Stirches secure small schools netball success

The winning netball team from Stirches Primary School (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
The winning netball team from Stirches Primary School (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Ten local primary schools battled it out recently for the honours at this year’s Borders Small Schools Netball Competition, with the Hawick cluster coming out on top at the end of an exciting day’s play.

Organised by Live Borders Active Schools, the event, which is open to all schools in the Borders with a school roll of 115 pupils or less, was held at Galashiels Academy and featured mixed seven-a-side teams from Newtown and Westruther Primary Schools (Earlston cluster), Newcastleton, Denholm and Stirches Primary Schools (Hawick cluster), Coldingham (Eyemouth cluster), Greenlaw (Duns cluster), Lilliesleaf (Selkirk cluster), Newlands (Peebles cluster) and Stow (Gala cluster).

Gemma Ross, Active Schools organiser, said: “A huge thanks must go to all school staff, parents and PE teachers who prepared pupils for the event; to Gala Academy for use of its facilities, and to all the school staff and Gala Academy senior pupils who assisted with the umpiring throughout the afternoon.

“The event was, once again, a huge success and it was great to see so many boys and girls coming together on court and having a ball.”

The opening stages were played in a round-robin format, with teams playing six-minute games against every team in their pool, and the winners and runners-up of each pool proceeding to the semi-final stages.

Both semi-finals featured end-to-end play and could have been anyone’s game but, in the end, it was Pool B runner-up, Stirches, who overcame Pool A winners, Coldingham (1-0), while Pool B winners Denholm beat Pool A runner-up Newtown (2-1).

Again, in the all-Hawick final, it could have been anybody’s game. Denholm came out fighting, wanting to defend their 2016 Small Schools title, but Stirches had other ideas and, with some very solid defending, managed to keep to score to 2-2 at full time.

Play continued until the ‘golden goal’ was scored. The excitement in the hall was electric, with many spectators not being able to watch as possession switched from team to team.

It just wasn’t to be for last year’s champions, however, as some great passing for Stirches got the ball into the circle and a steady hand from their goal shooter netted the winning shot.

Teacher Sara Green commented: “The children really enjoyed the experience of competing against other small schools from the region. The sportsmanship and team spirit displayed by all teams throughout the competition was fantastic.

“It was great to see the hard work put in by the pupils in the practice league come to fruition - we can’t wait for next year.”