South West Finals Handball
For the second year running the school has had tremendous success at the Youth Sport Games and as a result three teams qualified for the South West Finals, U13 girls, U15 boys and U15 girls. And once again a sea of red and black descended upon Paignton.
This set of girls were excited from the minute we got on the coach until the minute we returned. They always had a smile on their face and gave the competition their all. Unfortunately the girls didn’t win their matches, however as the day progressed as did their scores; Izzy Faulkner scored some powerful goals and Aleesha Upshall did an amazing job of saving many. They only narrowly missed out each game and this did not for one minute dampen their spirits. They continued to show great resilience and sportsmanship and by the end of the day had improved tremendously.
What a game the first game was! Their opposition, Wadebridge, had some big tough boys and were quick to score. However, even after going two goals down the boys were not defeated. Joe Mitchel saved an amazing penalty which was the game changer and from then on the boys got into their stride, scored some cracking goals and won the game 5 v 3.
Their next game was against Marling, the tournament favourites. Again the boys went two goals down and again fought back. Captained by Paul Nelson, who was the day’s top goal scorer, they clawed two goals back by Jack Byron and Ryan Lander. Paul Nelson then went on to score two fast breaks which took us into the lead. The last 5 minutes seemed like an eternity and no decision went in our favour. In the last minute Marling had managed to draw even and just before the final whistle scored a dubious goal leaving us defeated 5 v 6.
Our placing then depended on the last 2 games – if we won the next one and Marling lost their’s we would go through. The boys really stepped up and wanted this win badly, and win they did! They beat St Dunstan’s 8 v 4. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be this year and Marling’s won their next game and finally went on to win the competition. They boys put up a valiant effort, scored and saved some eye watering goals and were just very unlucky on the day.
Last year these girls came 3rd in the country at handball. This year they were playing in an age group above, so playing against year 10 girls when they are year 9. However, this did not phase them. What an opening game the first game was; the girls took no prisoners and won this game 13 v 0. Bethany Davies scored some extremely powerful shots all day as well as not missing a penalty all tournament. Michaela Davies and Robyn Nelson scored some lovely goals from fast breaks and not to be left out both Wings, Emily Wilkinson and Jodie Johnson, opened their scoring card too in the next game where again the girls won in style 11 v 3.
The last game was the qualifier and again the girls showed why they are third best in the country. Sophie Goldsack now playing line scored some nice goals as she has in the previous game and supported by the rest of the team each girl took it in turns to shoot and score when the opportunity arose. Again we won this match 11 v 2. So we were through to the finals, against Stroud who had only conceded one goal all tournament.
Now Stroud were the Goliath to our David. Their team consisted of entirely South West Academy players and the team who are tipped to win national finals this weekend, plus they were a year older. They were a well drilled team and were quite intimidating. Our girls gave it their all, never giving up and scored 6 goals passed them which was an amazing accomplishment. However it wasn’t enough and Stroud won the match and the tournament. The girls played with no reserve all tournament, worked beautifully as a team and have improved so much I couldn’t have been prouder. Next year we will be a force to be reckoned with.
All students were an absolute credit to themselves and the school, they rose to the occasion and were resilient throughout. Well done for all your hard work and effort and a big thank you to all the year 11s, PE staff and Phoenix handball for your continued help and support.