Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from EHS

Taking on the National Netball Finals

Senior School

22 March 2024

The National Schools Netball Competition is the largest and longest running competition in English Netball; the top 18 schools in the country were all victorious in their respective county and regional rounds and were now battling to be crowned number one. This year’s event, in association with the British Army, was held at Oundle School in Peterborough with the U16s and U19s competing on Saturday and the U14s on Sunday. As previously reported, this was the first time since 1997 that EHS had successfully secured qualification and so excitement levels were high! 

Team EHS were faced with a tough draw, the first game was against Berkhamsted (who eventually went on to win the whole competition) and although we were able to hold our own in the first half going goal-for-goal, Berkhamsted pulled away in the second with the final score ending 18-6.

The second game was against Woodhouse Grove and EHS were quick to apply defensive pressure, forcing turnovers and converting them to goal. However, despite leading at half time, an unfortunate held ball decision resulted in a string of unanswered goals and EHS lost 13-10. 

Our third and arguably hardest game of the day was against seasoned national finalists, Putney High School. EHS played with resilience when bringing the ball through court but ultimately, struggled to counteract the speed of play. 

Tournament play can be so challenging. With only fifteen minutes rest between each game it is not only physically demanding on the body, but also mentally exhausting; the ability to repeatedly put aside feelings, take learnings from heartbreak and frustration, all whilst focusing on new game plans and strategies. Determined to take control, EHS re-grouped and were ready to face St Martin’s Catholic Academy. The attacking unit formed some excellent combinations and the highlight of the game was definitely Jemima Harlin’s incredible goal as she was falling out of court; the crowd went wild! 

Spirits were high but the next game against Cheadle Hulme brought a different challenge: torrential rain. With puddles forming on the courts and the ball slipping out of hands, EHS were unable to quickly adapt their game and Cheadle Hulme took the win. 

The final three games of the group stages were all to play for with only a few points separating a number of teams. First up was Whitburn Church of England Academy. EHS managed to withstand early pressure, developing confidence to release the ball and have faith in one another. The score at the final whistle was an impressive 18-9. 
Next was Parkstone Grammar and this game kept spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the duration. There were constant swings in momentum with both teams alternating dominance in different areas of the court. The score at the final whistle was an agonising 7-6 to Parkstone; sport can be so cruel. 

The last game was against St Swinthun’s where a win would move us to 6th place in our group, leapfrogging our opponent. EHS played their best netball yet; whole court defence enabled us to apply pressure from the top of the court, forcing errors and gaining vital possession. Our shooting statistics were high and the final score was 12-5 to EHS. 

When combined with the results from Group B, this put EHS as the joint 8th best team in the country; an incredible achievement. 

We are so proud of the team. For most, it was their first experience of national level netball and they all competed with grit, fearlessness and passion. The future is certainly bright for Team EHS.

Congratulations to the team who were led by captains Luccia Baldwin and Isla Batchelor: Jemima Harlin, Anaya Murphy, Olivia Whittaker, Polly Beard, Cora Batchelor, Layla Janes, Anaiya Plaha and Aniya Sidhu. 

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