With the recent excitement and well-deserved increased media attention surrounding women’s major international sporting events such as the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 1st European Olympic Games and the Netball World Championships taking place this summer, our girls at SPA have taken their inspiration from such elite female athletes and have been making headlines of their own across the country!
Thanks to the dedication and passion for sport of staff and pupils at SPA, the profile of girls’ sport at St Paul’s Academy has increased dramatically over the past 4 years, with pupils being afforded the opportunity to compete locally in borough competitions as well as further afield in regional and National events. Female pupils at SPA have been competing on a regular basis, across a range of sports including athletics, netball, football, handball and Gaelic Football. Not only this, but they are managing to make their mark wherever they go.
U13 and U14 Girls’ Football
During the 2014/2015 football season, our U13 girls’ team made it to the last 8 of the English schools’ competition and finished Kent Cup runners up. A magnificent achievement for a young team with a lot of potential. Our U14 team managed to go one step further and be crowned 2015 Kent Cup Champions, bringing the prestigious accolade home to St Paul’s for the first time in the history of girls’ sport at the school. Toping their success off this season by also winning the Bromley Cup, it is clear that the future for girls’ football at SPA is very bright. Well done girls!
Girls’ Gaelic Football
Girls’ Gaelic Football has also continued to develop significantly over the last number of months with over 35 U14 girls attending training on Friday evenings in conjunction with Dulwich Harps GAC. The attitude, dedication and skill level of the girls who have attended the sessions is second to none. Pupils have shown a keen interest to learn a new sport, develop their basic skills and enhance their knowledge and understanding of the game. Due to the girls continued dedication and commitment to Gaelic Football within St Paul’s, a group of twenty pupils and three members of staff will be travelling to Ireland from 9th – 14th July on a Gaelic Football tour to Co. Clare. Pupils will have a chance to visit various places of interest and to experience culture and life in a new country. Pupils have already recorded a great victory this season by winning the Tir Conall Gaels Tournament in Greenford following a wonderful display of football and teamwork. This bodes very well as the girls prepare to take on experienced players during their tour to Ireland; a challenge the girls are revelling in.
Another sport which is growing in popularity amongst our KS4 girls is Handball. After last year’s success, SPA pupils were given the opportunity again this year to represent Greenwich Borough at the 2015 London Youth Games. Following weeks of training, on the day of the competition at the CopperBox Arena, our girls played some excellent handball, with their hard work and skill resulting in them finishing second in their group. The girls went on to play the eventual runners up of the competition in the semi-final. The match was a closely fought contest but sadly our girls couldn’t record an infamous victory this time trying. The girls finished 7th overall out of 24 boroughs who entered; a fantastic achievement for a hard working group of girls in this newly emerging sport
A sport which has been popular amongst female pupils at SPA over the last number of years, yet one which we are now beginning to show total dominance in within our local area and across London. This season, all three teams (Year 7, 8/9 and 10/11) have worked tirelessly throughout the year to achieve endless success, training on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to develop their technique, strength and speed. This year, across both the summer and winter seasons, pupils have competed in over 50 different fixtures in various prestigious arenas such as Crystal Palace, Lee Valley, Battersea and Mile End.
With all the hard work in preparation for their competitions, the pupils have reaped the rewards and have had an outstanding season with many gold, silver and bronze medals collected along the way. In addition to this success, many individuals have achieved personal bests, one pupil has gained a scholarship with a local athletics club, eight girls were selected to represent Greenwich at the London Championships and one student has been chosen to represent London at the English Schools’ competition.
All of the success that the girls have achieved throughout the year is a reflection of the dedication and hard work that the coaches, managers and students have given towards athletics this season. The assistance of the athletics sports leaders, in particular the year 11’s has been imperative to the teams’ success this year.
Year 7 Girls’ Athletics Squad
The girls had a tremendous start to their athletics season, beating all other Greenwich and South London schools to gain a place at the London Youth Games Sportshall Athletics finals. With hard work at training, the girls placed an impressive 4th overall at the finals of the competition. Moving to the track and field, the success continued with the girls placing 3rd in the finals of the Lee Valley indoor cup, and 6th out of 28 schools in the Lee Valley outdoor cup. In cross country, Year 7 pupil, Chancess Mwanabiele was selected to represent Greenwich in the London Schools Cross Country finals; a first in St. Paul’s athletics history. Adding to this success, the girls were crowned Cambridge Cup champions, ranked first at the Beryl Davis Cup and seven of them were chosen to represent Greenwich in the London Schools Athletics Championships. The year finished on a high with the girls winning the Greenwich Schools’ Cup, beating 11 other Greenwich Schools to be crowned year 7 champs. There have been some fantastic individual and team performances throughout the year, with many first places achieved in hurdles, 100m, 200m, 800m, 4 x 100m relay, Shot Put and High Jump.
