I organised a weekend residential trip for twenty students to Condover Hall, an activity centre in Shropshire, to play in a netball tournament against schools and club teams from across the country. The standard of competition was, I knew, sure to be exceptionally high. We took along two teams, involving students from Year 8 and Year 10.
Arriving on the Friday evening, we unpacked and then were able to tour the hall, familiarising ourselves with the facilities and making new friends. This was much more than a netball tournament, fantastic though that was. There were loads of brilliant outdoor activities for students to experience when not actually playing netball, such as climbing, archery, abseiling, laser quest, obstacle courses and a zip wire.
The first day of the tournament was the Saturday: the Year 8 team were scheduled to play their games in the morning, with the Year 10 team on court in the afternoon.
When the first of Year 8’s seven games got underway, it was clear that the girls were finding it tough to compete. They were struggling with positioning and with movement off the ball to create space for their team mates to pass to them. However, as the games went on, it was noticeable how quickly they improved. Soon they were working hard for each other and really enjoying the matches. Molly Davin was tireless; her movement was excellent and she really helped the team to up their game. Rhianna Lundy-King was also outstanding in her position. The girls finished fifth in their group and were entered in the following day’s plate cup.
The girls were now drawn against teams of similar ability and the level of competition was excellent. The first game saw Ridgeway win 4-0 with four outstanding goals from Jessica Woods and great play too from Kiki Galer.
Winning this first game gave the girls a huge confidence boost, which they took into the second game. Again they played outstandingly well but, against a good side, were held to a 1-1 draw (with the goal coming from Molly Davin). The girls ended up finishing a creditable third in the plate competition.
Meanwhile, the Year 10 team started their Saturday with five games. They got off to a good start, passing the ball really well. Emily Davin was on target, scoring three goals to win 3-0. Happy with their play, the girls simply grew in confidence. Well done to Emily Davin for her goals and overall play and also to Lumae Hall, who was outstanding at centre.
The girls won their next game 2-1, the goals again coming from Emily Davin, who had another outstanding game.
The team was entered in the plate competition for the following day. Their first Sunday encounter was against local rivals Woodchurch. A high-quality game was played at a fast pace; it was thrilling to watch. Unfortunately, the result didn’t go our way but I was really proud of how the girls played and their effort was fantastic. Overall, the Year 10 team came third in their group.
I was really proud of the girls and their performances all weekend. We will be working hard over the coming months in order to compete again next year.