On Tuesday 7th October 5 local primary schools travelled to St Paul’s Academy to contest the inaugural Primary School ‘High 5’ Mixed Netball Tournament. Schools in attendance on the day were:
Alexander McLeod (Abbey Wood)
Our Lady of Grace (Charlton)
St Patrick's (Plumstead)
St Peter's (Woolwich)
St Thomas A Beckett (Abbey Wood)
Although having only been trained in what was a brand new sport for most pupils since the start of September, this was not evident in the level of talent and enthusiasm shown towards the game of netball from all pupils on the day. Each team played one another with all games closely contested. As the competition progressed it was evident to see the gradual progress that pupils were beginning to make in terms of both skill level and confidence in applying their skills in a game situation.
With the competition nearing the finals, two teams began to emerge as strong contenders to be named champions of this inaugural competition; Our Lady of Grace, Charlton and St Peter’s, Plumstead. Both teams contested their first encounter with great energy and confidence. Each school worked hard and with nothing between the teams the game ended in a draw at 3 goals apiece.
Also showing excellent levels of skill and potential on the day were the two Abbey Wood primary schools, Alexander McLeod and St Thomas A Beckett. These teams reached the plate final to play off for third and fourth place. On this occasion Alexander McLeod emerged victorious with a great 6-1 win over St Thomas A Beckett.
The competition drew to a close and, as predicted, the final decider of the day was contested between Our Lady of Grace, Charlton and St Peter’s, Plumstead. Having drawn 3-3 in their first encounter, the final was to be an interesting affair in terms of who would be crowned champions. Both teams entered the final somewhat more cautious compared to when they had previously lined out against each other. It was clear that players had learnt from their earlier mistakes and made sure to employ new tactics in their play. Each team worked hard in defence and as a result the first half ended goalless. Again the second half proved neck and neck and with both teams managing to score this time, the score ended 1-1 after full time; extra-time was called for! A mix of nerves and excitement filled the air, in particular from the St Peter’s pupils and staff as winning this final would mean St Peter’s as a school winning their first ever primary school competition, a feat that was now finally within their grasp. Some positional changes going into extra-time from St Peter’s proved to be the pivotal moment of the final. Changing up their attack and defence enabled them to open up a flurry of scoring opportunities, with two paying off. As the final whistle blow and the game ended, so did St Peter’s long wait to be crowned local sporting primary school champions for the first time! The elation on the faces of both staff and pupils from St Peter’s was clear for all to see. All of their hard work had paid off and they left worthy winners on the day. Much credit must also go to Our Lady of Grace who put in some fantastic netballing performances during the competition. The final scored read St Peter’s (Plumstead) 3, Our Lady of Grace (Charlton) 1.
Each pupil who participated on the day was a credit to their school in terms of their behaviour, skill level and sportsmanship displayed throughout the competition. Several stand out performances were noted from all schools, with members of St Paul’s Academy PE Department very impressed with not only how quickly pupils had picked up the game of netball, but also the high level of skill that they were able to effectively demonstrate on the day. All in all, this proved to be a very successful first ever primary school netball competition held at St Paul’s Academy, and is something which is hoped will continue for many more years to come. With the introduction of netball into primary schools in the local area, this will ultimately help to improve the overall level of netballing skill and participation within the Greenwich Borough; something which is continuing to develop at present because of events like this. Thank you to the staff and the PE Department of St Paul’s Academy for all of their help and support, in particular Mr Donnelly for organising the event, Miss Duffy and Miss Stone for assisting on the day as well as all staff and coaches who have helped to train pupils over the last number of weeks in preparation for the competition. A special mention must also go to our Year 11 Sports Leader, Abena Opoku who did an excellent job in helping to umpire games throughout the competition, well done!