Hurst’s U19 Netball side are Champions of the South after competing at the National Schools Regional competition in Southampton.
Winning all but one of their eight games, Hurst displayed first class goalkeeping and shooting to become one of the best school netball sides in England.
Arguably player of the tournament, Lucy O’Connor (18), foiled many attacks. Lucy said, “We came into the tournament not really knowing what to expect but we’ve done brilliantly. The semi-final match was the best because of the pressure and we just played together so well as a team.”
By winning that semi against Henley College, Hurst guaranteed their trip to the National Final near Liverpool, to be held in March. However, to become champions, the girls still had to overcome Wellington College, a side they had already beaten en route to the final.
As to be expected in a tournament decider, both sides capitalised when given the opportunity. Nothing could separate them at the final whistle.
In overtime, Hurst and Surrey Storm goal-shooter, Libby Severs (18), who rarely missed a shot all day, secured the title to make it 14-13 in the closing seconds.
Head of Hurst Netball, Rebecca Jutson, was overwhelmed by the achievement. After celebrating on court with the girls, she said, “For the U19s to win this tournament is amazing because it’s a tough task merging two age groups. This year we got everyone together so early in the year and they’ve been excellent.”
To reach the final, Hurst qualified from their group in first place, defeating Oxford High School, Wellington College, Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Cowes College and Stowe School.
Hurst’s U14 team also took part in the one day event; a terrific achievement in itself. Although unable to book themselves a place in the final, they made a big impression and will surely become a side to watch in the years ahead.
The U19s, many of whom will leave Hurst in the summer, continue the season as one of the most successful teams in Hurst history.