Wirral Grammar (U14s), Parrenthorn (U16s) and Worthing College (U19s) have been crowned 2018/19 National Schools Finals champions.
It had already been a remarkable journey for all 54 qualified schools and they showed exactly why they deserved their place at the prestigious national competition with some outstanding netball.
In the U14 age category, Blue Coat dominated Section A, winning seven of their eight matches. They were joined in the semi-finals by Berkhamstead, who won six of their fixtures in the opening stage. Wirral took the honours in Section B after a clean sweep, while St Helen & St Katherine qualified in second place with 33 points.
The two group winners then knocked out the runners-up in their respective sections in the semi-finals. Blue Coat dominated to secure a 18-6 win against St Helen & St Katherine and Wirral ended Berkhamsted’s hopes of defending their title with a 13-7 victory.
Wirral carried on their impressive form to overcome Blue Coat 18-7 in the final to end the day unbeaten. St Helen & St Katherine bounced back from their semi-finals disappointment to take third place (11-5).
In the U16s section, none of the top four teams from last year returned, meaning that the competition was wide open.
Section C in the U16 category saw Parrenthorn in imperious form to record a maximum 40 points. They were joined in the semi-finals by Kings School Worcester. Brighton College took five wins and played out three entertaining draws to top Section D. Withington claimed the second semi-final spot after pipping Loughborough High School by a point.
Both semi-finals were nail-biting affairs each won by a single goal. Parrenthorn edged out Withington 9-8 and Brighton College snatched a 11-10 victory over Kings School Worcester.
It was to be Withington who bounced back best in the third-place play-off to take a 13-9 win and the bronze medal. Parrenthorn triumphed in the final, recording a comfortable 18-4 victory over Brighton College.
Last year’s runners-up Bromsgrove School and Millfield both progressed through Section E to set up semi-finals against Grammar School at Leeds and Worthing College respectively. All four teams picked up 36 points in the group stages.
Both Section F teams then beat their E counterparts in the semi-finals. Grammar School at Leeds snuck past Bromsgrove 10-8 and Worthing got the better of Millfield by 17-9.
After losing 13-9 to Millfield in Section E earlier in the day, Bromsgrove reversed the outcome to take third place with a 12-8 win. Worthing continued their rich vein of goalscoring form in the final to lift the trophy after defeating Grammar School at Leeds 12-5.
New England Netball partners, the British Army, supported the event with fun and games for teams to take part in when they weren’t playing. In addition, the winning team in each age group has also been invited to attend an Ultimate Training Camp led by the British Army. This will include on court training from England Netball coaches, plus the chance to meet and talk with the Head Coach of the Vitality Roses, Tracey Neville.
2018/19 National Schools Finals results:
U14 Winners – Wirral
Runners Up – Blue Coat
U16 Winners – Parrenthorn
Runners Up – Brighton College
U19 Winners – Worthing College
Runners Up – Grammar School at Leeds
Endeavour Award – Cranford U16s
Best Defence – Wirral U14s (36 goals)
Best Attack – Millfield U19s (118 goals)
A full list of the results and final standings from the 2018/19 National Schools Finals can be viewed here.
A huge thank you to all the players, coaches, support staff, umpires, officials, volunteers, spectators and staff at Stanborough School for a fantastic weekend of action.