Girls’ Touch miss out on promotion by the narrowest of margins!

The Girls ‘A’ touch team finished their season with a skilled and determined performance.

By virtue of winning the Central Zone ‘A’, Grade Girls Touch competition, King’s college was invited to play in the promotion/relegation tournament at Mt Albert Grammar. At stake was promotion to the Girls Auckland Premier touch division in 2020. The tournament was made up of other zone winners from around Auckland as well as the bottom-placed teams from the Premier Division in 2019. To qualify to play in the premier division in 2020, King’s needed two wins from three games. With four frontline players out either injured or away on School trips and the tournament being played in trying and at times wet conditions with only short breaks between games, it was always going to be a tough evening.

Our first game saw us up against Northshore winners Kristin, who were well drilled. Kristin took advantage of an early mistake to show how dangerous they could be when a quick dive at our line saw them score early. As the game progressed however we slowly took control with breaks in the middle from Grace Freeman opening good channels for our mid and link players, particularly Tiara Alatini who found space regularly.  A nice running line from Leah Russell added to our tally and solid defensive reads from Caitlyn Browne meant that at full time we found ourselves 7-1 winners. Our evening was off the perfect start.

Our second game was against Baradene College, a team who has played all season in the Premier Division against strong opposition and who we knew would be used to playing fast paced touch. The game tipped our way midway through the first half as Grace Freeman again showed her class and scored after being well supported by some accurate wide channel running from Ella Chitty, Lexi Eddington-Smith and Ruby Gibson who ran accurate lines and demanded the Baradene wings hold wide on defense all game. The game turned quickly however and we found ourselves down 2-1 shortly after half time. We clawed our way back into the game late in the second to sit at 2-2 all with only minutes to play. With points difference calculations starting to enter my head Baradene scored their winner off a pass that would have made Wayne Barnes 2007 officiating effort look good, and just like that the game was gone 3-2.

Our last game was a do or die against Macleans college. As the game started the heaven’s opened and two tired sides added wet and cold conditions to the mix. Played in pouring rain Macleans started the stronger and scored from their first possession. However our girls weren’t done, lead by a strong cohort of year 13’s (Milly Tooman, Carmel Uhila, Jemma Charteris, Leah Russel & Grace Freeman) some playing in their third season of touch for King’s, we clawed our way back into the game to go into halftime at 1-1. The second half was a tight affair and we again traded tries in the later stages. With time almost up an excellent break down the left side saw Macleans score the decisive try. Once again we had to settle for a frustratingly close 2-3 loss.

Whilst the team didn’t quite achieve the promotion we had hoped for, the girls are to be commended for their performances both and for winning the central zone title for 2019. The team has been well lead by Captain Grace Freeman who fought hard against experience and skilled opposition.