MGC team benefit from competition

The Marlborough Girls' College netball team will come back tougher mentally and physically if they can reach the New Zealand Secondary Schools Champs again next year, according to manager Di Saul.

On Friday, MGC placed 16th and last at this year's event following a 31-25 loss to Trident High, of Whakatane, in their seventh and final match of the tournament at Timaru's SBS Events Centre. It meant the Marlborough side lost all seven of their matches, although two of those were tied after normal time, only for MGC to eventually go down in extra-time.

Trident led 7-6 at quartertime and by halftime that margin had not changed as the Whakatane team held a 13-12 advantage. By three-quartertime Trident had opened up a five-goal gap and they extended that by one further goal in the final period to secure the win and, with it, 15th place.

While not wanting to make excuses, Saul said the toll of what had been a long week started to show in the second half as Trident edged away.

"We just couldn't finish off our good work and the mental toughness wasn't quite there. The girls had tired legs because when you're losing you are doing a lot of defensive work, whereas teams that are winning, their bodies aren't worn out so much."

Despite their lowly placing, Saul said there were several positives to take from the tournament.

"The girls have learnt so much and they have all really improved. They will be a lot tougher mentally and physically if they can make it back next year. Several games were there for the taking."

All 10 MGC players had their strong moments throughout the week, but Saul mentioned midcourter Sarah French and defender Portia Barcello for standout efforts. Shooters Lauren Murray and Georgie Crawford also played consistently well.

MGC qualified for the tournament by placing fourth at the South Island Secondary Schools Champs last month. The top five from that tournament go forward to nationals each year.

The Marlborough Express