For the ninth year in succession, Peebles Netball was represented in the Scottish Schools’ Gold section netball final.
Held at Ravenscraig Sports Centre, the national event featured the finals of the Gold, Silver and Bronze championships, in which S1, S2, S3 and senior finals were decided, with the teams that reached the finals emerging as the best in Scotland from more than 190 sides originally entered in the competition.
Since autumn, five Peebles teams have played matches throughout the country, as they progressed through the championships. Two of the entries made it all the way, with the S1 and S2 outfits fighting off tough opposition from private and state schools.
Up first was Peebles S1, facing South Lanarkshire’s Strathaven S1. After a nervous first quarter in which only four goals were scored overall, the Peebles rhythm and flow began to show. Confident catching and passing from mid-court players was supported by some tremendous defence work and excellent shooting.
Despite some strong moves from a well-organised Strathaven squad, they could do little against Peebles on its best form to date. The scoreline increased in Peebles’ favour in each quarter, with the final tally of 23-7 a huge victory in a Scottish Schools’ Gold final between the two top S1 teams in the country.
Peebles S2s went into their Gold final as reigning Scottish Schools’ champions from the previous year and faced the same team in their final, Edinburgh’s Royal High, as last year when they won by only six goals.
No Peebles team had ever retained a title from S1 to S2 – but the Borderers were determined to change this.
Peebles and Royal High took to the court in top form, but it was the former who sneaked the early lead of 10-6 by quarter-time. Into the second quarter and a smooth team performance saw Peebles extend the score to 21-10 by half-time. The city side moved up a gear in the third quarter, fighting back with a spurt of goals to win the period, although still trailing by 26-16.
Anything can happen in the final quarter, and netball goals can add up quickly, but Peebles S2s regained control of the match, racking up the goals in the closing minutes to put the title beyond Royal High’s grasp.
The final score of 39-20 reflected the determination and strength of Peebles S2, who deservedly retained their champion crown.
This is the second year in a row in which Peebles Netball teams have won two of the four Gold titles. Last year they won the Senior and S1 honours, and also were runners-up in the S2 section. Peebles Netball has won 10 Scottish Schools’ Gold titles and have been runners-up on a further seven occasions. Peebles Netball is currently Netball Scotland’s junior club of the year.
The winning teams were as follows:
S1 – Emma Raeburn (capt.) (GS), Lucy Sked (vice-capt.) (WD), Charlotte Claire (GS), Ellie O’Hara (GA), Kerry Minto (WA), Emma Saxon (WA), Abbi Ewing (C), Molly Falconer (GD), Charlotte Muller Stuart (GK), Ruby Swain (GK).
Coach – Linda Nicholson; team manager: Iona Minto.
S2 – Sophie Walpole (capt.) (GK), Jess Wodehouse (vice-capt.) (GD), Rianna Sterricks (GS), Kirsten Rodwell (GA), Lucy Gray (WA), Anna McGorum (C), Lilly Carvalho (WD), Eilidh Naysmith (WD), Abbey Scrimger (GK).
Coach – Linda Nicholson; team manager: Lisa Scrimger.