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The School’s Lower Third girls headed for Shropshire at the weekend, to take part in a national JCA U12 netball tournament.
Walking through Condover Hall on arrival, it didn’t take long for the girls’ imaginations to run wild with rumors of ghosts and goblins. This was the first challenge the girls had to overcome and the first step to appreciating each other’s strengths. It took a couple of level heads to reassure everyone there was no such thing as ghosts!
By 8.30am on Saturday, all the girls were keen to compete on the netball court. The first match was St John’s B team versus Galaxy – an U13 team. Despite many goals being scored against them, Molly persisted to the end and managed to claw back a couple of goals. Her on-court performance followed into the next game against the Hertfordshire Jags, inspiring the rest of the team to lift their game. Elizabeth also moved into top gear and turned over many balls, showing great leadership and positivity.
St John’s A team schedule meant they had a chance to watch their opposition before playing them. By the time it came to playing the dreaded Galaxy they were ready for the challenge. Despite having played only one match together before the tournament, the girls showed grit and determination against an older, more aggressive team.
Kennedy displayed an outstanding performance against Galaxy’s Fourth Form GA. She effortlessly picked balls out of the air and turned over many balls through court. Poppy also displayed a good performance and confidently lifted ball into space for her team mates while giving Zoe great support on the edge of the circle. Zoe was on fire, relentlessly driving hard into space and sinking most of the game’s goals. An incredible performance rewarded the girls with an 8-5 loss.
St John’s C team soon hit the court and also had to face the mighty Galaxy. Amy showed great resolve in attack gaining ball against her opposition who was three times her height. While the score line did not reflect the learning and improvements that were made on court, the morning session gave the coaches a good opportunity to get to know players and work with different combinations.
On Sunday there were some key objectives to meet and it became a day of wonderful highlights. The A team wanted to beat Hertfordshire Jags, The B team wanted to compete against the A’s and the C’s wanted to perform as a team.
The C team kicked off Sunday’s netball with their first match against Galaxy, and went out to show St John’s were not to be messed with. Kate took her game to another level and delivered incredible balls out to Fay on the centre-pass. Viktoriya was incredible at GK, putting her GS under constant pressure.
The B team had a cracking game against the A’s with a score line that did not reflect the learning and spirit of the game. Caitlin secured her place at WA and worked seamlessly in attack with Eloise. Eloise was one of many players who demonstrated great improvements over the weekend. She released balls into space with good timing and defended back when balls were lost. In defence, Jaimie and Sophie developed a new fabulous force and turned over ball repeatedly through court while Hannah’s timing on her jumping improved and she was rewarded with some valuable rebounds.
The A team’s learning and improvements over the weekend made a big impact in the final match against Hertfordshire Jags. Olivia’s positional play was outstanding, and her passing both accurate and safe. The score line was level and the game went goal for goal for the whole match. In the last few seconds of the game, Naomi made an incredible interception and Ella at GS stepped up in the last second of the game. As the goal sank through the hoop we jumped to celebrate the winning goal. It was a very fitting moment to finish an epic weekend both on and off the court.
The School’s Head of Athlete Support and team coach Natalie Swift said of the weekend: “Over the course of the weekend, every aspect of our on-court netball objectives were met and exceeded. Off the court the girls shared experiences that brought them together and they appreciated each other in a new light. They pushed themselves without being prompted and stepped outside their comfort zone to gain confidence and overcome fears.
“It was truly a wonderful weekend and one I hope, will be cherished and reflected on in later life. The girls did so much growing up over the course of the weekend, and I’m proud of each and every one of them. Go eagles!”
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