Netball on track with our new Director of Sport
Takapuna Grammar School’s Premier netball team is one game away from making a Top 4 play-off after claiming some vital wins in the Netball North Harbour schools’ Premier competition.
A resilient effort in the most recent game against Kaipara, saw the team claw back a four-goal deficit in the final minutes to snatch a one-goal win. Principal Mary Nixon was court side in the Onewa Arena and signalled her heart was racing as the clock ticked down. The team’s ability to win defensive turnovers, control the ball at speed through court and ultimately convert when it most mattered made the difference.
The win was a sign of growing game sense in a young side, underpinned by a record number of Harbour age-group representative players in the ranks. It leaves the team in good heart to finish the competition on a high for TGS. Then it’s off to the week-long Upper North Island Secondary Schools tournament in early September with ambitions to secure a grade rise there.
Whatever the final outcome of the season, Team 1 has already recorded the best results by TGS in many years. First it won promotion from NNH’s Open A grade, following a clean sweep of seven games in Round 1. Once in the more physical and fast-paced Premier grade (and after an initial big loss to pacesetters Westlake), the team surprised powerhouse school Carmel (46-28) and then Rangitoto (29-22). Adding the most recent win against Kaipara and a bonus point loss to Long Bay took it into the top half of the table.
With the departure of top English coach Shaunagh Craig back to the UK, the team she did much to develop has done a good job of retaining focus. Co-coach and North Shore local Jenna Murie is now employed in Ms Craig’s former role as Director of Sport, providing welcome continuity for the school’s netball programme. Both coaches played elite netball in England’s Vitality Super League and have introduced new standards of fitness and performance. Age group sides are recording promising results. Team culture and injury prevention is also a focus, to ensure that the school’s most played sport continues to attract players ranging from the competitive to those whose focus is more on a fun fitness activity with friends.