It will be hard work for Craighead

Craighead will face plenty of stiff competition on their home court if they are to succeed at the 16-team National Secondary Schools' Netball Championships, at the SBS Events Centre starting today.

Barry Tucker's team have three tough group B encounters to negotiate, with last year's defending champions Tu Toa again top seeds from the lower North Island.

They have finished no worse than fifth in their seven appearances, winning the tournament twice.

Whakatane's Trident High School are relative unknowns at this level, as they make their debut at their tournament this year after finishing fourth in the upper North Island group.

Palmerston North Girls' High School were the fifth and final qualifiers from the lower North Island.

They finished fifth last year and second in the first tournament when it was staged 20 years ago.

Last year's runner-up Mount Albert Grammar will be top seeds in pool A after being crowned the best team in the upper North Island.

It is their ninth consecutive appearance at the championships, and the 2010 champions have finished no worse than sixth.

The Timaru Herald