[K]eswick School took away three of their year groups for a netball tour for the weekend in Shropshire. A committed group of year 9, 10 and 11 girls choose to take part in the tour, hoping to play some quality matches and develop their skills as a team at the beginning of the season.
Looking smart in their new netball strips, the girls played 6 matches in each age group, against schools from around the country. Amongst the netball, pupils could choose from a variety of outdoor and team building activities including a giant tree swing, abseiling, climbing and quad biking. Although the girls had a great fun, they remained focused on the netball court, determined to play their best netball despite very rainy conditions.
At the end of the first day, Keswick were the only school to qualify all three age groups for the semi-finals with the Year 9 and 10 teams leading their groups. The Year 11 team, who were missing one shooter through injury, fought hard but lost in the semi-final game to Balshaws School. Coach Francesca Hamilton said ‘it was a great team effort with many girls playing out of position for the majority of their matches.’
The Year 9 and 10 teams who seemed to grow in confidence and ability as the weekend progressed both won their semi-finals convincingly, meaning Keswick were the only school to have two teams in the grand finals. The Year 10 team went on to play Moorland School where they won 9-6 and the Year 9 team played a very competent team from St Cecilia’s RC High School and won 12-7. Overall, the Year 11 team finished in third position and the Year 9 and 10 teams were tournament winners; all players received trophies and medals from England Netball Player Sophie Morgan. Players of the tournament were: Nicole Mattinson (Year 11), Ruth Barnes (Year 10) and Lauren Mattinson (Year 9).
Following the success of the weekend, both U14 and U16 teams went on to play in their district rounds of the National Schools competition.
Both teams were successful in qualifying for the County Finals. On Monday, the Year 9 team travelled to Sedbergh and were successful in beating Sedbergh School, Ullswater Community College, Trinity School and Ulverston School to top their group.
They were successful in beating a very competent side from Kirkby Stephen Grammar School in the semi-final and then went on to face Sedbergh School for the second time in the final.
Keswick won this match and were crowned County Champions! Coach Kate Stephen spoke of their success as “a really proud moment for all of the staff and pupils involved”.
She also said: “This is the first time that we have been crowned County Champions in netball. This achievement is thoroughly well deserved as these girls are a committed and hardworking with strength and depth in every position.
“The U14 team now go forward to represent Cumbria in the North West Regional Round of the competition in January. We wish the U16 and U18 teams good luck in their quest for qualification later this term.”