Report by Captain, Tara Glenan
Wakefield Girls’ U14 Netball Team took part in the National Schools Finals on Saturday 12th March 2022. It was one of the most memorable and amazing experiences our team has taken part in. As a school, this was a massive success and achievement for us as it was the first time in 12 years that we have managed to get this far into the National Schools competition.
Leading up to the National Finals, we were the West Yorkshire Champions and then consolidated this effort by being undefeated in the Regional round becoming Champions of Yorkshire and Humberside (which is the biggest county in England!) Not only have we bonded as a team, we have had the opportunity to experience some of the best preparation training available and we couldn’t thank the P.E teachers enough for this. We were very privileged to have the opportunity to be coached by Jade Clarke, a Leeds Rhinos
player and captain of the Rhinos Superleague Team. Alongside this we participated in fitness training in the school multi gym, to improve our cardiovascular endurance, speed & strength, all of which are important components of fitness within netball.
Not only did this allow us to improve, it enabled us to develop our resilience and perseverance and we learnt the importance of never giving up.
The weekend arrived and we made our way down to Peterborough. When we arrived, we went to Oundle to look around the school and then had a training session on the courts in preparation for the next day. Afterwards, we made our way to the hotel and had a team dinner, followed by a team meeting. We were fortunate enough to receive good luck messages from our families and several special guests, including the Leeds Rhinos Superleague Team. This was a massive surprise for us and we were very grateful for the teachers and the effort that had gone into creating the video.
On Saturday morning we experienced lots of pre match nerves as well as excitement building up to the start of the tournament. We made our way to Oundle for Nationals and that was when the feeling was real. We knew we had achieved something great. After we had our official team photos taken, we were ready and prepared for the start of the tournament.
Our first game began at 11:34 am with our first centre pass. It was a very close and well-challenged game, however some nervousness led to errors we wouldn’t normally have made, which led us to a 6-8 loss. Despite this defeat, we bounced back and learnt from the mistakes we had made, to win our second game convincingly 14-2. This result calmed us down and we felt more positive going into the rest of the day.
As the games progressed, we unfortunately suffered injuries to several of our players. We were determined to keep going and had to adjust and adapt in each game. In the end, we finished 15th in the country which is a massive achievement for us and we were all so proud and very grateful that we got to participate in this event. We couldn’t have done this without the support, time and effort the team gave each other and the support offered to us from our families and the PE Department. We hope that we can use these experiences going forward, not only to improve our own play but to inspire and empower our younger peers to reach for the same levels of success in the future.