Whangaparaoa College’s senior netball team has broken through sport’s equivalent of a “glass ceiling”, becoming the first Hibiscus Coast team to make the finals of North Harbour Netball’s college premier grade, where they finished as runners-up.
Last year they came third in the same grade.
To get to the finals, Whangaparaoa’s Senior Team 1 competed against far bigger Auckland schools such as Rangitoto and Westlake, losing only one game this season – against the winners of the grade, Carmel College. Whangaparaoa won most of its games by significant margins.
Whangaparaoa supporters turned up in large numbers to the final, on August 26 at the North Harbour Netball centre, wearing the team’s blue colours. One came in a whale costume – a whale tail is on the college’s logo.
The game was live streamed on Facebook, and Whangaparaoa supporters who couldn’t be there – family, friends and former coaches – watched it from afar, including from the South of France, Rarotonga and Wellington airport.
Despite being down by five goals at one stage, Whangaparaoa fought back strongly but eventually lost the game by one point – 22-23.
Speaking at a function after the game, acting principal Graeme Williams said that the college is extremely proud of the team, which has performed consistently to a high level due to their skill, dedication and willingness to keep learning. “This was our first top level North Shore final as a college and they can be delighted with their approach to the game, their ‘never say die’ attitude and their great sportsmanship when edged by the single point,” he said.
Most of the team are Year 13 students, who have been playing netball together since Primary School.