Greenwich Schools’ Netball Tournament Champions
Upon their return from the Christmas break, on Thursday 11th January 2018, our Year 10 and 11 Netball girls travelled to Eltham Hill School to take part in the annual Year 10/11 Greenwich Schools’ Netball Tournament. With this being our Year 11 girls last borough tournament before they leave St Paul’s and with our Year 10 girls as competitive as ever, both teams were keen to impress on the day. This year the tournament recorded a record number of entries with no less than 8 KS4 teams taking part across 5 schools. With increased numbers of participation in the sport across all schools in the borough this therefore helped to set the scene for the most competitive and closely contested netball tournament in Greenwich in recent times.
The Year 10 girls got off to a blistering start, recording wins over the hosts Eltham Hill Year 10’s as well as one of their fiercest rivals in the Greenwich League Blackheath High School Year 10’s. SPA Year 10’s defeated Blackheath High School 6-0 in their second game of the competition. This set the girls up nicely to progress on to win their group and make it to the semi-final of the competition.
The Year 11 girls also enjoyed a well-earned victory over hosts Eltham Hill when they defeated their Year 11 team in their opening game of the tournament. This was redemption for our girls who had suffered a defeat to Eltham Hill in the Year 11 League a few weeks previous. With all teams in the same group as our Year 11’s battling hard to finish top of the group, it ended with three out of the four teams in this group finishing on the same number of points. To separate the teams it then went to goal aggregate and our Year 11 girls ended up finishing 3rd in their group. This left them in the 5th/6th play-off match where they faced Eltham Hill Year 10’s. Showing great team work and determination throughout, the Year 11 girls ended their day with a win over Eltham Hill which therefore placed them in 5th position overall. This was a good result for our Year 11 girls against some tough opposition on the day. Well done ladies.
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Next up was the semi-final of the tournament. Here our Year 10 team faced a strong Harris Academy side. From the off-set both teams fought hard and battled end to end to maintain possession and convert chances. With the score drawn at full time, extra-time was called for to try and separate the two sides. Upon the extra-time whistle, still nothing separated the teams. This gripping encounter had turned into the match of the tournament with neither side giving up and both wanting to record a win so dearly. To decide who would progress to the final, the decision was taken to implement ‘Golden Goal’ where the first team to score would win. Our Year 10 girls could have easily buckled under the pressure, however, they relished this opportunity and in true St Paul’s Academy style, embracing our sporting motto of ‘Never give up, Never let up’ our girls scored to win the match to the jubilant celebrations of our Year 11 girls who were spectating.
After such an energy zapping semi-final match, our Year 10 girls had to catch their breath and compose themselves very quickly as they now faced Blackheath High School in the final of the competition. The girls knew that all of their heroic semi-final efforts would be in vain if they did not once again battle hard to take the title home ahead of Blackheath; the girls did just that. In what was a much closer and tactical encounter from Blackheath’s perspective than the group fixture previously in the afternoon, both teams exchanged scores to leave the final coming right down to the wire. In the last few seconds of the game, with the match at a draw, SPA secured a crucial score before the final whistle to win the final match by a single goal. This was a heart-breaking result for Blackheath who provided tough opposition for our girls as always.
Congratulations to our Year 10 team who are now current Greenwich Schools’ Tournament Champions 2018. Throughout the tournament the girls displayed excellent levels of both individual and team skill, showing exactly why, for the last four years they have remained undefeated as a team across all borough competitions. This a remarkable achievement which is testament to the dedication and hard work the girls show each week towards training and continuous improvement as a team. Well done girls, keep up the brilliant work.