Marian College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School intend to make the most of a special outing at Horncastle Arena in what has been a season like no other.
The two teams will go head-to-head at the Christchurch venue on Thursday, 30 July as the curtain raiser to The Good Oil Tactix’ ANZ Premiership match against the Robinhood Northern Stars.
Marian College coach Rachel Parkin said it would be a memorable occasion particularly for the nine Year 13s she had in her squad.
A planned tour to Australia this season had to be called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic while other school tournaments have also been cancelled.
Parkin said it was especially disappointing for the school leavers, but they had “bounced back” well from lockdown and were now looking forward to the curtain-raiser game.
“This is an opportunity to experience what it’s like in a professional environment,” she said. “The nerves and coping with that, along with the crowd – it’s something they can experience together as a team.”
Rangi Ruru manager, Mandy Anderson, said the curtain-raiser would be a highlight in what had been a disrupted school season that included the cancellation of the South Island and National Secondary School Championships.
“I know the girls are really excited to play in front of such of a big crowd and then stay to watch the Tactix play,” she said.
Anderson said the team, which was coached by former Tactix captain Anna Kennedy (nee Thompson), had looked for the positives this season and seen the year as a rebuilding phase having lost five players from last year.
“We are a young team so this year as an opportunity to rebuild and work on those connections for next year,” she said.
Both Rangi Ruru and Marian College play in the Christchurch club competition, in the senior and senior reserve grades respectively, and in the weekly SuperNet league on Wednesday nights.
A regional tournament has also been planned for Tournament Week, starting 31 August, where teams from the SuperNet league would compete along with sides from Timaru and Nelson.
“It’s been disappointing for our Year 13s who miss out in their last year but it is what it is and many sports are in a similar position,” Anderson said.
“It’s what makes this curtain-raiser game such an important game to look forward to.”
The match begins at 5.35pm.
Rangi Ruru Girls’ High: Claudia Brown, Jasmin Strawbridge, Gemma Beckett, Georgia Sheat, Rosa Blake, Lucy Leech, Sophie Fulton, Madi Clifton, Emily Smith, Scarlett Banks.
Marian College: Georgia Woods, Isabella Blyth, Kate Curtain, Mailena Fasi-Fidow, Emily Fyall, Mila Litten, Lucy Naylor, Jessica Parkin, Caitlin Quinn, Ella Shackleton, Anna-Naina Aileone (train-on), Ashleigh Loper (train-on).