Marsden looking forward to meeting St Mary’s in netball decider

It’s the three-time defending champions against the first-time finalists.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate were Division 2 winners when St Mary’s College captured the first of their three consecutive wins in the Wellington Regional Secondary School League in 2016. On Monday the two schools line up in the Division 1 decider on finals night of the Wellington Regional competition.

“We’re excited to be there and we are going to go on court and against St Mary’s and give it our all,” said captain Grace Masseurs. “They are a team with lots of experienced players so it is always good playing them.”

The two teams met just last Monday with St Mary’s winning 34-27, and many of the players know each other well, having played with each other in representative teams.

Top qualifier St Mary’s are unbeaten and the College Sport Wellington Premier tournament winners, while Marsden finished the just completed round-robin second equal on the same number of points as last year’s finalists Sacred Heart College but have made the final ahead of the Lower Hutt school after beating them 29-24 in the round-robin.

“That was a big win for us, that is the one that got us across the line and into the final,” said Grace.

“We needed that one,” said coach Efi Fa’atau. “The girls turned up with a good attitude and we think we stuck to our structures more that game.  We have been up and down a little bit but we have been able to peak at the right time.”

Marsden’s Regional competition round-robin results has seen them win four, draw two and lose one of their seven matches.

As well as beating Sacred Heart, their wins have been over Wellington East Girls’ College (35-27), Wellington Girls’ College (26-20) and Paraparaumu (28-19).

The two draws were with St Oran’s College (24-24) and Queen Margaret College (18-18).

Marsden also finished third in the College Sport Wellington Premier tournament back in May, edging Wellington East Girls’ College 15-14 in the 3rd v 4th game.

Captain Grace plays goal defence, part of a strong defensive circle all season.

In their seven Regional competition matches so far, Marsden have only let in four fewer goals (166) than St Mary’s have (162). The next best defence has been Sacred Heart’s (191), and with the other five teams all well above that.

“Our defensive end have been our glue this season, they have saved us a few games that could have easily gotten away from us and kept us in games and quite late in the piece as well,” said Efi.

This is the first season that Efi and Monalisa Groom  have been coaching the team

They also coach the Junior As together, who won their final last Saturday by beating Wellington Girls’ College.

The Marsden team is comprised of five year 13s and a group of up and coming players. “We will lose the majority of the team next year but Efi and Monalisa have done a good job developing the team for the future,” said Grace.

Six of Marsden’s players have been in Wellington representative squads this winter, including four in the U19s and two in the U17s.

Marsden have been the steady improvers of Wellington secondary school netball.

They have only been in the ‘top eight’ for three years. They won Division 2 in 2016 to earn promotion in 2017 when they finished seventh, before coming third last year.

“I remember being in the team when we won the Division 2 final,” said Grace, “and then to improve every year since so we are happy to be here in this position now to be playing in the final.”

As well as the school netball competition on Monday nights, Marsden play in the Wellington Netball Centre’s Premier 2 competition on Saturdays.

On Saturday they play Queen Margaret College in the playoff for fifth and sixth.

“We had a good start to the second half of the season but dropped off a little bit,” said Grace. “It’s a good experience playing against the older players, especially for us year 13s leaving and going to clubs next year.”

Win, lose or draw on Monday, Marsden also has the Lower North Island Secondary School Tournament (LNISS) to look forward to in Winter Tournament Week at the ASB Centre.

“We are looking forward to the LNISS tournament and that has been a goal of ours all season to try and do well there, “said Efi. “It has been a work in progress.”

Monday night’s Regional Netball Finals at the ASB Centre, Kilbirnie

Division 1: St Mary’s vs Marsden, court 10 at 7.40pm.

Division 2: Aotea vs Chilton, court 10 at 6.30pm

Division 3: Upper Hutt vs St Matthew’s, court 10 at 5.30pm

Past RSSL Division 1 winners:

2012: Wellington East Girls’ College

2013: St Oran’s College

2014: Wellington Girls’ College

2015: Wellington Girls’ College

2016: St Mary’s College

2017: St Mary’s College

2018: St Mary’s College