Netball at WGS has never been stronger and our Head of Netball, Sam Goodier, is very excited about the future!
Training for this term’s netball season began back in October 2017, when the 1st VII attended the U19 County tournament, winning two matches against The Leys and Netherhall. All of our other teams also began their pre-season training, which was well attended and gave us a head start for the busy upcoming fixture programme.
Since the start of the Lent term, the progress made in netball across teams, age groups and by individuals has been excellent. The 1st VII lost by 1 goal to Ratcliffe but followed this up with well-played and hard-fought victories against King’s School, Ely and St Neots; the latter of which had been runners-up at the County tournament and so a win over them gave us an indication as to just how well we were playing.
The U15 and U14 teams have both sealed two victories against King’s Ely and Wymondham College and the U13As have achieved the top stats so far; they have beaten Stamford 22-20, St Hugh’s and Beeston Hall. In our Prep School, the U9A team also remain unbeaten.
Congratulations must go to two WGS players, Aimee Newman (4th Form) and Alana Pritchard (2nd Form) for gaining places in the Cambridgeshire County squad. I am delighted that they have been selected for the County Squad and I am sure they will inspire others to try to reach these squads.
The most exciting event of the term so far has been the coaching session held by visiting Loughborough Lightning and England player, Natalie Panagarry. Members of the 1st team, Greyhounds and U15s benefitted greatly from her expertise and tactical knowledge and gained an insight into the fitness and skill level required to be a top-level player. Natalie also officially opened out new courts, which are situated in the heart of the School. These have allowed us to keep every fixture on, despite poor weather and we can now train under the floodlights at after-school sessions.
These facilities, combined with the number of highly qualified coaching staff we now have, has meant netball at WGS this term is more successful than ever. Andrea Eggleton and Heidi Milton are both Level 2 coaches who play for Rookies Netball Club in the East Regional League. Rookies are based at Wisbech Grammar School and we are delighted to be in partnership with them. Their 1st team play in the Regional League, while Rookies 2nd and 3rd teams play in the Cambridgeshire Premier League, on Sundays in Cambridge. They also have 5 teams playing in the Wisbech League and many of our pupils have gained valuable experience playing for them on a Wednesday night or on Sundays in the Youth League. This also offers us the chance to provide a player pathway. The other members of the team, Emma Simmonds, Debbie Cook, Rebecca Bradshaw, Amy Beck and Emma Brown are all highly experienced coaches and players, who willingly spend time passing on their expert knowledge to our teams. Jo Walton not only coaches from senior level to U11 but is also a ‘B’ level umpire, who we are lucky enough to have to officiate for our 1st VII.
On Saturday 10 February, 13 pupils and staff watched Loughborough Lightning play their first Superleague match. The remainder of the season also has some tough and exciting fixtures in store. We are hosting Dartford Grammar School 1st VII on Friday 23 February, who are on tour and our annual triangular fixture in March against Oundle and Gresham’s. The finale of the season will be a ‘Fast Five’ tournament, where our school teams will be pitted against opponents from local clubs in this exciting form of the game.
Future Plans: I want to continue to build upon the progress that we have made this season and ensure that as many pupils at WGS as possible are able to enjoy playing Netball, whilst improving their own skills and aspiring to be the best that they can be. It is important that we develop and nurture our current players, as well as attracting new girls into the Sport.
To facilitate this I am working on a year-round Netball programme, which will involve Netball sessions as well as working in partnership with our strength and Conditioning Coach. This will certainly enable our 1st team to develop as individual Athletes and as a team.
We will also be launching Netball Academies and Camps in the future, to provide expert Coaching for pupils from the wider community as well as those from Wisbech Grammar School.
About Sam Goodier
Sam Goodier joined the School in 2009 and has been Head Coach of the 1st VII throughout her time here. She has played County netball for Norfolk and is still an active player for her club, who have played up to Cambridgeshire Premier League and Regional tournament level. Sam was awarded an England Netball ‘Goalden Globe’ teachers award in 2009 and has gained her ‘C’ umpiring accreditation. She can be found umpiring every Wednesday in the Wisbech Netball League, where she is delighted to see so many of her past and present pupils playing the game. As an avid netball fan, Sam also keeps in touch with her old university, watching the netball Superleague team, Loughborough Lightning.