For the fifth year running, Oakham School’s U19 netball team are looking forward to taking part in the National Finals which take place this weekend. Impressively, they are joined by the School’s U14 netball team, who have also won a place at the Finals three years running.
“For Oakham to have multiple teams in the National Finals, ranking them as one of the top 18 netball teams in the country, is outstanding,” says Assistant Director Sport (Girls), Peta Girdwood. “For them to achieve this feat, consistently, year after year, is a testament to the quality of netball here at Oakham.”
In preparation for the Nationals the teams enjoyed some additional professional advice and inspiration this week when they were visited by England and Loughborough Lightning players Jess Shaw and Vicki Oyesolo. Jess led the U14 girls through an attacking masterclass, whilst Vicki gave the U19 girls a defensive masterclass. Both teams made some excellent improvements as the sessions progressed, which will hopefully give them a competitive edge when they face their opponents in the final.
Both teams have fought their way through the county and regional tournaments to qualify for the Finals – where the top 18 schools in the country will play against each other. In an impressive display of the quality of netball at Oakham, both of these teams go through as Leicestershire County Champions as well as East Midlands Regional Champions. This is a great feat to achieve. On their journey to the Nationals, at the Regional Championships, Oakham’s U14 netball team beat Chellaston (11-2), Branston (11-5), Wellingborough (8-5) and Nottingham Girls’ High School (11-2), along with West Bridgford (13-2) in the semi-finals and Wellingborough (11-3) in the final. Meanwhile, the U19 team played against Trent (15-10), Stamford (8-6), Northampton High School (10-12) and Nottingham Girls’ High School (18-6), then beating Oundle in the semi-final (14-7) and Repton in the final (20-10).
“I am so proud of all the girls and having two teams qualifying for the National Finals and being crowned East Midlands Champions is an incredible achievement,” concludes Peta. “They have put on a phenomenal performance so far, playing some very impressive netball. With all the training and effort they’ve put into their teams, as well as the coaching they’ve received from the School’s own netball coaches, combined with this week’s session from Jess and Vicki, they are going into the Nationals as strong contenders.”
Given Oakham’s success in consistently reaching the National Finals, the School’s reputation for netball is outstanding. The teams’ continued successes are combined with individual pupil achievements – there are currently nine pupils playing netball at National League level (six at Loughborough Lightning and three at Wasps Netball).