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OHS netballers survive scare to win final


netball2-264After beating their eventual finals rivals, Whangarei Girls High School, the week before by 20 goals, the Otamatea High School Senior 1 team could be forgiven for thinking they easily had one hand on the trophy before their season final was even played.

Otamatea came dangerously close to having their season defined not by winning every game, but by losing the last game of the season – the final of their A1 College grade.

It was a banana skin coach Nikola Kemp knew the girls could slip on if they didn’t stay focussed and got too far ahead of themselves.

“The girls always train really hard,” said Kemp. “However, WGHS 2 didn’t bring it to us the week before. Knowing that I told the girls to be prepared, and we trained for a great fight to the finish line.”

Kemp noticed WGHS had used many players out of position the week before, and predicted that with the right combinations, and with nothing to lose, WGHS would be hard to beat in the final. And so it proved to be.

Girls High came out firing, and Otamatea found the first half tough, struggling to find their usual rhythm. Down 9-11 and 17-20 after the first two quarters, OHS clawed their way back to 23-all at threequarter time.

Things weren’t going to plan in a game they probably expected to win comfortably.

“Actually, at that point a calmness came over me, I knew the girls could do it,” said Kemp. “Going into the fourth quarter I didn’t realise we were tied, I thought we were down, so I told the girls ‘We have prepared and trained for this, nothing is over until the final whistle blows. One turnover at a time. Look after, trust and support each other as Melissa and I know you can do, go out and be the amazing team you are.” The turnovers came, and a run of Otamatea goals with a few minutes to go in the game saw them finally stretch to a winning lead of 35-31 at the final whistle.

ohsnetball-127The team remained undefeated in 2020 at Whangarei Netball Centre, defending the College A1 championship that they gained in 2019.

Players and team management dedicated their finals win to all their supporters and family members.

Kemp’s list of thanks included WGHS for a spirited final, the umpires throughout the season, staff at OHS for their time training, and Whangarei Netball Centre for putting together a great competition during Covid restrictions.

Says Kemp: “I would like to say a special thanks to Melissa, she has been my rock all season, I could not have done this without her, we are a great team. You are truly amazing TM.” Otamatea Senior 2 also won their final of the College A reserve grade beating Waipu 27- 21. The Otamatea Year 9 Development Team finished the season in 8th place.

A jubilant Otamatea High School Senior 1 team wrap up another season as A1 College Grade champs.

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