On Sunday 25th January the U14 and U16 teams from Tonbridge Grammar School competed at the Schools' London and South East Regional Netball Finals. It was the first time in the School’s history that two age groups have qualified for the Regional Finals in the same year!
Both teams played against the top 8 teams in their age group from London and the South East, who had qualified from the four regional county tournaments.
The standard of netball was extremely high throughout the day, and in very cold conditions both teams where challenged to compete at a very high level of netball.
The Under 14 netball team came into the London and South East Regional Championships with no preconceived ideas of how they would fare. They started the first game slowly, and edged a 10-8 win over Lady Eleanor Holles School. It was clear to see the team’s confidence grow after the first game, and the girls won each of their next four games convincingly.
TGS now found themselves in top spot, and the pressure of realising it was possible to qualify for the nationals did show in the last two games of the tournament. In the sixth game, the girls played a really tight game against a very determined and physical St Pauls Girls’ School team. They had their chance to go ahead when the score was at 6-6 but were unable to convert their chances, and lost 6-10.
This meant that the team went into the last game knowing that only a win would definitely secure a place at the Nationals. After a nervous start, the girls sailed away with the game and won 11-5. The results also meant that they beat Sevenoaks School to first place in the competition on goal difference.
The team worked incredibly hard and were all extremely supportive of each other. They achieved some excellent results because of good movement and timing down the court. They also demonstrated some excellent circle defence, accurate feeding into the shooting circle and clinical shooting.
The U16 team started the day well with two massive wins under their belt (15-6 and 19-6). They were then unfortunately beaten by Guildford High School by 3, although did secure, what was to be a crucial one point from the result.
Next, Wanstead High School proved to be a very physical and aggressive game, which was goal for goal until a short spell in the middle which resulted in a four goal deficit for TGS and another loss.
It would have been easy for the team to lose focus after two defeats however the strength and determination from every player shone through to ensure the next two matches were won by the TGS team!
The result of the U16 regional tournament came down to the last game. Guildford had won all of their games and were definitely through but there was still the runner-up qualifying position within our reach! Wanstead were one point behind us going in to the last game – the TGS team knew they needed to win…and they did! Which meant they qualify for National Finals!
It was fantastic to have the support from so many parents on the day, and a special thanks must go to Mrs Julie Cross who volunteers her time to coach netball at TGS. When asked about the squad’s success Julie said, "I would like to congratulate all the girls on giving 100% when asked and for their commitment to training in the run up to the tournament. I believe they achieved success because they worked together as a team and not as individuals having excellent team spirit between those on and off court."
For the first time in the School’s history two teams from Tonbridge Grammar School will now compete in the Netball National Finals which will be held on Saturday 14th March in Liverpool.
GOOD LUCK TGS!