Year 8/9 Girls’ Athletics Squad
The girls have had their ups and downs this season, and this is reflected in their performances throughout the year. The season started with an impressive performance at the Cross Country Championships, where 4 girls placed 8th overall. The athletics squad then went on to secure a place in the A final at the Lee Valley Indoor Cup and despite missing some members of the team, placed 2nd overall, narrowly missing out on first place by one point! At the Lee Valley Outdoor Cup the girls, again missing some members of the team, placed 7th out of 28 schools.
On an individual basis it has been an outstanding season with many wins and personal bests both on the track and field. There were some outstanding performances at the English Schools regional rounds, with impressive wins in the hurdles and relay. Two pupils were selected to represent Greenwich in the London Schools Athletics Championships, as well as the pupils placing 1st in the Greenwich Schools Cup. At the annual Beryl Davis Cup, there were again some impressive individual performances, notably in the hurdles, shot put, discus and long jump. One year 9 pupil, Michelina Ashong, has been selected to represent London at the English Schools’ Athletics competition in July – we wish her every success as she travels to compete with the London team. This is a fantastic achievement and a credit to all her hard work at training.
Year 10/11 Girls’ Athletics Squad
For the majority of the squad this has been their final year at St. Paul’s and so the mission was to go out with a bang. The pupils have worked hard both on the track and field to secure many wins and personal bests. The season started with the Lee Valley indoor cup, where for the first time in St. Paul’s history, the year 10/11 team made it to the A final of the cup. There were many impressive performances on the day and the team battled against tough competition from schools across Essex and London to place 3rd overall in the A final. The season finished for the year 11’s at the Lee Valley outdoor cup, where again they placed 3rd overall out of 14 schools.
For the year 10 members of the team, the season wasn’t over and individuals went on to compete at the English Schools regional rounds, Beryl Davis Cup and Greenwich Schools Cup, all of which saw dedicated and fantastic performances from the year 10 girls.
The whole squad have been fantastic ambassadors for girls’ sport and have helped to raise the profile for girls sport through their hard work and commitment to their teams at St. Paul’s.
The current academic year has seen a dramatic increase in the participation levels of girls’ netball at St Paul’s Academy. Beginning with Year 7 netball trials taking place at the end of August, every week over 50 pupils from years 7 to 11 have participated in regular netball training and matches, including Friday morning training sessions. This year, Miss Duffy has managed to establish a Greenwich schools’ netball league for the very first time. As a result, 7 schools across the Greenwich Borough are now involved in taking part in regular competitive fixtures across Years 7 to 11. This has helped to significantly increase levels of participation within netball for all young girls. With regular fixtures in the calendar and the girls extremely keen to train hard and win their respective leagues, the credibility and profile of the sport within the school and in particular among pupils is continually on the rise.
Kitted out in their first ever SPA netball kit, the Year 7, 8 and 11 netball teams have all had tremendous seasons, remaining unbeaten and winning their respective Greenwich School’s Netball Leagues out right! This is a fantastic achievement for all girls involved and is testament to the hard work, determination and dedication that they have shown to their sport.
Year 11 Netball Team
Our Year 11 team set out a clear goal at the beginning of the season which was to win the Greenwich Schools’ Netball League. Ensuring they remained a close knit team who have been dedicated to training as well as helping to coach younger netball players in school, recorded brilliant wins over The John Roan and Eltham Hill throughout the season. As a result the girls have managed to remain undefeated all year, finally claiming some silver wear before they departed St Paul’s. This a remarkable achievement for a team who struggled to record a handful of wins last season and something which all the girls should be very proud of!
Year 8 Netball Team
This year’s Year 8 netball team, although a small squad have played some fantastic netball this season, putting in brilliant team performances to record victories of 16 and 17 nil over other Greenwich teams. The girls have worked hard to improve upon their individual skills as well as their performances as a team. Their enthusiasm, motivation and drive to want to succeed and excel has been evident all season. With continued hard work this team will keep progressing as they begin competing in the Kent School’s Netball League and tournaments next season. Well done girls and keep up the hard work!
Year 7 Netball Team
Our Year 7 netball team has continued to go from strength to strength this season. Beginning with netball trials in August of last year, the girls have worked tirelessly to develop their netball skills and knowledge of the game, with each player immersing themselves in the sport. The girls have gelled together effortlessly as a team and as a result have become a unit to be reckoned with. The Year 7 team have remained undefeated in their Greenwich Schools’ Netball League this season, displaying wonderful performances across many of their games. On reflection of the girls league performances it was incredible to see that throughout all of their games the girls managed to score 53 goals and concede only 4! An unbelievable achievement, especially for a Year 7 team and players who were completely new to the sport at the beginning of the season. The girls have recorded emphatic wins this year, one such victory being their brilliant win in the Greenwich Schools’ Netball tournament in early March. The girls displayed some exceptional netball skills on the day and deservedly were crowned champions. The girls won all of their matches, without even conceding a goal! As a result of their success, the Year 7 A team qualified for the London Youth Games Finals and represented Greenwich at this prestigious competition on 24th March. The team competed exceptionally well at this competition, winning four out of their seven matches and gaining some valuable experience on the way. Our Year 7 B team have also been working really hard to further develop their basic netball skills and game play. They have played a number of the other Greenwich schools towards the end of this season, winning all of their games.
