Teams competing in regional Premier secondary school netball competitions are taking a well-earned breather over the school holidays, before a busy stretch coming up.
For the leading schools, the ultimate prize is the 2016 New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships being held from 4-7 October in Lower Hutt. Sixteen of the country’s gun netball schools will descend on Walter Nash Stadium following qualification through the three zone tournaments. The top six teams from the Upper North Island tournament joined by the leading five from the Lower North Island and South Island tournaments.
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Here’s a look at where three of the competitions are at – Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury:
The Auckland Premier 1 competition is on hiatus from 2 July – 27 July – resuming with a night round on the first Wednesday of the new term.
National winners Mount Albert Grammar School and Saint Kentigern College were the top two schools in the country last year.
So it is little surprise that six rounds into the 11-round competition, MAGS and St Kent’s are neck and neck in the 12-team Premier competition at the top of the table.
In fact, little separates the two. Both are unbeaten on 24 points on the table. St Kent’s have scored 286 goals and let in 140, while MAGS have netted 250 goals and conceded 148.
The key round-robin game coming up will be the showdown between MAGS and St Kent’s 6 August at MAGS.
Of the other contenders, Epsom Girls’ Grammar School are third with four wins, a loss and a draw and Westlake Girls’ High School and Howick College are fourth equal with three wins, two losses and a draw each.
Finals night is on Wednesday 24 August.
St Mary’s College, who finished fourth at the Nationals last year, hold sway in the Wellington WelTec Netball Premiership competition.
After three rounds, St Mary’s and Wellington East Girls’ College are unbeaten on 12 points, with Sacred Heart and Queen Margaret College both on 8 with two wins from three.
St Mary’s beat close rivals Wellington East Girls’ College (WEGC) 24-11 when they met in the final of the pre-competition tournament on 19 May. Wellington Girls’ College defeated St Oran’s College in the third versus fourth match.
St Mary's and WEGC meet in the first round following the holidays, on 25 July.
St Mary’s College's 2016 New Zealand Secondary Schools representatives Ainsleyana Puleiata and Renee Savai'inaea have all been playing well.
WEGC, who finished third at the Secondary Schools nationals in 2015, are in rebuilding mode, with their national representative this year being Tiana Metuarau.
WEGC edged Wellington Girls’ College 27-26 in the last round before the holidays, while St Mary’s defeated Lower Hutt’s Sacred Heart College 41-24.
There are five rounds to play next term, with the finals on 22 August.
St Margaret’s College, Christchurch, recently took out the first round of the Canterbury SuperNet competition, winning all seven games.
There were some close results though for St Margaret’s who are anchored by their NZ Schools player Lily Marshall, such as their 24-21 win over last year’s champions Ashburton College, 32-27 win over St Andrew’s College and 33-23 over Christchurch Girls’ High School.
A group of four teams all finished the first round bunched together with four wins from seven, these being Marian College, Villa Maria College, Ashburton and St Andrew’s.
Cashmere High School, who were the top finishing South Island team at last year’s nationals (in seventh) are anchored to the bottom of the table at the end of the first round.
Lincoln High School A won all seven first games in the SuperNet Reserve competition.
The post section competition for the Westpac Trust Shield starts immediately after the school holidays.
There are two sections of four seeded teams each in a round-robin series on 27 July, 3 August and 10 August, followed by semi-finals and playoffs on 17 August and the final and playoffs on 24 August.
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