As ever, the netball teams’ annual visit to Condover Hall for their netball tournament was a huge success, with no fewer than three trophies returning to school. We arrived on Friday 12th May to be greeted with a huge downpour of rain, leaving us nervous for the weather to grace us the rest of the weekend. A quick, and very wet, tour of the grounds for our Year 7 squad who had never been before, was the first on our list followed by some evening fun, with students completing many of the exciting activities on offer, including a disco, caving and a laser maze. Students were settled into bed early, ready for the tough weekend ahead of challenging netball fixtures, details of which are outlined below by year group.

On Saturday evening, after playing games for most of the day, the students made their way to the evening activities again – many of them taking on the opportunity to get some extra training in on the courts whilst supervised by the tournament organisers. We are sure they even got some extra tuition whilst there as well; they are certainly all very dedicated individuals. The weather certainly picked up for the games and played to our advantage, ensuring we managed to bask in the sun in between fixtures and enjoy the beautiful surroundings Condover Hall had to offer.

Year 7 played their first games on Saturday morning; a shaky and nervous start saw them lose their first game. They quickly regained their composure and went unbeaten for the remainder of the day. A fantastic achievement for their first full set of fixtures. They were provided with the challenge of completing three games on Sunday, needing to win all three to be crowned champions. This was a challenge they rose to, claiming us our first victory of the weekend with results of 2-1, 6-0 and 7-2.

Year 8 also played on Saturday morning, seeing a more mixed set of results come their way, facing some really tough opposition. They finished Saturday in second place within their league. More tough games on Sunday followed with Year 8 rising to the challenge and winning all three of the games on the day, taking them through to a tough final for the cup. Unfortunately, on this occasion, they were beaten in the final, facing a team they had outplayed on Saturday but their opponents had certainly upped their game for the occasion and beat the team 4-2. As runners up, the Year 8 girls were gracious in defeat and finished the weekend with smiles on their faces in the knowledge they had given their all and played some fantastic netball over the weekend.

Year 9 played Saturday afternoon and after a long wait during the morning, found themselves in an extremely tough league, possibly some of the toughest opposition I have encountered as a coach in all six visits to Condover. Not to be deterred, the girls powered through and finished the day with some victories under their belt to help boost their confidence on Sunday. This saw true with the girls starting their Sunday fixtures with a 7-0 victory; this was followed by a 6-1 win. The girls went into their final game knowing a victory would put them into the final and their confidence was high. Unfortunately, on the day they were pipped to the final by a very strong netball club, losing the game 6-4, seeing the girls finish the weekend in 3rd place. This was still a fantastic achievement given the standard of netball played within their age group.

Year 10 had to wait until 2:30 before playing their first game, but this had certainly not affected their energy levels or mentality, going on an unbeaten run with all six games, even managing to keep a clean sheet across all games. They took top spot in their league and a phenomenal goal difference of 96 into the second day of games. Their winning streak continued on Sunday morning, however they did concede three goals in their final four games, losing their clean sheet! Their fantastic run saw them crowned champions with an overall goal difference of 127; apparently the highest the organisers have ever seen. WELL DONE to the girls on this achievement.

After the end of all of the games and all finals that were played, we boarded the coach and started our journey home complete with our three trophies; two champions and one runner-up. A huge well done to the staff as well who reigned supreme at the staff quiz on Saturday afternoon, winning for the fifth year in a row!