Tauranga Intermediate is the only school in the Western Bay of Plenty to have secured a place in the top grade of the AIMS Games netball tournament.

The school won all seven of their pool play games to top their pool and promotion to the A Grade of the competition.

Chloe McSweeny, who plays wing attack and centre and also captain's the Tauranga side, says the team works hard together and they are excited to have topped their section.

"I was proud of everyone, we all played amazing, and we worked strongly as a team."


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The A Grade is made up of 32 teams that finished in the top two spots of their sections, and Tauranga Intermediate was the only local school to have secured a place.

Other Bay of Plenty schools which made it to A Grade included Whakatane Intermediate and Taupo Intermediate schools.

Out of a total of 122 teams, reaching the top 32 is a fantastic feat on its own - but the team have no plans to just accept a top 26 per cent placing - they want a place in the top 20, which will mean ending the competition in no less than the top 16 per cent.

Their first game yesterday morning did not end as they had wanted, losing to Saint Kentigern College 19-13 despite a strong comeback in the third quarter.

"We do keep fighting, but we need to fight a little harder," McSweeny says.

"They fought back, they did fight but made basic mistakes," coach Leticia Emery says.

However, despite the setback, they were still aiming to better last year's placing of 30th, hoping for a top 20 placing after about 14 games of netball.


"We can do it. Their start was incredible," she says.

She says netball placings can often be taken out of context.

The size of the netball tournament needed to be considered when looking at the success of a team.

She says if they manage to place in the top 20, it will be an impressive feat given there are 122 teams playing off in the competition.

The level of talent at the tournament is very high, she says, which means "top 30 is amazing, anywhere is wicked."

She says Tauranga Intermediate principal Brian Diver, who is also the chairman of the Anchor AIMS Games, sends the team text messages every day wishing them luck and attends their games which helps to keep the energy high.

Emery says the atmosphere at the tournament has been exceptional, with teams having dance offs with each other and everyone having fun and in high spirits.

With 122 teams, close to 1500 players competing and 150 or so umpires, organising a competition of this size will seem daunting to many.

But not to Jill Weldon. She's been organising the netball portion of Aims Games since its inception.

"It's a piece of cake," she says.

"I've done it from the beginning, I've grown with it."

She says luckily she isn't responsible for the infrastructure of the tournament, which means only running the sport, facilitating the umpires, ensuring the smooth running of the day-to-day competition and making sure the teams enjoy themselves.

There are 19 courts at the Harbourside Netball Centre, which helps when there so many teams.

In the future, she'd love to see more courts with lights so they can run more evening games and attract more local spectators during the week.

But, there is work being done to make that happen, she says, and she is looking forward to being able to use those courts in tournaments down the track.