Last week both the U14 and U16 netball teams had their respective South Suffolk netball tournaments. These tournaments lead on to a County round then on to Regionals, and finally to the biggest schools competition in netball, the National Schools Competition – so there was everything to play for.
It’s been a long time since some of the students have been on the netball court playing School netball, so there was a great deal of excited anticipation in the air, for the players and the teachers.
In the U14A tournament six matches lay ahead before play offs and then the final, despite playing a round robin format. The afternoon started brilliantly with 9-0 wins against RHS, followed by a closer match against Farlingaye which was won with a final score of 10-6.
Ipswich High School was next and the girls kept their winning streak alive with a 7-0 win. Next up it was Ipswich School, probably the toughest match of them all, particularly as when the School played them last at U12 level the match ended in a draw. The game was end to end which was well fought by both teams, but with only ten seconds left on the clock unfortunately Ipswich managed to sneak one more goal taking them one ahead in the final score of 7-6 to the opposition. The team felt slightly deflated it’s fair to say, as they really had given their all in this game, but that didn’t stop them in their quest to win the remaining matches.
The team faced Ipswich High again in the semi-final (even though they had come second) and played their absolute hearts out to ensure the School came away with another win, which they did nicely with a 12-5 final score.
With a place in the final against Ipswich School A team (and a place already secured in the Country round on 13 November), the team wanted very much to take the pressure off and enjoy the final match. The decision was made to play the game in different positions, something they really enjoyed and had a lot of fun with, knowing they’d had a tough but very successful afternoon.
And what a tournament for the U16A team, the girls did themselves and the School extremely proud; there were only four matches, but also play offs and a final to content with to ensure a top three place was reached in order to gain a place at the County tournament.
The first match was a tough one to start with, and it was RHS who were the team’s opposition. Both teams put in 100% effort into the first game of the tournament and the match was end to end. With luck on their side Woodbridge managed to go ahead by one goal in the last 30 seconds, preventing RHS from catching up against our 12-11 win.
Chantry Academy were next after the team had sat off for two matches, so a warm up game was needed in preparation for the last two matches which were predicted to be tough. The students truly connected as a team and played some great netball to come away with an 18-2 win.
Feeling tired as a team but knowing what needed to be done to win the last two matches, another end to end game felt a little frustrating with some of the decisions made, but the girls kept their cool and heads up to secure a draw of 15-15.
Last to play in the round robin was Ipswich School and the team started strong with accurate passing and incredibly consistent shooting. At half time the team were one goal ahead and so the team needed to play their hearts out if they were going to keep the lead – and indeed they did. What came next was just amazing, superb interceptions made by the defenders excellent centre court play bringing the ball down, with the most incredible shots from the edge of the shooting circle that didn’t even touch the ring as they shot through.
The team were in the lead and stayed there for the rest of the second half, and although they were tired the girls knew they had to keep going and fight with everything they had. The final whistle blew with the score at 16-11 to us, and the knowledge that we had come first overall (before the play offs) in the tournament!
A semi-final match against Ipswich High saw the team lose unfortunately so the last attempt the team had to secure a place in the next round was against RHS. Sitting on 2-2 at half time, then 5-5 at full time resulted in an extra two minutes of time each way on this match. It was a nail biting game because although the team had won overall they still needed to win this game to go through to the County round. As the final whistle blew Woodbridge were 9-5 ahead and celebrated their win in the knowledge that they were on their way to the County round.
Despite training having been sparse due to the team having many commitments, both the students and School are extremely proud of the achievements in these tournaments. It’s clear how passionate the girls are and how much they want to succeed; it seems they never give up and always give it their all.
So we’re off to the County tournament on Saturday 13 November, be sure to have that date in your diaries.
Fantastic work Woodbridge, and great team spirit as ever!