Netballer Alice Eddington wins second chance

SPOT ON: Alice Eddington has made the New Zealand secondary schools netball team.
SPOT ON: Alice Eddington has made the New Zealand secondary schools netball team.

A year ago, Alice Eddington arrived home from the New Zealand secondary schools' netball trials disappointed she did not show everything she had, but yesterday her second chance turned to redemption.

The Craighead Diocesan School goal-shoot was confirmed in the 12-strong secondary schools netball team which will travel to Adelaide next month for the trans-Tasman secondary schools tournament.

Eddington, 17, is the only South Island player to make the cut after a rigorous three-day trial in Auckland during the weekend.

She said it felt "amazing" to make the team after she missed out in 2011. "Last year, I came back and I felt frustrated that I didn't show everything I had. This time I knew what to expect and I was more mentally prepared for what I had to do."

Just staying fit for the trials during the summer off-season was a mission, with Eddington and long-time Craighead netball coach Barry Tucker a regular sight at the netball courts and the gym during the warmer months.

Eddington was tested mentally as well as physically during the three-day trial, with speed tests, exhaustion tests and match scenarios all used to try to find out if she had what it took to make the final dozen from a hopeful group of 26 players.

She survived the first cut by making the last 16, who then played a possible-versus-probables selection match on Sunday.

"The thing with that was the selectors didn't tell us which team was which."

It was only after watching the Canterbury Tactix game against the Southern Steel on Sunday night that she got the call that she was waiting for, even if the news came with one last twist.

"They said, it might be a surprise to you, but you'll probably play at goal attack for us at some point."

Eddington said she was thankful for the support of her Craighead team-mates in helping her get to this point.

"I have a fantastic team who work really hard and they make me look good on court."

Tucker said it was the ideal reward for Eddington given her progress.

He said she was now a complete player with the work ethic and drive to succeed.

"She now has the belief in herself and her abilities," Tucker said. "She has all the tools and I'm extremely happy for her."

It has the potential to be a big year for the Eddington, with the New Zealand secondary schools tournament being held in Timaru in October.

The Timaru Herald