From underdogs to champions
Against the odds Matamata New World College A netball team are champions.
The side took top honours in the Harbourside competition which is played over the Kaimai in Bay of Plenty.
The 14-week season saw them finish third after the championship round which included losing to Mt College by 13 goals and Tauranga Girls by a deficit of 17. They then played Mt College in the semifinals to beat them by three, meaning they made the final for the first time in three attempts.
The final saw them face up to the powerhouse of Tauranga Girls’, but Matamata managed to put on a convincing performance to defeat them 36-28 on August 19th.
‘‘We went into it not having a lot to lose having already lost to them by 17 goals, but the girls really prepared well and trained hard during that week, and everything just went right for us on the nigh. We ended up with a convincing win,’’ coach Kim Lawrence said.
‘‘Tauranga Girls’ have about 1700 students on their roll, while the total roll at Matamata College is 800 so we have 400 girls to choose from. To be able to play a big school like that and win, it’s massive for the girls.’’
The team had lost the services of six girls from the previous year so Lawrence hadn’t thought a winning result was on the cards.
‘‘We kind of thought it was a building year and we probably didn’t expect to achieve all that well which makes it all that much sweeter when you are still building with that group of players,’’ said Lawrence.
The team made the trek across to Tauranga every week on a Friday night never once playing with home court advantage. They were grateful for their loyal supporters who also travelled with them especially for the final.
Four of the girls who are in Year 13 won’t be returning next year, while Lawrence also may decide to go out on a high and let the team continue on with a new coach.
The team finished the season with the Upper North Island Secondary Schools tournament in Auckland where they finished 13th out of 32 in the B grade division.
New World College A Netball team, back row: Rania Wharawhar-Muriwai, Kim Lawrence, Shaydene Begovich, Poihaere Wharawhara, Grace Walker, Isabel Buckhurst, Matthew Hart (sponsor). Front row, Courtney Old, Mandy Williams, Baylee Norris, Renee Settle, Rhiannon Wharepapa, Nicole Butterworth.