Match Report
St John's School, Leatherhead 1st VII vs  Surrey County Finals
On: Sunday, 12 Mar 2017
Venue: Away

The level of netball played today at Epsom College today in both the U19 and U16 finals round was very impressive, and the buzz around netball in Surrey has been incredible to be a part of. The 1st VII got off to a flying start with their county final campaign, beating KCS, Wimbledon (8-4) and then Godalming College 6-3 in the first two group stage matches. Our third match of the group was against Guildford High School (National Finalists) and we managed to somehow be up 4-2 in the first half, but unfortunately, small handling errors cost us in the 2nd half, where we lost 9-5 overall. The next two matches were very tough, and emotionally charged, but the 1st VII were able to beat both Epsom College 7-5 and then Coloma Girls High School 8-5 to sneak through to the semi-finals.

We were then up against St George’s, who won the other section of the Surrey U19 round. St George’s have been the only team at 1st VII level who has managed to test the St John’s side so far this season, drawing against us 28-28 in our first fixture in January. We found ourselves chasing at half time 3-4 down and had an opportunity in the second half to equalise 6-6, but managed to throw the ball away in attack and on the transverse line on a number of occasions. In the end we lost to St George’s 4-6 which knocked us out in the semi-final. This St George’s side went on to beat GHS in the final, to be crowned champions of the U19 section.

I am very proud of the way the 1st VII conducted themselves for the school and praise must go to all squad members who have worked incredibly hard leading up to this competition. It was a case of small margins right up until the end, and I tried to make the girls find solace in the fact that sport is what they do, it is certainly not who they are, and competitions like this does not sum them up as players. The 1st VII still have a great opportunity to be an undefeated 1st VII side in the domestic netball set on here by the school and Bradfield’s 1st team will also come fighting for blood! We still have 5 Lower Sixth Girls’ out of the 8 who will be a part of this squad for next season, which is a very lucky position to be in.

Not to take away anything from the other players, but for a number of reasons, my player of the day goes to Melanie Hyde for her ability to step up at 1st VII level, in the moments we needed her – we were losing to Coloma Girls’ High School in the last match, but Mel subbed on at half time to Centre, and saved our position in going through to semi’s. A massive thanks must also go to Natalie, Lauren, Clare, Lise, Nick Rees and the parents for their ongoing support throughout this campaign. It’s been truly amazing to be a part of this wonderful side!