Peebles girls net Gold at senior final

Peebles Netball winners: From left: Neve Mclean, Susanne Krabbendam, Hannah MacDonald, Flora Gillies, Jo Pettitt (Capt), Linda Nicholson (Coach), Jenny Hudson, Hannah Crick, Lauren Tait, Mhairi Jackson.

Peebles Netball winners: From left: Neve Mclean, Susanne Krabbendam, Hannah MacDonald, Flora Gillies, Jo Pettitt (Capt), Linda Nicholson (Coach), Jenny Hudson, Hannah Crick, Lauren Tait, Mhairi Jackson.

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Peebles HS 50

Anderson HS 24

Scottish Schools Gold Section Final

It was a day to remember last Friday when Peebles High School’s senior netball team won the Blue Riband event of national titles.

The entire club, along with coach Linda Nicholson, team manager Lynn Hudson, rector Campbell Wilson, and many other supporters travelled to Ravenscraig in Greenock for the event, which had always evaded the Tweeddale outfit, having reached quarter-finals in 2011 and semi-finals in 2012.

The Peebles squad of nine players had been undefeated in qualifying matches, before winning second-round, quarter and semi-finals to reach the final. In total, the squad had scored 574 goals in their matches, with only 153 scored against them.

Two-times previous winners Anderson HS from Shetland had also come through all of their matches unbeaten.

Nerves showed in the opening minutes and the Borders girls lacked their usual flow. It took several attempts to feed the ball successfully into the hands of captain and goal shooter Jo Pettitt before the first goal went up on the giant scoreboard. Anderson retaliated instantly with a goal of their own, also keen to get their tally up and running.

Peebles’ confidence began to show, reflected in further breaks and a promising lead of 13-4 by quarter-time.

Into the second quarter and the Peebles girls managed to maintain some much-needed composure across the centre court, providing more options for passes into the shooting D.

However, Anderson’s very tight marking and blocking of goal attack Jenny Hudson’s limited routes to the goalpost, meant Pettitt had to provide most of the opportunities, although she was beginning to attract the umpires’ attention for minor contact infringements.

By half-time a clear gap was starting to develop as Peebles’ lead extended to 25-10.

It was into the second half of the match that the Borderers’ defence started to dominate and nerves began to settle.

Although the victory was almost certainly going to Peebles, Anderson kept attacking to the end, rewarded by their 10 goals to Peebles’ 11 in the final 15 minutes.

But their revival was too late for the islanders, with the final whistle signalling an outstanding win for Peebles, only the second time in recent history that the title has gone to a mainland school team outside the west of Scotland.

Coach Linda Nicholson was delighted with her senior team’s performance. She told The Southern: “The whole day was extremely nerve-wracking as the match meant so much to the players, the club and their supporters.

“The convincing scoreline in this senior gold section final reflects an amazing team performance by very talented players.”

The victory marked the last school match for Jo Pettitt, who has played loyally for Peebles Netball club and school teams for the last six years, also gaining international honours at U17 and U21 age groups.

“We have worked so hard for years to get to the standard needed to compete at this level, and to produce the goods on Jo’s last day for us was a huge achievement, but also very emotional,” added Nicholson. Peebles senior school squad: Jo Pettitt, Jenny Hudson, Neve Mclean, Flora Gillies, Mhairi Jackson, Hannah MacDonald, Lauren Tait, Hannah Crick, Susanne Krabbendam. Coach, Linda Nicholson; team manager, Lynn Hudson.