ten that had experienced the regional tournament last year, meaning they went into their first game with confidence. This game saw us settle our nerves in the first half and capitalise on our turnovers against Marlborough College, finishing the game 14-4 up. This fuelled the team with confidence heading into the next five games of the group. Their fourth game was against Torquay Girls' Grammar School, who went through to Nationals with us last year, so we knew this was likely to be our most important and intense game in the group stages. The girls knew the structures they had to stick to and how to combat their key players. It was extremely close at half time, but they saw the game out with composure, exceptional shooting stats and encouragement both on court and from the bench, resulting in a pleasing 13-8 win.
14-4 win v Marlborough College
14-0 win v Dean Close
13-9 win v Millfield School
13-8 win v Torquay Girls Grammar School
13-2 win v Truro School
9-4 win v Parkstone Grammar School
With six out of six wins, this meant we were top of our group and were facing Newton Abbott College, who came second in their group, in the semi-finals. With a lot of familiar faces playing for Newton Abbott College, we knew that it was going to be a fierce match. The first half saw goal for goal action with both teams making crucial turnovers for their schools. After coming together at half time, with a reminder of the next 7 minutes determining whether they make it through to Nationals or not, and to leave everything out on the court, the team went on with another level of determination. They capitalised on every single turnover the defensive end made, taking the ball through court efficiently and scoring every goal. The final whistle blew, with Redmaids' High winning 17-9, meaning they were once again, through to England Netball National Schools. They still had one more game to go, the final. This was against Torquay Girls Grammar School, who they had faced and beat in the group stages. Although they were already through to Nationals, winning the whole competition meant that they would have a better pool at Nationals. With this in mind, and the girls not wanting to finish the competition with a loss, they played the final game with as much intensity as they did the first. The U16s went on to win the game 12-8, meaning not only were they heading to Nationals, but also crowned reigning South West Regional Champions! Well done to all 10 players: Amy, Bella, Charlotte, Zara, Amy, Alice, Jess, Neve, Skyla and Flora. Special mention to Zara who was named the coaches player of the tournament.
This is phenomenal achievement by the U16 team who were all excellent ambassadors for the school. We wish them the very best of luck at the National Schools competition which take place in Oundle on Saturday 11th March.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the ongoing support to the travelling parents, who were invaluable on the side-lines.