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Winners . . .Menzies College A netball team was awarded the Nellie Marsh shield when it won the B grade section of the South Island Secondary Schools netball tournament in Dunedin last week. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

After 20 long years, the Menzies College A netball team finally has a reason to celebrate after it won the B grade title at the South Island Secondary Schools netball tournament last week.

The tournament, held in Dunedin, resulted in Menzies beating Nayland College, of Nelson, 32-25 in the final for the Nellie Marsh shield.

Captain Marina Ferguson (16), was proud of how her team was able to extend its lead throughout the game.

“They kept coming back at us the whole game, but we managed to hold them off and extend our lead every quarter,” Ferguson said.

Right from the start, she was determined to take her team to the top of the competition.

“I always wanted to win, I kept saying ‘we’re going to win this grade’ all week long – I guess it just rubbed off on all of us.”

Although there are only 104 female pupils at the school, Ferguson said the side was out to prove it could win.

“We always had the desire to win and prove we can do it being from a small school.”

Coach Melissa Rogers’ knowledge of the game and ability to build a positive team environment was key, Ferguson said.

Rogers, who had coached the team since 2013, said she was proud of the side’s overall performance at the tournament.

“They dug really deep, not only in the final but in every game. They were all very close games,” Rogers said.

Patience and short balls were important in the style of netball Menzies played, she said.

“We’re a little bit shorter in the mid-court so we really treasure our possession and work the ball around.”

The team worked together throughout the week and Rogers also set activities for them for them to do off the court.

Rogers set the goal for the side to make the top four in the B grade after it finished fifth last year.

Principal Gerry Ward held a “winners are grinners” assembly on Monday to celebrate.

He told the school it was a magnificent achievement , as the school had only won the B grade twice before.

“Well done of behalf of all of the school on your achievements and our extended thanks go out to your coach, Melissa Rogers, as well,” Mr Ward said.

Both Ferguson and goal shoot Hannah Wallis were named in the B grade “talented players squad” for the tournament.

The team will compete in the A grade next year. The tournament will be held in Nelson.