Waimea show mettle at nationals
After failing to make the top eight in Timaru, Waimea College Senior A reset some goals, began to enjoy their netball and picked up their first victory at the New Zealand secondary schools national netball tournament.
Having claimed the South Island title last month, Waimea painted a big target on their backs, and St Margaret's College from Christchurch must have been gunning for the rematch. The school Waimea College beat by four points in the quarterfinals at the South Island championships came back with a vengeance, walloping Waimea 46-20 yesterday.
Waimea went behind 13-6 early on but were still in the game at halftime trailing 23-13. A stunning third quarter took the game out of Waimea's grasp as St Margaret's scored 13 goals to 3, doubling their lead to 20 points.
St Margaret's were more accurate across court and forced Waimea into rushing their passes. The Christchurch side picked up 15 intercepts and forced Waimea into eight incomplete passes. Statistically a late 80 or early 90 per cent shooter, Shaun Aindow could only manage 13 from 20 attempts. Opposition goal shoot Jessica Prosser shot 30 goals from 33.
"We got absolutely wiped off the court," said Faye Eden, Waimea College Senior A coach.
"It's pretty much what we did to Columba [College] last year. They beat us at South Islands, we got fifth. We got to nationals and one of our goals was to smash them and we did it. That is pretty much what happened to us against St Margaret's," she said. "It was tough and we didn't play well at all. But in a way it is like, OK, those three games are finished, we didn't make top eight, Hannah [Davenhill] arrived and we've got our full team, let's start again. We decided to completely forget about that [stage of the tournament] and move on with a new start in the next round."
With the pressure off, Waimea returned to the court with a fresh attitude in the afternoon and converted that into a performance that reflected the talent in the squad.
With a ninth-place finish still obtainable, Waimea posted their first win, beating Wellington East College 39-26 in post-pool play.
Waimea won three of four quarters, starting well to lead 10-5 at the first break. In the second period they extended the difference to lead 22-12 at halftime.
In the third quarter Waimea quelled a Wellington comeback to maintain a 30-21 lead, and then pushed again, winning the final quarter 9-5.
Everything just seemed to click and every player was back to their best, Aindow shooting 35 goals at 88 per cent, goal attack Kayla Cross and centre Kaitlin Stringer both hitting close to 10 assists and wing attack Ella Marwick receiving 23 centre passes. In the defensive end, Gracie Roberts got up for numerous deflections, while Davenhill was pulling down intercepts and forcing turnovers.
"We met Wellington East and they [Waimea College] were outstanding. They all did really well; everybody did their job and that's how we play netball," Eden said.
"They finally realised that you need to stop aiming so high and play your style and you'll do OK. We went out there with smiles on our faces and thought, ‘Yeah, we can do this'."
This morning, Waimea were to play Westlake Girls', followed this afternoon by a match against Trident High School of Whakatane.
- © Fairfax NZ News