Kent Netball Emerging Schools Tournament
To finish off their season, the SPA Year 7 and 8 netball teams, accompanied by their manager and coaches Miss Duffy, Miss Stone and Miss Devine, travelled to Rainham School for Girls to take part in the Kent Netball Emerging Schools’ Tournament for the first time. This tournament caters for those schools who are still in the early stages of netball development and who have not yet competed in any of the other Kent Schools Netball competitions throughout the year or in previous years. Having convincingly won their Greenwich School’s Netball Leagues this season, this tournament was to present our Year 7 and 8 pupils with a new challenge and help to prepare them for the tough competition and high standard of netball that they will face when they compete in the Kent Netball competitions during the upcoming 2015/2016 season.
With both the Year 7 and 8 teams coming up against tough competition on the day, our girls knew that they were going to have to battle their way through gruelling competition if there were to emerge victorious.
First to compete were our Year 8 netball team. With a squad of only 7 pupils on the day, it would prove to be a physical challenge for our girls with no subs to call on in case of injury or tiredness. However, with a strong seven players to take to the court, the Year 8 girls knew that they had everything to play for and believed they could put in some positive performances; that is exactly what they did. With 9 U13 teams competing in the Year 8 competition, our girls had to battle their way through 8 tough games on the day. The girls got off to a good start beating Charles Darwin in their first game by a 2 goal margin. The Year 8 girls continued to improve as the tournament went on, displaying some great netball skills, teamwork and support play throughout. The last match of the tournament for the Year 8 team was against St Lawrence College. Having dominated all of their games throughout the tournament, the SPA team knew that they would have to play some excellent netball if they were to overcome the challenge in front of them. The girls got off to a flying start and ended the first half 2-1 up. Leading 3-2 going into the final minute, if our girls were able to hang on and finish the game as winners they would manage to taint St Lawrence’s winning streak on the day. However, unfortunately our girls were not to record their 6th win of the day but instead managed to draw 3-3 with this strong independent school side. Nonetheless, this was a wonderful achievement for our girls who put in excellent performances to secure a draw. Overall our Year 8 team performed exceptionally well on the day, winning 5 of their eight games, drawing one, losing one and finishing 3rd overall in the tournament. A great achievement for a determined side who have worked hard throughout the season.
Unlike the Year 8 competition, the Year 7 team found themselves in a group of 12 schools, meaning to emerge as winners the girls would have to face and defeat 11 other Kent schools. This was no mean feat, yet a challenge that our girls thrived on. The SPA Year 7 netball team, with an exceptionally strong squad of 12 players to call on got off to a fantastic start, winning their first 6 games before lunch and winning them very convincingly at that! Such victories boded very well for our girls and helped to enhance confidence and morale amongst the squad. It also meant that other teams quickly became aware of this strong, emerging team on the day who were then seen as one of the teams to beat; a fantastic compliment for our girls. Having recorded 6 fantastic victories, the girls knew however that they in no way could become complacent as they were to face the dominant and confident team from St Lawrence College. With both teams entering the match undefeated on the day, the match was seen as ultimately the deciding fixture in this round robin structured tournament. Both teams competed valiantly throughout, exchanging scores and making some vital interceptions and shots. Although our Year 7 girls put up a great fight, unfortunately it was not to be for them and they were beaten by St Lawrence College.
This defeat could have made the SPA Year 7 girls waver in their efforts, however, testament to their resilient and determined attitude, it only helped to drive them on to succeed even more. As a result, the Year 7 team went on to win all of their remaining matches and record 10 wins out of 11 on the day. Such success was only as a result of the girls’ excellent attitude, athleticism, teamwork and will to win. All of these attributes have been displayed throughout the season and granted the girls endless success this year. The Year 7 SPA netball team displayed some excellent individual and team skill throughout all of their matches during the tournament. Not only this, but numerous other members of staff from other schools praised our girls fantastic play as well as their enthusiasm and lively characters. These are wonderful and much deserved compliments for our girls to receive. Such success was only inevitable for this hard working, determined and talented team who will continue to progress and excel over the next number of seasons. The success of both teams this season all bodes extremely well for the girls as they enter into Kent Schools competitions next season; a challenge which all the girls are eager to tackle. We wish all netball players every success in their upcoming seasons.
All of the success that the girls have enjoyed across all sports this year is a reflection of the tremendous hard work and dedication that both staff and students have shown towards ensuring the enhanced participation and development of girls’ sport at St Paul’s Academy. Such success bodes extremely well for girls’ sport at SPA in the next academic year and throughout the coming years as teams now prepare to compete in more national and international competitions. Congratulations to all girls involved and we wish you all every success in your future sporting endeavours. #ThisGirlCan