THE New England Girls School is celebrating success on the netball court and the athletics track.
On Wednesday, Erica Sweeney picked up silver in the 17yrs girls’ 800m at the NSW Combined Independent Schools Athletics Championships.
Sweeney (Walcha) also finished fourth in the 1500m after placing second in both at the preceding Independent Girls Schools’ Sporting Association (IGSSA) carnival.
Ellis Mackay (Armidale) also won silver and was only 3cm off gold in the 15 years high jump.
She cleared 1.59m, with the winner jumping 1.62m.
Mackay and Sweeney will both now go on to the All Schools Championships in October where Mackay will compete in the high jump and Sweeney the 200m and 400m.
Harriet Raleigh (Moree), who also qualified for CIS but could not attend, will also line up in the 17 years girls’ high jump and long jump, and her sister Charlotte in the 13 years discus.
The athletics success follows the school taking out the Division 3 IGSSA netball title in Sydney on the weekend, defeating Queenwood 19-17 in a tightly-contested final.
Earlier, the Armidale girls had defeated SCEGS 27-25 in their semi-final.
This was also a close tussle, with never more than a goal separating the two sides.
After beating the Darlinghurst school 29-26 in the round robin matches, NEGS headed in confident and in the closing minutes maintained their composure and controlled the pace of the match to come away two-goal winners.
That put them into the final against Queenwood.
Queenwood had defeated NEGS in the earlier rounds and the girls were determined to reverse the result.
The final produced outstanding netball from both sides.
Again the defence combination proved to be strong for NEGS, withstanding the speed and accuracy of the Queenwood shooters to take a four-point lead into the final quarter.
However, this lead rapidly disappeared as a determined Queenwood scored quickly.
But NEGS captain Anna Moxham took control of the centre court and, in combination with teammate Molly McNeil, steadied the pace and maintained possession for NEGS.
Vice captain Sophie McKenzie then scored a pressure goal in the final minute, to ensure NEGS maintained their lead and held on for the win.
It’s the first time in at least six years NEGS have won an IGSSA netball premiership.
“This is a remarkable achievement, especially given that the girls played in Division 1B, playing against schools that have three times the number of students to draw upon,” coach Terri Swartz said.
The win was all the better given the girls had forfeited their grand final berth in the local Armidale District Netball Association Division 3 competition to play in the IGSSA competition.