On the road once more, but this time in the opposite direction. The U11 IAPS team travelled down to Dorset for the National Finals. As always with these girls, spirits were high. The girls have developed a really supportive culture with each other, it was very special to be part of a team that has each other’s back both on and off the court.
Staying in a plush B&B the night before, Hill Top Barn was a lovely treat for all of us! The family were extremely friendly and welcoming; cooking a yummy dinner and full English breakfast the next day. This really added to the whole experience of the competition, a memory which I know the girls will never forget!
The next morning, the sun was shining. The girls were ready and raring to go. Driving into Bryanston School was spectacular; the grounds are extensive and just attending a tournament here was a huge experience. With 25 Schools all warming up, we could sense the nerves and anticipation rising.
Starting promptly, we were able to watch the first match, and the standard was high. It was fabulous to watch so many girls enjoying themselves through the fast paced, competitive game of Netball.
We had five games in the group stages, all were 6 minutes each way, this allowed us to rotate around the five positions. The girls played very good Netball, demonstrating how far their game had progressed in 12 weeks; passing the ball into space, anticipating our players movements and releasing the ball early to make it impossible to defend. Coupled with their grit and determination, I couldn’t have asked anymore of them.
At the end of the group stage, we went through to the Bowl. This is where the girls really raised their game. Playing Ravenhouse School in the quarter finals. The girls worked hard for each other, any unforced errors they worked hard to win back, and this mentality won them the game 3-2.
Moving into the semifinals, the girls were up against Millfield, a renowned Sporting School. The game was fast and fierce with both teams playing for their place in the finals. At full time the score was 3-3, which meant the match went into extra time. There was no way the girls were going to let this slip away from them and they dominated in the final few minutes. Keeping the ball in their attacking end allowed them to create more chances at goal. Anna managed to score the 4th goal for us, at which point the girls, including the girls off courts, all ran up to each other screaming and punching the air in delight. This wasn’t the end of the game though and a minute later Anna scored again, making it 5-3. They then had to defend hard to make sure Millfield didn’t score, which they managed, securing their place in the finals.
In the finals, we were up against Heathmount School. These girls were tall and dynamic and had a really good side. We put up a really good fight in the first half, with only one goal against us at half time. However, at half time Heathmount’s rotations enabled them to dominate in both the attack and defence. BCS girls fought until the last, but unfortunately, we were unable to convert our hard work to any goals, the final score being 6-3.
I am incredibly proud of these girls and their achievements this term; they have been a real credit to themselves. To finish in the top 20 nationally is a worthy achievement and one of my own sporting highlights! A heart-felt thank you to the parents who came to support also, I know it meant a lot to the children that you were standing on the side encouraging the girls from start to finish. Once again, a huge congratulations for your success this year in Netball.
Hazelgrove 6-5 BCS
St Michael’s 2-3 BCS
St Swithun’s 8-4 BCS
Beechwood Park 7-3 BCS
Berkhamsted 7-2 BCS
Quarter finals Ravenhouse School 2-3 BCS
Semi finals Millfield 3-5 BCS
Finals Heathmount School 6-3 BCS