Rachel Price (Marsden) chasing netball success

New Zealand Secondary School squad netballer Rachel Price is relishing playing school netball this year.

The year 13 defender has made the move from St Catherine’s College in Kilbirnie to Samuel Marsden Collegiate in Karori for her final year of school and has already come close to tasting success on court with her new school.

“We had our one-day tournament last week at ASB Centre and St Mary’s beat us by one goal in the final,” she said. “We made that game hard for ourselves, but pulled it back at the end of the second half but it wasn’t quite enough.”

The one-day CSW Premier Paul Cameron Cup tournament saw St Mary’s beat Marsden 15-14 in the final. Marsden also had wins over Whitby Collegiate (35-2), Aotea College (21-12), Heretaunga College (22-6), Taita College (31-3), Wellington Girls’ (13-12) and Queen Margaret College (18-10 – semi-final).

The school teams are gearing up to play the annual College Sport Wellington Regional competition from June to August.

St Mary’s are the five-time Division 1 champions and the team to beat for Marsden and all the other schools in the region.

Rachel is one of three year 13s in her school’s Senior A team. The other players being this year’s captain Araraina Takuira-Mita and Keira Banks.

The move to Marsden from St Catherine’s came about in large part because her former school has had no Senior A side for three years, as she explained:

“When I started at St Cath’s the netball was really strong. The following year when I was year 10 it was mostly year 13s and then they all left.

“I came back to play in year 11, but there weren’t enough others that wanted to and we didn’t have a Senior A team.”

So she went and played club netball for Victoria University for the next two years.

“But I was kind of missing the opportunity with playing with girls my age and in school tournaments such as Lower North Islands and all of that.”

Marsden are also currently playing in the Netball Wellington club competition on Saturdays, in Premier 2. Queen Margaret College and Wellington East Girls’ College are the other two school teams in their grade. St Mary’s are in Premier 1.

As well as school netball, there is a busy age-grade representative season to look forward to in 2021, first for the Wellington U18s.

“We had trials a month or so ago and we have got our first tournament coming up on Queen’s Birthday Weekend.”

The is all working towards the National U18 tournament, which has replaced the U19 tournament, and is in Rotorua later in the winter.

Rachel is joined by Marsden teammate Araraina Takuira-Mita in the Wellington U18 team.

The NZSS School squad was selected from a couple of camps earlier this year.

The players are on a fitness programme and their form is being watched by zone selectors providing feedback to the national coaches.

A final team of 12-14 players will be named in the final NZSS team in August. The schedule for this team is yet to be confirmed.

The other players in the 19-player squad are Torren Isaako (Aotea College), Lili Clarke (Wellington Girls’ College) and Temalesi Rayasi (St Mary’s College).

Another carrot for the Wellington players in the leading school teams is playing in the NZSS Championships in Porirua at the end of this year. To qualify for the school nationals, schools have to finish inside the top five at the Lower North Island Championships in Hawke’s Bay at the end of August.

Rachel started playing netball in year 4 “as young as I could.”

She started off as a shooter, then took two years off netball in her intermediate school years to play rugby, before resuming netball and switching positions.

“My auntie was the coach, and they were short on defenders, so she put me there and I have played it ever since.”

As well as rugby, she has played volleyball as well. These days though her sole focus is netball, which is keeping her busy either playing or training six days a week.

-Story Courtesy of College Sport Media