Yesterday Kia Ora Teams 7 to 12 took the court to earn their starting positions for that toughest of netball competitions - Senior Grade. This is the competition where all the good stuff happens - where the young and fit come up against the old and experienced and where grit always beats grace.
But Grading Day is actually best described as an awkward first date. Not only do the participants deal to any body hair and pointy bits, but this is the time when that first netball 'chemistry' (as judged to be present by the selectors) is put to the test.
This is where everyone starts to learn about their team mates - what kind of pass they can take, do they like a bit of noise, how do they react when their personal space is invaded. All that enlightening stuff - and all applicable to that awkward first date!
Reports that have come in from the Senior Team coaches have been mixed as far as results - some games were won and some were lost - but outstanding as far as positive comments..
Team 12 played the first game with only 6 - and no actual show ponies (shooters). Gayle reports a fantastic moment of team work when players put their hands up to take those positions and although they didn't win the game - took second place within a 5 point margin.
Coach Nicole Harding was impressed by Team 9 and their 'never give up attitude' which they took to the last game, after losing the previous two games, and had an impressive win to end the day. There is a lot of excitement in the team for the coming season - an awesome bunch of ladies!
Team 11 - First game - 'Winners Winners Chicken Dinners' - another classic quote from President Gayle, who by now was getting excited. And although their second game was a loss, they were a super positive team.
Team 7 - did it tough at Grading Day with three losses but Coach Perdi Barnes is looking forward to the season. She commented 'The team impressed me by improving throughout the day and showing real fight in their last game. I'm excited about the season as this team has so much promise so the only way is up!'
Team 8 - Winners on court but coach Abby was unavailable for comment. Perhaps stressed out by making sure that no-one took the court today in their underwear, she is quietly confident of a ripper of a season ahead.
Team 10 - the famous Wolfpack have the hardest battle of all this year with the pressure of bringing home the Hat Trick after winning Trophies in 2014 and 2015. Is a third season championship a possibility? Only time - and a number of Club Nights will tell...
Well done ladies - next week is where it all starts to count, so best of luck!
By Tracy T