Net­ballers win 2nd ti­tle in three years


Holy Cross have won the AIMS Games net­ball ti­tle for the sec­ond time in three years.

The cham­pion net­ballers, who twice turned the ta­bles on Auck­land schools that had beaten them ear­lier this sea­son, weren’t the only Holy Cross team to re­turn with heads held high. Their bowlers were crowned the best per­formed AIMS Games in­door bowls team giv­ing the school dou­ble cause for cel­e­bra­tion. The AIMS Games is an an­nual sports event in Tau­ranga for in­ter­me­di­ate-age pupils which this year at­tracted around 10,000 com­peti­tors from more than 300 schools. Net­ball is prob­a­bly the most com­pet­i­tive of the 20 sports con­tested, with 122 schools in­volved. Holy Cross won all seven group games against Ba­radene, South­ern Cross, Fer­gu­son In­ter­me­di­ate, Rer­e­moana, Beth­le­hem Col­lege, Welling­ton’s Sa­muel Mars­den Col­le­giate and Kaitaia In­ter­me­di­ate to qual­ify for A grade. The next stage of the tour­na­ment in­volved games against three other sec­tion win­ners and run­ners-up, with an­other three wins re­quired.

‘‘Our first game was against Block­house Bay In­ter­me­di­ate, who had pre­vi­ously beaten us at the Auck­land Champs,’’ Holy Cross coach Sarah Hann says. ‘‘It was a tough game and we were down at half­time but the girls pulled through and won 23-20.’’

Holy Cross then beat Carmel Col­lege and Auck­land Dioce­san to ad­vance to the quar­ter­fi­nals, where they saw off North Shore school Northcross In­ter­me­di­ate 32-17. That set up a semi­fi­nal with Hast­ings school Peter­head in what turned out to be the tight­est game of their cam­paign.

‘‘We knew it would be tough be­cause they’d knocked out St Kentigern in the quar­ters. We talked about how the game would be won by the team that was smartest and calmest. We were down by five at half­time but the girls found some ex­tra en­ergy, strength and team­work to pull through and win 30-29 in the last 10 sec­onds.’’

Await­ing in the fi­nal was Glen Eden In­ter­me­di­ate, who had beaten Holy Cross twice this sea­son.

‘‘We went goal for goal in the first half but in the third quar­ter, we con­verted some turnovers and were up by four. We played con­sis­tently in the fi­nal quar­ter and held our lead to win 20-16.’’

Hann praised the fit­ness and men­tal tough­ness of her team to win all 13 of their games over five days.

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