FANTASTIC group of young women reprinting our school!

Going into the South Island Secondary School Senior Netball Tournament was always going to be a tough challenge for our young team for 2022. Being a senior tournament the majority of teams are filled out with Y11, 12 and 13 players, however our young side had five Y11s, two Y10s and three Y9s making us the youngest team at this highly competitive and huge tournament tournament that plays host to over 75 teams.

Manager Cronin and myself (Coach Maddy Crawford) are extremely proud of this fantastic group of young women for how the conducted themselves throughout the tournament that very easily could have been very disheartening with the score lines. They never gave up and had a great spirit taking on some very tough competition showing heart and determination, along with the never give up West Coast attitude. The way the team conducted themselves was commented on from multiple opposition and spectators, and once people found out the age of the team the comment was “this is a team to watch in a couple of years!” – what more could you ask for as a coach?! 

Just the best group of players to take away, Manager Cronin and I would take you away again in a heartbeat ladies!

Massive thank you to Ellery’s Roofing Direct for the lovely sponsorship of the warm up rugby jerseys, the girls LOVED them!

Team: Grace Rhodes (Captain), Sasha Ellery, Reagan Boniface, Katelynn Ford, Olivia Johansen (JPII), Summer Fahey, Leevy Lancaster, Breanna Turnbull, Bella Masters, Hannah Hopkins.

Monday 29th August – vs Verdon College and Gore HS

Game 1 – The first game of the tournament was against the traditional very talented Verdon College and boy did they put on a show, they ended up wracking up an impressive 66 goals against us! However, we set small goals throughout the game as we knew how tough the game would be, each goal we set we achieved and even though the scoreline didn’t reflect it the girls first performance of the tournament. Verdon went onto place second overall in the 30 team B Grade which shows the caliber of the team we were up against for our first game.

Game 2 – Gore HS was again expecting to be a tough game going off their first results, our team was outsized by the tall timber of Gore so much so Manager Cronin put $20 on the table if a player managed to successfully do a bounce pass under their legs – it wasn’t to be for this game. The mini goals in this game again is what we were aiming for, the small tweaks to improve individual and team performance, plus increasing our total goals and keeping the opposition under the previous result amount. The team was thrilled to reduce the gap in points to 35 a huge improvement on the first game. Gore HS went on to finish 5th in B Grade, once again showing the high level opposition we faced in our first round of pool play.

Tuesday 30th August – vs Aparima College and Garin College

Game 3 – This was our final game of the first pool play and we knew the game against Aparima would be another tough one. Once again those mini goals were vital with how we were tackling the tournament and this game was no different. Things just were not clicking quite as well as hoped, and we didn’t get our double digit goal, but we did keep the gap to 35 points and each player was starting to ease into tournament life.

Game 4 – This is the first stage of cross overs where teams are place into top 16 (top two in first pool) and bottom 14 (bottom two in first pool), our first game of this set was against Garin College, again another traditional strong netball school. We were right in the fight in this game, even though that scoreline did not reflect it. Some tired brains were creeping in after the three tough previous games, but the team continued to fight getting back into the double digit finish and the all important gap reduced to only 27 points – the girls were very happy to bring it under the 30 point margin.

Wednesday 31st August – vs Westland HS and Kaikoura HS

Game 5 – This game saw us take on local rivals Westland HS who had found their feet really well in the tournament. Again another good contested game from our team who never gave up and got that goal of double digits, then along with some small targets individually made for some excellent netball.

Game 6 – The game against Kaikoura HS was one that could have been ours for the taking at times, but as always with tough tournaments like this one the previous games had taken their tole on the team both physically and mentally. The girls were gutted not get their double digit goal but the huge win was keeping the opposition to only 25 points! As is has been happening the whole tournament the team has been getting better and better really showing off the potential of the team.

Thursday 1st September – vs Tokomairio HS

Game 6 – Our final game of the tournament was against Tokomairiro HS, due to two teams withdrawing from the tournament we were playing off for 29th/30th position and did not have the normal semifinal and final on this day. Our semifinal was considered a bye and we went straight into the game against Tokomairio. The team was really pumped for this game after a very tough tournament, however nothing could dampen our team’s attitude and that was easy to see in this final game. We started off very well and confidence was at an all time high, however the team knew things were only just beginning and they had to keep pushing. We finished the game with a great 6 point WIN! 

This win capped things off for our young talented team and really showed what they are capable of, especially in years to come. I cannot express how happy we are with these girls and the great way they tackled this tournament. They were endless sponges and took on all the advice and tips we gave them, they showed fantastic sportsmanship and were outstanding ambassadors of our community.

Image by: Sport Dept.