NATIONAL SCHOOLS TITLE FOR U14 NETBALL TEAM
The National Schools Competition is the most coveted prize in school netball in the UK and on Saturday 19 March, the U14A Netball girls achieved a first for Berkhamsted School by winning the National Schools crown.
No strangers to major competitions, the U14s won the School Sports Magazine and Independent Schools Netball Championship titles in 2015. The National Schools Competition, however, is the biggest schools competition in the netball calendar.
The Competition consists of three age groups; U14, U16 and U19 and commences at either an Area or County Round, with schools finishing as winners or runners up in each age group progressing through to the next stage of the competition. The U14A team had qualified to reach the National Schools Competition after winning the country and regional qualifying rounds, finishing first in each competition.
The 2016 National Schools Finals were held at Roedean School, and saw some of the most established netball schools in the UK battle it out for the titles. According to U14A coach, Miss Sarah-Louise Hale, the U14As started slowly with a one goal loss to Guildford early in the rounds, however they picked themselves up and went on to win the remaining games in the rounds, finishing in second place in their group and securing a place in the semi-finals against St Edmund’s College.
“The semi-final was a replica of the County Finals, but whereas we had previously beaten St Edmund’s convincingly, this game was a closer encounter that ended again with a victory for Berkhamsted,” explains Miss Hale.
So it was into the final for the U14As, facing the only team they had lost to all day – Guildford. “The U14A line-up was different from the first game. We included two of our talented Year 7 players, Izzy Williams and Bella Baylis, who had outstanding tournaments, and we knew that if we stuck to task and did the basics well we could win it.” The girls played their best netball of the day in the final and won by a convincing margin, defeating Guildford 10 – 6 to be crowned National Schools Champions, claiming an historic first victory for Berkhamsted as we have never qualified for the competition at U14 level previously.
Earlier in the week it was the turn of the U12A Netball team (below) to become School Sports Magazine National Champions on Thursday 17 March, beating Wycombe Abbey 38-23 in the final.
We’ve recently seen the Berkhamsted 1st , 3rd and U14A Lacrosse teams scoop national titles in the Rathbones National Schools Lacrosse Championship – a first for Berkhamsted to have had three winning teams in different championship categories. In the year that we celebrate our 475th anniversary, we are delighted the School’s name is flying high on a national platform.