Nelson College for Girls (NCG) will take their place at the NZSS Netball Championships in Timaru next week for the first time in over 20 years.
NCG qualified in fourth from the recent South Island Secondary Schools (SISS) tournament, behind winners Villa Maria College, second placed Southland Girls’ High School, third placed Christchurch Girls’ High School and ahead of fifth placed St Hilda’s Collegiate.
At the 16-team NZSS tournament, NCG are in Pool A with Upper North Island winner Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Lower North Island third placed qualifier Napier Girls’ High School and UNISS fifth placed qualifier Hamilton Girls’ High School.
A bit more about them below.
School: Nelson College for Girls
Team Members: Lydia Swaney, Olivia Avery, Alex Whitfield, Tia Van Diepen, Jaime Archer, Jessica Williams, Kate Caradus, Zoe Curtis, Emma Newsome, Scarlet Powell, Sophie Fleming, Chloe Webb.
Captains: Lydia Swaney (c) and Olivia Avery (vc)
Coaches: Lyn Fleming and Faye Eden
NZSS Netball tournament history:
The last known time Nelson College for Girls was at NZSS was 21 years ago, back in 1997. So this is a pretty new experience for us and our school!
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals?
We need to keep working hard and pushing each other hard in training. As well as training, we need to continue to eat well and keep up our nutrition and hydration. This keeps us at our peak so that we’re ready to hit the court having the best build up possible.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
Our team played in the Premier competition in Nelson where we mostly played women in a three round-robin set up. We ended up coming fourth in this competition. However, we did go to Christchurch and play some friendly games against Villa Maria A and B as well as Christchurch A, where we won these games.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Our closest rival on the netball court would be Waimea College. They are the only Secondary Schools team who we have the opportunity to play regularly. Waimea challenge our fitness and skills and when we play them it means we get to put all our hard work on the court.
What’s been a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
A very memorable game the team has played was definitely our SISS game against St. Margaret’s [won 36-33], which decided what team was going to get into top 4. We played a very tight game where both teams fought till the very end and gave all they had. This was a very memorable game for us, as we never thought we’d be able to make it as far as we did in the competition and making it into top 4 was an awesome feeling.
What’s the age make-up of your team?
We have a lot of year 13’s, six, one year 12 and four year 11’s. None of us have ever gone to NZSS before so will be an exciting, new, experience.
What’s the strength of your team?
The strength of our team is our drive to never give up and our team bond. We’re all very good friends out of netball and this correlates onto the court. All of our team is either been in a representative team this year or previously played in a representative team. We have all played with each other in rep teams before so we have an understanding of how each person plays and how each person is different. Our team culture is one of our strongest attributes. We all like to have fun together but we know when it’s time to knuckle down and put in some work.
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports or do other activities for the school?
Within our team we have a range of girls that have different abilities in different areas. We have a couple of girls who are involved in our school choir, which gained a silver medal in the national ‘Big Sing’ choral festival. We have girls who play at a high level in Volleyball and New Zealand Basketball. As well as this we have four girls who’re part of the Head Student team as House captains and Olivia Avery is our Head girl at Nelson College for Girls this year.
Does your team have a motto or a mascot or any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
We like to play games such as ‘oomcha’ and ‘bump’ as a way to get the chat up before games and to get mentally prepared.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We’ve had so much support this year including individual sponsorship and team sponsorship from NBS. As well as this many parents and family travelled down from Nelson to Dunedin to see us play so we owe them a massive thank you for taking time out of their busy lives to support us. I already know that family is coming to Timaru to again support us so we are very thankful for them. But we owe the biggest thank you to our coaches and manager. Lyn and Faye have given up so much of their time to come to trainings and games each week. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our coaches continually supporting us and teaching us. We also owe a massive thank you to Libby Archer, our manager. We all love the food she cooks and the laughs we share with Libby and our coaches.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand