St. George's A Team Triumph at Annual Primary Schools 'A' Team Tournament
St. George’s A team played in the Annual Primary Schools ‘A’ team tournament on the 7th March at Les Ormes. The squad consisting of the usual eight A team players were very excited and knew it would be a morning of great netball and many challenges. Everyone was keen to get started. We were to play in Group B of the tournament, facing 5 other schools in the first round. It was the last big netball competition of the year for the A team and the culmination of all their hard work over the year.
The team made a nervous start to the tournament against St. John who they have played twice before. St. John worked well, moving the ball quickly to one of their tall boys who played GA. St. George’s played well in response, passing firmly down the court and converting our centre passes each time. Frankie was on form in the D as GS, putting her shots up quickly and jumping for any rebounds. At half time the score was 4-3 to us, but there was certainly no time to lose focus. In the second half St. George’s managed to break the opposition’s centre pass to get further ahead. The final score was 6-4 to a rather relieved St. George’s.
The second game was against Les Landes. India had her work cut out against the Jersey Under 11 GD. She worked hard to find space and fed the ball accurately to her sister Frankie at GS. Our defence played their part, marking tightly, making it difficult for Les Landes to safely pass the ball up court. Willow drove out hard for centre passes time and time again, and she linked well with the shooters delivering well weighted feeds into the shooting circle. Frankie was outstanding during this game, comfortably converting all 8 goals, resulting in St. George’s easy 8-0 win.
Our biggest group game was next, against rivals St. Michael’s Prep who had many Island players making up their squad. Both teams defended well, trying to spoil the movement of their opposition and any mistakes were punished by both teams. Aoife worked hard against the St. Michael’s C; both of them were fairly matched and equally athletic making their game very competitive. Mia, GK had to stick tightly to her tall GS who had an accurate shot and Lucy worked well to deny her GA space, keeping her from easily moving into the D. At half time the score was 2-2 with everything to play for. Both Fatima and Dawson who played WD for a half each played their parts, making life difficult for the opposition WA who was trying to feed the D. In the second half India managed to pass the ball off quickly as Frankie made timely dodges to lose the GK. St. George’s broke St. Michael’s centre pass and managed to convert the shot, which put us ahead. The final was 6-4 to a very relieved St. George’s team.
Our last two games of the group stage were against teams we had never played before, Grands Vaux and Rouge Bouillon. In both games St. George’s played great netball, passing the ball down court strongly, doing the basics well, driving into space, changing direction and turning in the air. With each player tightly defending their opponents on and off the ball we gained possession many times. India and Frankie worked especially well in the D, moving confidently towards the ball and stepping into the post to shorten their shooting distance. Against Grands Vaux we won 10-0 and against Rouge Bouillon we won 8-1.
Having won all our games in Group B we were through to the semi-finals against runners-up from Group A, JCP. The other semi-final was St. Michael’s v Beaulieu.
Having yet to meet JCP in the termly league our players didn’t know how strong they would be. The team got off to a great start, passing quickly and confidently down to the shooters. Frankie and India moved confidently in the D converting all chances at goal. Aoife fought hard against the JCP centre, another Island player and had great courage to stay on court after falling heavily at the edge of the D. On the half time whistle we were ahead 4-1. After a quick team talk the team went out with great confidence, passing the ball accurately down the court to the shooters. Every player kept pressuring with tight defence which helped to panic the opposition. Willow and Aoife changed direction frequently to find space and Frankie made timely dodges to receive the ball, managing to net 4 more goals in the half with India ready to rebound. At the end of the game the semi-final score was 9-1 to St. George’s. We had completely outplayed the opposition.
The girls had reached the final! Their opponents were Beaulieu who had beaten St. Michael’s in the other semi. We knew this game would be tough; we hadn’t yet played Beaulieu in the league but we knew they had 5 Island players and they too had beaten St. Michael’s in the Spring Term league. Both teams started well, with St. George’s scoring first, followed quickly by a Beaulieu goal. Any mistakes were punished quickly, with the ball changing hands frequently in the first half. There were lots of ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd as the ball kept changing possession. At half time the score was 1-1, demonstrating how competitive the game was. The team refocused at half time, working harder to get free, making sure the passes were accurate and not wasted. Beaulieu equally fought hard and for the next 5 minutes, the game went goal for goal. At the end whistle the score was 4-4 which meant that an extra 5 minutes needed to be played for extra time. Mrs Morgan spoke with the team, reminding them of how well they had done and how they now needed to dig deep, working even harder to defend to get turnover ball.
In those last 5 minutes they all came out fighting. Any loose ball was theirs. They stuck tightly to their players making it hard for Beaulieu to find easy passage down the court. The attackers fed the ball beautifully into the D to our shooters who managed under great pressure to add three more goals to their tally, with nothing in reply from Beaulieu. On the final whistle of extra time St. George’s had secured their win 7-4, taking the Primary Schools A Team Tournament title, much to the delight of the large crowd of supporters.
It had been a fantastic morning of netball by everyone and the whole team should be very proud of what they achieved. Well done St. George’s A team!
During the presentations, the St. George’s team were presented with the Winner’s trophy for their Division during the Autumn Term 2019.
A Team Players
Natacha Morgan Pasquali (Netball Coach)