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U14A netball team double national finalists

St Helen's U14A netballers came runners-up in two national tournaments – England Netball National Schools and Sisters n Sport. Hear more from Freya and Purdy in their event summaries.

England Netball National Schools

Having won our South Regional tournament being undefeated all day, we were really looking forward to going to the National Schools tournament. It was held at Oundle School in Northamptonshire on Saturday 12 March. We had put in lots of early morning training sessions for the past three months and felt we were ready to compete against the best schools in the country. It was quite an early start to get up to Oundle on Saturday morning, but the weather was dry and even sunny, although a little bit windy. 

We were in Pool B and had eight matches to play in our section. Our first match was against Putney High and we definitely did not play our best netball in this match, losing 6-8. Determined not to let the first loss of the day get us down, we came out fighting against Stamford School and beat them 13-3. The next match against Parrenthorn High was again closer than it should have been, narrowly losing to them 8-9. I think this loss really brought out our fighting spirit as we were determined to do ourselves justice and play to the best of our ability (which we hadn’t done so far). Up next was Durham Cathedral School who we beat 11-3. We were starting to play our game and began to play much better together as a team supporting each other and keeping the ball safe. We won our next two matches 15-4 against Newton Abbot College and 18-2 against Grammar School at Leeds. Two final matches to go against tough opposition: 11-9 win over Solihull School and finally Berkhamsted. We had beaten Berkhamsted in the Sisters n Sport competition but shorter tournament games can go either way. After a gritty performance, we won 12-7. 

This meant we were through to the semi-finals. We were so excited and finally starting to feel the team come together as a cohesive unit. We were facing Withington Girls School, the winners from Pool A who were unbeaten all day. We were playing inside where we were much more at home on an indoor court, especially out of the wind! Half time saw us with a 7-3 lead and then the final score was 12-8. We were ecstatic going into the final, but could feel the tiredness of the long, gruelling day starting to set in. Just one more match. We faced Putney High again (who beat their London rivals Wimbledon High in the other semi-final). Having finally found our form, we took our game to Putney High this time. What a match it was: neck and neck with a score of 5-5 at half time. Our two teams could not have been more evenly matched as the full-time score was 10-10. The crowds were cheering like mad as we entered extra time. At the end of two minutes each way extra time, the score was 2-2 and time rolled into golden goal. Unfortunately, we didn’t convert our chances at goal, whereas Putney High did, so they were very worthy winners. The match was so close, and it really could have gone either way. We were absolutely devastated not to have won as we had fought so hard all day, and all played brilliantly. 

It really was a complete team effort even down to the squad members on the bench who were so supportive and encouraging for the whole day. After the initial emotion of disappointment had died down, we realised that, in retrospect, coming second nationally was a great achievement and one which we should all be very proud of. We are all very proud to have had the opportunity to represent the School at this level. We would like to thank Miss Harris, Mrs Sillence and Mrs Beattie for all their support on the day and coaching across the whole season (and for the hoodies – we love them!). We really appreciate all the extra time and effort they have put in to helping us this season. And finally, well done to each member of the squad whose time, effort, ability and support contributed to our silver medal. 

Freya (Y9)


Sisters n Sport

Over 64 schools entered the Sisters n Sport netball competition, and the U14A squad made the final! We had a great start in the knockout competition beating strong schools including St Albans High School for Girls and Berkhamsted. We came up against Wimbledon High in the quarter-finals, winning comfortably with 40-28. In the semi-finals we beat Surbiton High, 36-22.

The finals came and we knew we could win; we were up against tough opposition, The Blue Coat School, Oldham. The match started and the adrenalin kicked in. We were ahead by two goals in the first quarter, but let our guard down in quarters two and three. Sadly, we couldn’t hold on and let Blue Coat take the lead in the final quarter. They ended up winning the fiercely contested final 26-37.

It was certainly a game we’ll never forget. Competition is always a good thing and pushes us harder to want to win next year! We are a formidable team, committed and dedicated and have achieved so much this season with the help and support from our coaches, Miss Harris and Mrs Sillence, who were an amazing support to us not just in terms of extra training but confidence and attitude. Thank you.

Purdy (Y9)



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