Triple qualifying success for National Netball Finals - Hurstpierpoint College

Triple qualifying success for National Netball Finals

A brilliant and historic day for Hurst netball saw three teams qualify for the National Netball Finals for the first time – congratulations to the U19, U16 and U14 teams and coaches.


After a clean sweep at the County Round in October, the squad were keen to stamp their mark in the Regional Round. During the run-up, the girls had been training and playing with intent and were well prepared for a day of competition, as they ticked off a game at a time and on their way to winning their group. The girls played consistently all day, and although they began each game slowly, they soon took control in the second half to secure the wins. In their five group games, they defeated Barton Peverill 16-9, Wycombe High 15-6, Marist 12-7, Stowe 11-7 and St Helen and St Katherine 17-7.

Brighton College, who had come second in their group to a strong Wellington squad, were the semi-final opponents. This match was always going to be end-to-end, as the Brighton girls made our team work hard for every ball. Having been down at half-time, the Hurst girls dug deep and found two extra goals to win the match and qualify for the National Finals. With news that the U14s had also qualified and the U16s were still in extra time, the atmosphere was electric. Next up was the final against Wellington College. Morale was high and all players took to the court enthusiastically to complete the day. Although the Hurst girls lost by 14-11, they nevertheless enjoyed the match knowing they had already done enough to secure their much sought-after place as one of 16 schools to qualify for the National Netball Finals.

Qualifying in all three age groups is something the coaching staff have strived for and worked on for years. It is an amazing feeling to see the girls flourish and enjoy their netball as much as they do, under pressure at elite level. The home-grown talent we have at Hurst continues to blossom year by year. It is going to be such a proud moment to have three teams representing the South in March. Making Hurst history is special, and these opportunities are never taken for granted. Bex Jutson, Assistant Director of Sport


After a strong performance in the County Round back in October, the U16 squad were determined to give maximum effort to gain a qualification place for the National Netball Finals.

In the first game, the Hurst girls came flying out of the blocks to beat Farnborough Hill 10-4 and maintained their form for a 20-6 win against Beaconsfield High School. The third match was predicted to be a tough encounter against Wellington College, however by taking two crucial turnovers in defence, the Hurst girls went on to win 10-6. That was followed by wins against Sir Henry Floyd (21-5) and The Priory (26-0). The final group game was a top of the table clash against St Helen and St Katherine – who were also undefeated at this point. Some early turnovers saw the Hurst girls take a marginal lead and they were then able to extend that lead to win 14-8 and finish top of their group.

Hurst’s semi-final opponents were Portsmouth High School, who finished second in their group. A nervous start saw the Hurst girls make a couple of uncharacteristic errors to find themselves 3-0 down. However, they dug deep to bring themselves back into the game, to take a one goal lead at half time. In the second half, Portsmouth High took the first centre pass and scored to draw level – the game then went end-to-end with each team scoring off their own centre pass. Two minutes each way and after the first two minutes the teams were still level. With 12 seconds left to play it was still even and Portsmouth High had the ball. However, a tip on the ball by the Hurst defence was picked up, passed down the court to a shooter, who converted with just six seconds left to play – the girls had just done enough to qualify for the National Finals in the most dramatic fashion. After the semi-final, emotions were high, however the girls composed themselves to play the final against The Marist. Knowing they had already achieved qualification, the girls relaxed and played some of their best netball of the day to win the final 11-9 and become regional champions.

The hard work from players and coaching staff has paid off and we are delighted to have all three teams through to the finals for the first time ever. With the U16s going into extra time, both the U14 and U19 squads rushed over to court side to cheer the girls on. When the final whistle went, seeing all the girls run onto court and come together as one was the highlight of the day. We look forward to seeing all three teams working hard and competing at their best for the National Finals. Ellen Franks, Head of Netball


The U14s took their place, representing Sussex (along with Ardingly), at the Regional Round of the National Schools Competition. The girls form a strong and dedicated squad, as most of them play club netball in the regional set up, putting in a lot of time and effort outside of school to be as good as they are. On court, the girls perform with maturity and that is when they look most at ease.

All squad members had at least one game in the group matches, as Hurst took victories against Churcher’s College (10-4), Wycombe High (15-9), Marist (14-9), Webber (31-0), and St Helen and St Katherine (14-7). Having won their group, the Hurst girls took on Ardingly, runners-up of the other group, in the semi-finals. Hurst had a great start, scoring five goals on the bounce, and prevented Ardingly from any opportunity to score a goal. Ardingly did not give up and came back to score six goals in the second half. However, the Hurst girls continued at a steady pace, to come away with a 12-6 win and qualification for the National Netball Finals.

The final was against St Swithun’s, who had something to prove, as they recently lost to Hurst in a full-game cup competition. It was a tense match, as the teams went goal-for-goal, reaching the end of the game with the score at 13–13. Going into extra time is never easy, and as a few little errors crept in on both sides due to tiredness, the Hurst girls suffered a well-contested 17-15 loss.

The squad now must prepare for the finals in March. There is a lot of work to do but the girls will make Hurst proud, whatever the outcome. Carol Adams, Sports Coach