Peebles HS S1 38

Douglas Ewart HS S1 17

Peebles HS Senior 55

Notre Dame HS Senior 59

FOR the 13th year in succession, Peebles school teams featured in the Scottish Schools Gold Finals held last Friday at Ravenscraig Leisure Centre in Motherwell.

Hundreds of schools enter the championships, with numbers rising year on year, with an outstanding four Peebles Netball-coached high school teams reaching gold semi-finals this season.

Two teams, made it all the way to the final last week.

Despite their young age, Peebles S1s took the day in their stride, and produced a polished and exciting performance which resulted in a convincing win over Douglas Ewart S1s, to be crowned champions of Scotland.

For Peebles Senior players (S4-S6), their match was particularly poignant, being the swan-song for four S6 players, including the captain Rianna Sterricks and vice-captain Jess Wodehouse, and also Lucy Gray and Sophie Walpole. Selected for Peebles Netball back in S1, these girls have dedicated six years to club, school and District netball. Their dedication has not simply been as players on the court, but as coaches to more junior players, and latterly Lucy moving up the umpire ranks in Scotland.

Their opponents on finals’ day had put them out of the competition in the quarter-finals last year, and Peebles players were up for the challenge of turning the tables. Included in both teams were Scotland age-group national caps and long squad players, indeed Peebles boasted four U17 Scotland long-squad players from this season.

And so ensued one of the classic matches of the Scottish Schools, with the top two school teams in Scotland battling it out in front of a loud and supportive audience.

A half-time lead built up by Notre Dame of 30 goals to 23, was rapidly clawed back by Peebles who trailed by only two goals going into the final quarter. In the closing minutes it was anyone’s game, with Peebles happening to be a few goals down at the final whistle.

A fitting, top-class match to end their school netball for the S6 leavers, and an inspiration for their younger teammates to take on their mantle and legacy.

Peebles HS S1: Natalie Beatton (Capt), Jess Colledge (Vice Capt), Hala Istephan, Chloe Smith, Lillia Russell-Wood, Hannah Sorrell, Erin Blacklaw, Stella Davidson, Annie Newton, Hannah Begg, Heather Adams.

Coach: Linda Nicholson

Peebles HS Seniors: Rianna Sterricks (Capt), Jess Wodehouse (Vice Capt), Lucy Gray, Sophie Walpole (all S6), Ellie O’Hara, Emma Raeburn (S5), Hannah Little, Abbie Sorrell, Ruby Finn, Emma Latto (S4).

Coach: Linda Nicholson