Schools netball: Peebles land first Senior Gold Cup

Peebles High confirmed its status as one of the leading netball schools in Scotland with a first ever win in the Senior Gold event at the Scottish Schools’ Cup Finals at Ravenscraig Sports Complex in Motherwell.

Facing two-time former winners Anderson High School from Shetland in the final, the Borders girls triumphed 50-24.

The Peebles squad of nine players – including Scottish Under-21 stars Jo Pettitt and Jenny Hudson – had been undefeated in qualifying matches and then won second round, quarter and semi-final ties to reach finals day.

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Nerves showed by both teams at the start of the final; it was Peebles’ outstanding captain and goal shooter, Jo Pettitt, who netted first to settle the butterflies but the Shetlanders retaliated instantly to level the scores.

However, Peebles’ confidence grew and they led after the first quarter by 13 goals to 4. By half-time, the lead had been stretched to 25-10.

It was into the second half of the match that Peebles’ defence started to dominate. Goal defence Lauren Tait showed her class, producing some remarkable interceptions and well-judged drives back into the Peebles attack and it resulted in a string of goals.

Goalkeeper Hannah Crick worked tirelessly to contain the Anderson attack and at the end of the third quarter Peebles led 39-14.

With the goal advantage reaching comfortable proportions, skipper Pettitt was replaced by Susanne Krabbendam and the substitute showed great composure, netting several risky long shots from the edge of the D.

Although the victory was almost certainly going to Peebles, Anderson kept attacking to the end, rewarded by ten goals to Peebles’ 11 in the final quarter.

The win marked the last school match for Pettitt, who has played loyally for Peebles Netball club and school teams for the past six years and has gained international honours at Under-17 and Under-21 age groups.

This summer, she and Hudson both hope to represent Scotland at the World Youth Championships in Glasgow.

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For coach Linda Nicholson, it was a proud moment. “We have worked so hard for years to get to the standard needed to compete at this level, and to produce the goods on Jo’s last day for us was a huge achievement and very emotional,” she said.