Our Under 16 and Under 14 squads travelled to Paris during the Easter holidays for an International Netball Tournament. They stayed in log cabins on the Davy Crockett ranch.
On the first day they took part in a seeding tournament. Despite a shaky start our Under 14s finished in 2nd position having beaten Reigate Grammar School B, Newport Girls High School C and King Edwards VI High School A teams. With every game they seemed to grow in confidence. As a result they were placed in the Challenger Shield Competition.
Our Under 16 team made a flying start and had convincing wins against Reigate Grammar A, Holmesdale Technology College B and Newport Girls. They finished in second place in their pool but had impressed the organisers so much that they were then placed into the Showdown / top competition.
On day 3 of the trip they were given expert coaching by England coaches and ex players. Karen Greig (attacking coach for England Netball ) did a very informative session on shooting and provided the girls with the most recent developments in this area of play.
In the afternoons the group visited Disneyland and were able to experience the rides, parades and shops. Mrs Bailey and Mrs Peaty saw the wonders of the ‘It’s a small world’ ride whilst the youngsters and Mr Johnson enjoyed the adrenaline rush on the Aerosmith roller-coaster which looped the loop in the dark with lasers and flashing lights!!
On the final day both teams went into a knock out competition where they needed to win every game to progress to the final. The Under 14s first game was against La Chataigneraie school from Switzerland. They won this 15 – 7 so progressed to the semi-finals of the shield. Here they played Kenilworth A team who they had encountered before at Condover Hall but never beaten. The game that unfolded will go down in TBS folklore. Our girls played with self-belief and every player gave 100% throughout the 24 minute game. It was incredibly close with only one goal in it with 20 seconds to go. The final score at full time was 17 -17. This really would come down to who wanted the win the most and could stay calm under the pressure. Extra time was needed to find the winner. Kenilworth had a very tall Goal Attack but Celine Collier and Alice McNab worked brilliantly to deny her an easy run on goal. During the second half of extra time our attackers began to dominate despite some very tight marking. Megan Davies and Sophie Hollings linked up well to bring the ball quickly up court. Ellie Keats was able to feed the ball in quickly to Georgie Bailey who made two exceptional shots by stepping in on to one foot to get nearer to the post. The final score was 21-19 to TBS! The girls were ecstatic. Karen Peaty remarked.. ‘in all my time playing and watching netball I have never seen such an amazing game of netball!’
This put them into the final against King Edward VI school. It was very difficult for them to lift themselves up after the semi-final and despite a great effort they finished runners-up in the shield competition.
Our Under 16 team played Woodmill High School from Edinburgh, Scotland in the quarter finals of the competition and soon got into full flow. The final score of 23-10 placed them into the semi-finals. Here they came up against Staffordshire County Champions (Blessed William Howard School) and despite battling hard they could not succeed. As a result they were put into the play off for 3rd and 4th place against Surrey County Champions, St Catherine’s school. In this game the girls really had to dig deep and were able to show how they have developed as a team, supporting each other up the court. They worked hard to create openings and space. Imogen Potter at Goal Keeper and Holly Welch at Wing Attack played brilliantly in their last game for the school team. The entire team played an exceptional level of netball switching from zonal marking to man to man marking. As a result of numerous turn-overs they were able to capitalise upon this and come out with a 22-11 victory.
As always the girls were a pleasure to take on tour. There were several very favourable comments about the behaviour and conduct of our girls both on court and as they moved around the Disneyland site. Huge thanks also go to Karen Peaty and Mr Johnson for supporting and making our trip possible.
Next year 2016 PGL in Swindon!!