Six Senior A netball titles in a row for St Mary’s
A six-peat of titles.
The St Mary’s Senior A netball team extended their dominance of the College Sport Wellington RSSL Division 1 competition into a sixth consecutive year with their 34-28 win over Samuel Marsden Collegiate in Monday night’s final played at Queen Margaret College.
St Mary’s were pushed hard all the way by Marsden, whom they had beaten 41-30 earlier in the round-robin competition, and at no time were they in full control.
They gradually extended their lead over the first three quarters, leading 8-7 after the first quarter, 18-14 after the second and 27-20 after the third.
They briefly threatened to pull clear, but Marsden kept them in check and the six-goal winning margin was reflective of the run of play.
In the end, it was St Mary’s superior firepower through the midcourt court that was a key aspect of their victory, captain and wing attack Amelia Feaunati and wing defence Temalesi Rayasi both having strong games.
Goal Shoot Phoenix Schwalger played a blinder in this final last year as a year 9 off the bench, in this decider she played the entire game and took most of her chances under the net.
For Marsden, starting goal attack Olivia Jones played a leading hand for her team on goal, moving to goal shoot after halftime as one of several changes Marsden made over the second 20 minutes to try and bridge the gap.
The final opened up in the fourth quarter as Marsden, led by goal defender Rachel Price, threw caution to the wind. But St Mary’s were up to the task, shutting down any hints of a comeback.
St Mary’s captain Amelia Feaunati praised her side’s efforts against their plucky Marsden rivals in the final.
“It is always an honour to play for St Mary’s and this was a good send-off for half our team who are year 13s and playing in our last game of competition,” said Amelia.
“It is always a good hit-out against Marsden, including Saturday matches this year we have played them three or four times this season and they are a tough side. It was really good for us to pull through and get the job done in the end.”
Amelia said that at no time did they rest on their laurels on court in the final. “We know not to take Marsden lightly, even if we are ahead. Our coach Pelesa Semu always says to stay composed and play as a team for each other and that is what we did and that was the outcome.”
St Mary’s College were also wearing black arm bands in the final in honour of wing attack Temalesi Rayasi’s grandmother who sadly passed away on the morning of the match.
“It was a mental game for all of us – and especially for our teammate Temalesi. We were all there to support her and show our respects.”
Of the five year 13s in the team, Temalesi started playing in the St Mary’s Senior A when she was year 9, so this was her fifth straight title.
This year St Mary’s completed an unbeaten RSSL season, winning all seven of their round-robin matches and the final.
Their results were:
Round 1: beat Wellington East Girls’ College 44-17
Round 2: beat Queen Margaret College 35-22
Round 3: beat Samuel Marsden Collegiate 41-30
Round 4: beat Paraparaumu College 59-17
Round 5: beat Sacred Heart College 38-29
Round 6: beat Wellington Girls’ College 16-4
Round 7: beat Aotea College 40-34
Final: beat Samuel Marsden Collegiate 34-28
The two teams that contested the 2021 RSSL Division 1 final were (starting positions):
St Mary’s College: GS – Phoenix Schwalger, GA – Jessie Jackson, WA – Amelia Feaunati, C – Erana Ngarimu, WD – Temalesi Rayasi, GD – Kiara-Leigh Davidson-Korewha, GK – Caitlin Lafaele. Reserves: Natalia Savali, Teuila Bennis, Lamai Mataiti
Marsden: GS – Keira Banks, GA – Olivia Jones, WA – Eva Fa’atau, C – Harriet Abbot, WD – Laura Hausmann, GD – Sarah Guiney, GK – Rachel Price. Reserves/other players: Araraina Takuira-Mita, Emily Wong, Macy Mahoney-Studd, Payton Wong, Lauren Healy
As well as winning the RSSL title, St Mary’s are also junior netball champions in 2021. In August they won the CSW Junior Netball Tournament, beating Tawa College 21-14 for the Tanya Dearns Cup.
There were also three other season-ending CSW competition netball finals on Monday night.
In two other matches played at QMC, Scots College and Upper Hutt College met in the RSSL Division 3 final with Scots College taking it out in extra time 22-20. Wellington East and Paraparaumu College contested the Division 1 playoff for seventh and eighth, to determine next year’s seedings with Paraparaumu winning 38-23.
There were two matches played at St Oran’s College, the home school and last year’s Division 1 finalists and Hutt Valley High School contesting the RSSL Division 2 final and Sacred Heart College and Heretaunga College playing the Hutt Valley Secondary Schools Premier 1 final.
In a close fought Division 2 final HVHS took it out 40-37 & Sacred Heart won with relative ease in the Hutt Valley Premier 1 final 30-16 against Heretaunga.