Phillips Electrical Whanganui High School A1 have faltered, but not disgraced on debut at the national secondary schools netball tournament in Nelson, going down to two very classy sides at the end of normal pool play.
The Lisa Murphy-coached side lost 42-27 to Epsom Girls' Grammar late on Tuesday and then 19-33 to upper North Island champions St Kentigern College early on Wednesday afternoon.
The losses left them third in Pool A and into a clash with fourth-placed Pool D contenders, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School late yesterday, the result of which was unavailable at press time.
Murphy said rather than despondent over the losses, her girls were upbeat and far from overawed by the step up in grade at national level.
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"We always knew we were about to meet some classy sides as we progressed through the tournament and we did," Murphy said.
"We had a slow start to our game against Epsom Girls' and they got a lead on us that meant we played catch up netball throughout the game. I think in that game the girls were a bit shocked by the early break by Epsom. In the game against St Kents we faced some tall, athletic players who were quite physical.
"We began okay and kept them to 9-3 in the first quarter and had our best performance in the second quarter ending with a 13-10 scoreline. St Kents then stretched out to 22-15 in the third and 33-19 by the end of the fourth.
"These are very classy teams and we never thought we would place in the top echelon. We are now in another pool and if we win our next three games we will be playing off for 9th and 10th on Friday. A top 10 finish on debut at nationals would be a great result.
"The girls are really relishing playing in this grade and it was be a huge experience for them all," Murphy said.
The result of last evening's match against Samuel Marsden would determine who WHS play on Thursday.