Phillips Electrical Whanganui High School A1 has started its National Secondary Schools Netball Tournament in Nelson the way it means to carry on, with a clinical 35-26 win over Ashburton College.

The victory marked WHS' debut at national level and gave confidence they could compete successfully against the big guns.

Coach Lisa Murphy said her girls got off to a slow start, but settled into a rhythm the goals came.

"Hardly surprising we were a bit rusty with four weeks between tournaments, but once we settled into it, the girls put together some great moves," Murphy said.

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"We managed to get the whole team on by the last quarter, so that was good and although we won, we can always do better and we will need to compete."

The game against Ashburton late Tuesday morning was WHS' first with Epsom Girls' Grammar awaiting them late afternoon.

Wednesday, WHS play upper North Island winners Saint Kentigern College at 12.30pm to mark the end of pool play.