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These Girls Can! – U19 National Schools Finals

Published by Wellington College on Monday 20th of March 2023

On Saturday 11 March Wellington’s Netball 1sts travelled to Oundle School to compete in the U19 National Schools Finals against the top two teams from the country’s nine regions. The team faced a long and challenging group round of eight games before they would have the opportunity to proceed to play-offs and finals. Entering the tournament as South Regional Champions ensured a confident attitude, although opposition including Hartpury, Berkhamsted and Cheadle Hulme (2022 U16 winners) meant progressing would be no easy feat.
The team faced Cheadle Hulme in Round 1, knowing a strong start would build confidence and momentum moving forward. Wellington controlled the pace of the game, with Macy B securing numerous turnovers and stifling the opposition’s attackers. A 14-10 victory was an apt reward for the team.

The morning progressed with close fought victories against Woodhouse Grove School (10-7), Wrekin College (14-12) and Rushcliffe Spencer Academy (18-10). With only 10 squad members the team played numerous combinations, at times out of regular positions due to injury management. Chenique stepped up as goalkeeper to win some athletic interceptions, and Scarlett featured as goal shooter, scoring 100% in a very unfamiliar position. The willingness of the team to adapt and respond to every challenge of the day was admirable to see.
With one round remaining the 1sts needed to secure a win against Trinity School to guarantee a position in the Cup play-off stages (for 5th – 8th positions). They once again stepped up their attacking discipline, with Saskia and Charlotte nailing crucial goals from range across the 14-minute game. A 13-7 result saw the team finish 3rd in their group, and their run at the competition continue.

The Cup semi-final followed soon after with the team facing Stephen Perse College, 4th place qualifiers from Group 2. Smart play from Saffy and Annabel around the circle edge allowed us patient entry into the circle; with ample turnover opportunities the team maintained their lead to gain a place in the Cup final. Here they faced Wrekin College – familiar opposition from the group rounds. Excellent shut-down play from Scarlett gained Wellington multiple turnover opportunities, aptly converted by our shooting circle. With minutes on the clock the team had built a 4-goal lead, and managed to hold their nerve to win 16-12, the first ever champions of the National Schools Cup.
Head coach, Amy Flanagan, shared her thoughts on the team’s success:

“Having attended the National Finals last year with both U19 and U16 teams, we were keen to build upon Wellington’s netball success this time around. The U19 category is always incredibly competitive, and our target was to surpass the achievement of last year’s squad. Learning from before we knew the importance of having a full squad of players who were capable to step on court and perform at any moment.

Despite the one-day tournament format, this victory is the culmination of multiple stages and countless hours of training by the team; they have put in the work and fully deserve their achievements today. To see the group step up to each challenge today was admirable, and we are so proud as coaches. This is a group of individuals who are always hungry to improve, and could not reflect the College values of integrity, responsibility and courage better.”

These Girls Can! – U19 National Schools Finals - Photo 1These Girls Can! – U19 National Schools Finals - Photo 2These Girls Can! – U19 National Schools Finals - Photo 3
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