Thursday morning dawned bright at OBHS and even brighter for the OBHS Prefect Netball team, determined to maintain their unbeaten prefect netball season.
Boosted by the return of a few unavailable players, spirits were at fever pitch as we kitted up to face our Tennyson rivals on the unyielding outdoor courts at OGHS. Girls’ High already looked on the back foot as we marched onto their turf behind the invaluable piper Hunter Burgess who showed that a few war wounds doesn’t stop an OB’s boy from putting his best foot forward for his school.
The first quarter was very tense. Filled with turnovers, it took until halfway through for either side to record a goal. Captain Reuben Cook and Jonathan Burnside were destructive down the defensive end and made you question whether OG’s even had shooters at times! This, coupled with some good distribution from our midcourt trio gave us a narrow quarter-time lead. We made further subtle gains in the second quarter giving us a narrow advantage of 8-6 at the half.
It was at this point that OGHS realised their changes weren’t working and reverted to a lineup they knew. Our boys were having none of that and subsequently gave the girls a masterclass in fluid passing netball. The tactical decision to move the aerially dominant Jonathan and Reuben to the shooting circle paid dividends as we put 10 goals past them with a series of long feeds from centre Sebastian Whiston and wing attack Luke Geddes. Meanwhile, Semisi Taeiloa held the fort at the back, restricting OG’s to just two goals.
It certainly seemed like we had put the game to bed – so much so that the OGHS scorers conveniently “forgot” to continue scoring! Wholesale changes were made for the 4th quarter with a few of the boys given a much-needed rest. However, our opposition seemed to suddenly remember they were playing for pride in front of their fired-up home crowd and went on a sudden five goal run. As they reduced the margin to just one goal, we sent some tall timber in to claw back some momentum. The final two minutes were tense with the OBs' boys animatedly gesturing to the sideline, sure that time was up despite the teams being in a 15-all deadlock.
With one minute remaining, we found our breakthrough. Jacob Cumming split the OG's defence with a decisive pass to Reuben, who subsequently found the tall frame of Boudewijn Keenan at the post. In the most high-pressure moment of his life, Boudewijn calmly slotted the goal – breaking every OGHS heart simultaneously.
Whilst the mathematical addition skills at OGHS must be questioned, the OBHS Prefect team took a deserved 17-16 victory under the most immense of pressure. Playing in front of a hostile Girls’ High crowd will surely be a highlight of many of these players’ illustrious prefect netball careers!
Once again, as a prefect team we’d like to extend a massive thank you to the fantastic hosts that were Otago Girls’. It was a tremendous game and the entire OG’s team were very worthy opponents. You have certainly set the bar high!