On Friday the Year 8 netball team travelled to Liddington PGL centre for a jam packed weekend of netball and activities. The team were so excited for their first team trip away and were ready for the challenge of new teams and exciting competition.

On Friday evening the team took part in lots of team building games, in competition with the other year groups they did well and were prepped for the weekend ahead. Saturday morning started with a 7am wakeup call! Some did not appreciate it! However we headed to watch the first match for the year 9 and 10 teams to prepare us mentally for what was in store in the afternoon!

The team headed over to the PGL activity site and we queued up for the Giant Swing, it was a long wait but so worth it! I’m not sure who was more scared, but we all did it and the motivation and excitement continued to build for the afternoon, ‘who are we playing?’ ‘are they good?’ ‘do you think  it’s them over there?!’. The activities continued to challenge the whole team, abseiling, zip wire and leap of faith to name a few. As our time on the activities drew to a close nerves began to build.

After lunch the team headed out to the courts, knowing we had some tough competition the team started their warm up. The first match would be against Kew House Gardens. The match started and the atmosphere was electric! The year 9 and 10’s sat on the side line cheering the team on! Kew House proved to be tough competition, at the final whistle the score 11 – 6 to Kew House, Southam played well but we all knew they had more to give. We were into the tournament and the team wanted to win more than ever now!

The second match was against Queens School who had looked good in their previous games. All of the team were ready for the challenge; as soon as the first whistle blew you could tell Southam were hungry for the ball, Olivia, Rose and Katy all gaining big interceptions with the support of Sarah and Charley in wing defence. The centre court leading into attack of Erin, Issie, Bo, Ellie, Charlotte and Alex all worked well dodging into space and using sneaky passes to outwit Queens. Southam were playing as Southam and supporting each other off and on court…the final score 11 – 2 to us!

Going into the next game we were on a high, Stoke Dameral Community College had very professional looking dresses and hoodies – this psyched the Southam team out! However, again as soon as the first whistle went Southam came out strong, winning the ball and shooting accurately. With the support of the whole team the girls came out on top…the final score 7-3

The team only had one game to rest and prepare for their next, watching the opposition in their matches we started to gain hope that we could get into the semi finals! Our last match of the afternoon was against Teign School, their attack had looked strong all day so the team knew they had to all defend to win. When the team played the amount of support for each other, the amount of goals being scored and the amount of interceptions being made was out of this world! The team showed strength in skill and in ability and controlled the game effectively! Another great win for Southam 7 – 4!
Looking at the score sheets Saturday evening, Southam were going into Sunday in 3rd place behind Cheltenham Ladies and Kew House Gardens!

Sunday morning gave us rain! The team hoped that this would be an advantage as they all play outside. The first game of Sunday was Cheltenham Ladies who were above us on points. We needed to draw or win to maintain our semi final hopes! The warm up was strong and the team were excited, a different buzz in the atmosphere today, nerves, prospect and enthusiasm built.

The first half saw Olivia, Rose and Katy make consistent interceptions! Alex, Charlotte and Ellie when shooting played amazing as an attacking unit and the centre court, Sarah, Erin and Charley worked hard to bring the ball up court working both with attack and defence. At half time Southam were up by 1! A close game, nail biting for the supporters, but Southam were loud and Sarah did well to control the pace of the game when playing centre. In the last few seconds Cheltenham Ladies scored to make the final score 6-6!

Kew Gardens would be our first and last game of the rounds, the final score would not affect our chance of the semi final but the team wanted to do well. Bo and Issie came on to shake up the opposition and inject some more pace into the centre court, the whole team played amazing and seeing the progress from the first game to the last of the rounds was immense! Kew Gardens still proved to be tough competition, but an improvement on the score from Saturday…8-5 to Kew Gardens.

We had made it to the semi final!!!! The team were ecstatic and we were super proud of the team. We had Cheltenham Ladies in the semi finals and based on how we previously played against them we were confident and prepared for their difficult team. The first half Cheltenham Ladies came out strong and fast paced, Southam lacked in confidence and looked lost. 6-2 at half time, the team needed something new, a sense of unity and some positivity. Back on the court the team had something different, they were confident, working as a team and controlling the game – Cheltenham Ladies looked surprised and couldn’t keep up with Southam! The final whistle went and the score was 6-6!! No one knew what was going to happen, then we found out…2 minutes each way in extra time. The nerves were higher than they had been the whole weekend, the excitement was even bigger and still the team looked calm! No goals were scored in the first half and none in the start of the second, Southam played so well and everyone was supporting them, Cheltenham got one goal and the final whistle went!

A difficult blow to the team but a very evenly matched semi final! Miss MacLachlan and Mrs Herbage want to reiterate how proud we are of the whole team! A great effort all round and an excellent finish of 3rd place for their first tournament. Here’s to next year and the new challenges you will face then!

Player of the tournament – Olivia Constable


Squad: Rose Hill (GK), Katy Black (GK/GD), Olivia Constable (GD), Charley Furey (WD), Sarah Costa (WD/C), Erin Jones (C/WA/WD), Issie Fairhurst (C), Bo Crump (WA/C), Ellie Cumberbatch (GA), Alex Lyle (GA/GS)and Charlotte Wain (GS).

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