Hutt Intermediate just beat netball rivals Maidstone
Hutt Intermediate reversed two losses to beat netball rivals Maidstone 31-30 and win the Challenge Cup.
Played on Hutt Valley Netball finals day, Hutt went into the Year 8 game having lost twice to their Upper Hutt rivals.
The rules for intermediate netball are unusual in that teams can play two boys.
Hutt, which has dominated in recent years, is the only local school that plays boys.
This year Hutt included Caleb Mapu in its line-out.
Assistant coach Paula Willis-Love says that locally the standard of intermediate netball is not high. When Hutt travel to play in national tournaments, they inevitably come up against teams with boys.
The final was very close and she was proud that the players overcame a recent four goal defeat to beat Maidstone.
"I think it was down to their belief in themselves and they had worked really hard on their fitness. It just all came together on the day."
Standout players have been goal attack Destiny Patea and defender Charise Perez.
For the first time in many years, the Year 8 team also included a Year 7 student, Tema Rayasi. Despite being younger than her team-mates, Tema took her opportunity when an injury forced a change to the squad.
The player of the day was Jenna-Rose Mafua.
Hutt has a roll of around 640 and fields 17 netball teams.
Willis-Love says the school takes netball seriously.
Last year, Hutt came 9th at the AIMs Games in Tuaranga. Willis-Love says that once Hutt started to play teams from outside the region, she realised that to be competitive the team needed to include boys.
This year, Hutt played Caleb Mapu and is taking another boy, Josiah Patea, to the AIM's Games this week.
Having boys makes a huge difference, she says.
"Boys in a team speed the game up and they are intimidating on court because of their height and speed."
She is already thinking about next year's team and is on the lookout for big athletic boys who have the skills required for netball.
- Hutt News