For nearly two decades, Ex High Red has been sitting pretty at the top of premier netball.
The team won its 13th final on the trot on Saturday against St Mary’s.
That feat adds to the team’s already impressive history, winning 18 of the past 19 premier Trust Bank Cups.
Ex High’s dominant record speaks for itself.
The side is well drilled, works hard and has resilience.
Coach Colleen Bond previously played for the side and has been at the helm for the better part of those wins.
“We’re probably not as popular because we’ve won it but the girls work really, really hard for it,” Bond said.
Her philosophy was simple.
“If you are going to be in premier grade, you’ve got to be committed – I don’t like sloppy work.
“I don’t let the girls get away with not being at training or slacking off.
“We train every week no matter what, and they work really hard.”
The basic skills of netball were important, Bond said.
No matter who Ex High faced on a strong performance.
“I treat every final as important.
“Most of the games you go through a tight patch and a bit of a tussle,” she said.
Bond was a former international umpire and was involved in several high-performance set-ups.
Her work ethic for Ex High was based off the back of those programmes, she said.
“Being involved in high performance through umpiring and my playing days .. you admire them and the work they put in.
“You certainly want to improve like them and get the basics right to get there.”
Having a strong sister-side in Ex High Black to train against was integral to the club’s success.
“We do skills and drills work with the other team which makes it strong.”
Key players helped cement the side’s success throughout the years.
“Those players like Krishanee [Tamou], Ashleigh [Smith], Mel [Rogers] and Emma [Millard], they’re like foundation players for this side now.”
Rogers has played for Ex High for the past 15 years and said having an excellent coach was key to success.
“Obviously having Colleen is great. She’s very knowledgeable about the game,” Rogers said.
“It’s always good to go through a season unbeaten and get the win at the end.”
The club continued to go from strength to strength with its player roster.
“Ex High has always attracted pretty strong players. They seem to come to us from around the district, which has helped make the side strong.”
Former player and coach Beth Campbell said the friendships between players paid dividends when she was involved.
“We were really good friends who got out there and played hard, which made the real difference.
“We had that competitive spirit and we didn’t like losing,” Campbell said.
Ex High will play Mossburn in its final game of the season for third and fourth in the Southland Wide League tomorrow night in Invercargill.