The journey in this tournament began in September, with the squad beating a number of schools including Berkhamsted easily in the opening rounds. The team have had away draws on a number of occasions, meaning many long journeys! The quarter final fixture vs GSAL was the toughest yet and the team came through the adversity of some dubious umpiring, huge opposition crowds and physical play to win by 1 after extra time. The final at the University of Hertfordshire saw St Helen’s drawn against Brentwood. Every single player showed their true quality on court and impressed all those who watched. It was a true team performance to take the national title 57–27, winning by the biggest goal difference of all age groups on the day.
Stakes were high for the U15A netball team – we knew a win in the semis against Woodhouse Grove would take us to a national final, taking place only three days later!
We set off on Tuesday morning ready for a treck up to Leeds and potentially our toughest game yet. In the first quarter they came out hard and we struggled for possession. However, we soon started getting into our stride, and with our shooters on excellent form and accurate feeds in from the attack, we led by one going into the second quarter. From then on, with the score line staying tight and our defence holding up the game really well, we managed to pull away in the last quarter to win 37–25. Everyone performed brilliantly, with Freya (10K) named POM, and now we’d made it to the finals!
On the morning of the finals, we met at school at a painful 6:45am but we were already buzzing with excitement. When we got to the courts, it all felt very professional. We all had seats to sit on, each with a free t-shirt and water bottle, and two stands ready to be filled – with our three supporters. We tried to forget about the occasion and warmed up as normal, and after our run out we got on court composed and ready. The first quarter felt like forever, they had the lead to begin with so we had to settle quickly into the game. With the help of some brilliant turnovers from our defence, we had the lead going into the second quarter, but we’d have to work hard to keep it that way. As the game progressed, we worked as hard as we could, the mid court working well around circle edge taking time to feed it into the shooters, who finished it off. Our defence held up the game and got some crucial turnovers, and stayed tight to their players right until the final whistle. The final score was 57–27, we were named best independent school in England, and it felt amazing! We all went up to receive our medals which were presented by Georgi Fisher, a brilliant Maverik netball player. Talia (10J) also received the award of best player throughout the tournament, and she thoroughly deserves it. A massive thank you from all the team goes to Miss Appleby for getting us to the final and helping us all the way, this was definitely a week to remember!