School aces hold nerve to hit back in na­tional fi­nal

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

DE­LIGHTED Bea­cons­field High School are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter be­com­ing the na­tional U19 schools cham­pi­ons.

Af­ter claim­ing the county and re­gional ti­tles in a gru­elling tour­na­ment, Bea­cons­field qual­i­fied as one of the 18 best sides in the coun­try.

The mem­ory of a pre­vi­ous one­goal loss against Leeds Gram­mar drove them on and that re­silience proved es­sen­tial in a tense fi­nal against Queen Ethel­burga’s.

Head­teacher Rachel Smith praised the “won­der­fully-tal­ented stu­dents” and their coaches for a suc­cess for a school which prides it- self on sport­ing prow­ess. Bea­cons­field had to fight their way through the qual­i­fy­ing stages first, which meant eight games in al­most two hours of full-speed and high-in­ten­sity com­bat.

They beat Comp­ton 10-8 and then Mill­field 7-5 be­fore set­tling for more com­fort­able suc­cesses against Dame Al­lan’s (20-2) and Guild­ford High (15-8).

A break be­fore the group match with Queen Ethel­burga’s – who had not lost all sea­son – al­most paid off but the match was lost 12-11 af­ter be­ing level with 12 sec­onds to go.

An in­spi­ra­tional talk from coach Kat Rat­na­pala proved timely as Bea­cos­nfield won their next two games, against Bishop Ve­sey’s Gram­mar (15-6) and Oakham (14-6).

With both Queen Ethel­burga’s and Comp­ton also thriv­ing, the fi­nal games of qual­i­fy­ing were key, Bea­cons­field beat­ing St Al­bans High School 15-3 in their fi­nal game to en­sure a semi-fi­nal slot, see­ing off Holy Cross 9-7 in yet an­other tight game and set­ting up a re­match with Queen Ethel­burga’s, who had pipped Bark­ing Abbey.

Yet the fi­nal started badly, a 3-0 deficit alarm­ing in matches where each half lasted just seven min­utes.

But Bea­cons­field lev­elled and with the lead taken, kept a lid on cel­e­bra­tions through a nervy fi­nal minute to claim an 11-6 vic­tory and spark de­lighted cel­e­bra­tions for the team plus Rat­na­pala and as­sis­tants Sam Perry and Francesca Wells.

“I’m so very proud of their ef­forts and those of our PE staff, who have all com­mit­ted them­selves whole­heart­edly and cre­ated in­cred­i­ble suc­cess not only for them­selves but for the school,” said head Smith. “It is this kind of event that fur­ther proves the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the very best stan­dards of sport in the school.”

Champs: Bea­cons­field High’s U19 schools netball cham­pi­ons, from left, rear: Kat Short, Alex Taal, Sadie Thomas, Bea Over­turf and Katie Bowen and, front: Josie Kucera, Am­ber Bains, Anya Wood Mil­lie Pa­trick, Natalya Short and Lau­ren Tor­ley

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