Premier Netball National Champions!

October 18, 2016 at 11:27 AM

After beating Mt Albert Grammar (MAGS) at the Auckland Championships, then losing to them in the Upper North Island Championships, tensions were running high at the National competition in Wellington during the school holidays! 

With comfortable wins during pool play, the team then hit a very fired up Wellington East in a match which went to extra time with our girls winning by just 2 points! They followed up with another win against Manukura, a strong side from Palmerston North, which set them up for a rematch against MAGS in the final. 

In a repeat of last year’s grand final, the pressure was really on in front of a packed and noisy stadium.  With star shooter, Sydney Fraser out of the tournament through an earlier injury, it was a blow when Mererangi Paul was also sidelined through injury on the morning of the game. 

At quarter time, the lead was held by Saint Kentigern by three goals. By half time, MAGS had fought back with a four goal lead taking the score to 21-17. A strong third quarter propelled our girls forward by a single goal, paving the way for a tough mental and physical battle in the fourth quarter.

With four minutes to play in the final quarter and the crowd roaring in support, our girls were in front by four goals. As the clock wound down, Saint Kentigern held the slimmest of margins – one goal – as MAGS tried valiantly to draw level in the final minutes.

When the final whistle blew, the jubilation for was clear! Saint Kentigern were the winners of the 2016 NZ Secondary Schools Netball Champs, 35-34; a first for the College!

Mererangi Paul (based on earlier play), Tayla Earle, Ashleigh Garner and Tori Kolose were all named in the Tournament team. 

Team: Mererangi Paul, Mahina Paul, Victoria Kolose, Hannah Ward, Viona Silao, Lauren Pickett, Vilisi Tavui, Tayla Earle, Ashleigh Garner, Kayla Robertson-Tekii, Jaymie Kolose, Georgia Ropati                 

Final Standings:
1 – Saint Kentigern College
2 – Mount Albert Grammar School
3 – Manukura
4 – Epsom Girls Grammar
5 – St Mary’s College
6 – Wellington East Girls’ College
7 – St Margaret’s College
8 – Rotorua Girls’ High School
9 – Southland Girls’ High School
10 – Palmerston North Girls’ High School
11 – St Hilda’s Collegiate
12 – Aorere College
13 – Wellington Girls’ College
14 – Baradene College
15 – St Andrew’s College
16 – Marlborough Girls’ College

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Photo credit: Netball New Zealand