29th October 2019 — During a brilliant day of netball at the Sussex round of the National Schools Competition, all three Hurst teams made it through to the regional finals for the first time.
It is always tough to bring a netball team together during the hockey term however, the U14As displayed commitment to training and playing in the Brighton mid-week league in order to help their preparation. The 10-strong squad played in a round robin competition at Roedean, with eight matches for each participating team. Although they expected all games to be tough, the girls retained a sense of calm all the way through as they scored 88 goals, allowing less than half of that total in reply. Going into their last match, they had already qualified for the regional finals however, the top spot on the leaderboard was still up for grabs. As much as they were disappointed to lose to Burgess Hill Girls by just goal, they still went through to the regionals as the leading Sussex school.
With 10 schools competing for two qualification spots in the U16s event, the squad were determined to claim one of those places. Captained by Sophia L and Emily K, the team started their campaign with a solid performance in winning comfortably against Bede’s. With adverse weather conditions it would have been easy to lose concentration however, as the tournament progressed, their team spirit did not falter as they improved with every game. The girls excelled in their whole court defence and their work rate was second to none, consistently turning over balls in every game which was highlighted in some strong wins against nine of the 10 teams – which put them through to the regional finals - including Eastbourne, Seaford and Burgess Hill. They met their match against a strong Brighton side and although level at half-time, they could not cling on to the win.
The 1st VII knew they had a tough day ahead, needing to beat either Worthing or Brighton - who finished first and second at last year’s national finals - alongside nine other teams. The girls recorded strong wins in their first few games against Roedean, Bede’s, Ardingly, Worth and Mayfield. Their game against Worthing was hard, as expected, as Worthing came out on top. Against Brighton, the girls performed with maximum effort to finish the first-half on level terms, and following a quick re-group and re-focus at half-time they came out on top. During the next couple of games, the girls played with a sense of calm confidence to take two more wins against BHASVIC and Collyer’s. Going into their final match against Seaford, fatigue had set in and the girls lost their composure to give Seaford a slight advantage however, the earlier result against Brighton meant they had done enough to qualify for the regionals alongside Worthing College.
“Working alongside a very busy hockey term, the netball girls put in extra hours and committed to play every Tuesday evening to allow for some much-needed training. This will continue through the second half of term to ensure the teams are all set for January when we hope to realise our aim of all three teams qualifying for the national finals,” Ellen Franks, Head of Netball.