This week has been another history making one for the Year 10 Netball team. Having won the Borough League and Borough Rally (again) the girls confidence was high going into the residential National Tournament at PGL in Swindon this weekend. This was an U16 tournament open to year 11 teams throughout the whole country including academies.
On Friday night, with a few team building activities thrown into the mix, the girls were ready to start playing netball on Saturday morning. They kicked off the day with consecutive victories against Gloucester High School for Girls 11-7 (year 11), Red Maids 17-0, Swanshurst 17-2, and Priory Academy 12-7 (year 11); this left Eastbury top of the table on Saturday Evening.
Sunday morning's fixtures kicked off at 8.30am with victories against Oldfield School 11-2 (year 11), and Red Maid’s second team 14-3. This left Eastbury top of the table going into the Semi Finals where we met Red Maids third team and came out 13-4 victors.
The final saw Eastbury face a Sports Academy who were a school year older than our girls. The long weekend had taken its toll on the younger Eastbury team who were constantly chasing the older girls throughout the game, but showed their true character and grit, clawing back to stay level at full time in a thrilling 12-12 draw. In extra time, the older girls gained the upper hand by winning the coin toss and subsequently gaining the advantage of the first centre pass. It seemed like everything was conspiring against the Eastbury girls but they dug deep to remain 1-1, then in the final 2 mins of extra time Eastbury took the lead! A key interception and turn over meant Eastbury just needed to defend for the final 25 seconds which seemed like an eternity. When the final whistle was blown the celebrations were emphatic. The Eastbury girls were joined by many other schools in cheers of delight.
The character, class and conduct of the girls had become infectious and won fans from schools, staff and coaches all across the tournament. The victory crowns the girls National PGL Netball champions for the second consecutive time having won the tournament in 2016. This proved to be an even bigger achievement given that this was a year 11 tournament and with the gruelling week that led up to this event (being crowned Borough Rally and Borough League champions) demonstrates the quality that permeates the squad. To sustain the success for a whole weekend off the back of an exhausting (but successful) run up is phenomenal and the girls rightly deserve every ounce of credit which they will undoubtedly receive.
Jonida Kolgjini (captain)
Mariana Bongou (vice-captain)
Mrs L Wood