Day 7 - Tauranga to Rotorua
Today, sadly, was the last day for fixtures. With the girls keen to finish well, it was off to the Harbourside Netball Centre for a training session. Our tour guide, Tom, even got into it, joining our Premier Reserve team as their "Super Sub" for drills. He was highly competitive, which forced our girls to lift their game, but being new to netball, the girls found themselves having to teach him a few rules of the game to ensure he was not cheating!
After a quick lunch at Mt Maunganui City, it was time to take on Aquinas College. We played on their outside courts and the matches drew in quite the crowd. This was the first game of the season for the Aquinas teams, who were only named two weeks ago. In contrast, our girls were playing their fifth game in six days. The umpire's whistle blew and it was on! After yesterday's hard fought win, our Premier Team started slow and were starting to show signs of fatigue. At the end of the first quarter they found themselves seven points behind on the scoreboard. They had to get their heads in the game. As the second quarter began, they began to make their passes and find the space they needed. Slowly they improved on their position, and by the end of the third quarter they had proven that they were certainly still in the match. Whilst they finished strong in the final quarter, it wasn't quite enough to make up the difference and they went down by only four goals.
Meanwhile, on the other court, our Premier Reserve team were competitive from the start. Though they were down, 4-6, at the end of the first quarter but quickly settled and pulled ahead to be up 11-8 at half time. The game was rougher than previous matches and the girls had to steady themselves and ensure that they played their game, their way and didn't allow the Aquinas girls to dictate the terms of play. They held their own and worked hard to ensure their ball work was tidy so that they didn't waste opportunities. The shooters converted their shots, while the defence took a few valuable intercepts which kept our momentum up. After a valiant team effort, our girls were up, 20-15 when the full time whistle went. It was the best way to wrap up match play for the tour! Great work girls!
A victory was not the only thing we were celebrating today though. Lucinda, one of the youngest girls in the squad, turned 16 today. The bus was decorated with balloons in her honour, and the girls took every opportunity to sing happy birthday to her throughout the day. And, of course, no birthday would be complete without cake! Happy birthday Lu! We hope that you enjoyed your day!
We have now settled into our new accommodation on Lake Rotorua where we will spend our final few days. With matches complete, it is time to once again play tourist and take in all of the fabulous sights that this beautiful country has to offer!