For the third time in as many weeks, the Lincoln High School 1st XI went to a penalty shootout to decide their fate. After a heart-breaking loss to Christchurch Girls high 2nd XI in the local division two final, Timaru provided a happier hunting ground as they came out on top to win the Audrey Timlin Memorial Tournament.
Not only would the team travel back to Christchurch with a shiny new trophy and gold medals around their necks, but they’ve secured promotion to the prestigious Federation Cup/Marie Fry tournament for 2020, the first time ever for the school.
They secured their promotion a day earlier when they defeated James Hargest School in the semi final, with the top two teams at the tournament earning a spot at the tier one tournament next year. Beaten finalists Craighead would also secure promotion, taking the total to eight Canterbury schools to contest the tournament next year.
For PE Teacher and coach Brine Styles, a tournament win and promotion to the big leagues is a huge effort. “It is overwhelming to be honest. Last year, the girls got third, which was the best they had done at the Audrey Timlin Tournament, and after losing some strong players the year prior, I think they surprised themselves.”
“Making Fed Cup/Marie Fry is the first time for the school Is super exciting! – playing with the top of the top, I think the girls will learn so much – what an opportunity!”
The tournament wasn’t all easy going, drawing with St. Hilda’s in pool play. The quarter final match against Timaru Girls was also tight, with another penalty shootout, but lessons learned from the local final a week or so earlier meant they survived and moved onto the semi finals.
The 3-1 victory not only put them into the final, but locked in their first every appearance at the top tier tournament.
“Craighead were tough. The score reflected the game as we were all tied up at 0-0 when the final whistle went. It almost felt like déjà vu, where we went to penalty shoot outs against CGHS in the local trophy, but the vibe of the team was oh so different. Our goalie, Libby Champion had worked hard prior to tournament to prepare for this moment, and that she did” said Styles.
“I still have shivers down my spine, reflecting on the feeling. There were tears, smiles, hugs, laughter and a true feeling of pride. The girls had gone out and done it!”
2020 can’t come soon enough, as the team looks to enter unchartered waters. They will lose seven senior students, but a strong core remains with some exceptional talent coming through. “Although the development of the team will start again next season, it will be about re-creating the culture and establishing a clear philosophy within the team.”
“It will be another journey and string to add to the girls bow, but I do believe that Lincoln has the potential to make history, yet again.”