Girls college wins national champs

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Nelson College for Girls is the country’s top underwater hockey school after their senior girls team won gold and the juniors won bronze at the national secondary champs in Auckland.

The school’s senior team qualified top of their section in the round robin stage and overcame a 0-1 deficit against Howick to win the semi-final 2-1. Nelson College for Girls went on to dominate the final against Trident, a team they defeated 3-2 in round-robin play, winning 2-1.

It was a long overdue title for the team, and especially for coach Alex Coombs-King who has been coaching underwater hockey in Nelson for 30 years.

“I coached Nelson College for Girls the last time they won a national senior title too,” Alex says. “That was 21 years ago.”

Alex says the team played exceptionally well, including inspirational captain Jessica Sturrock. Alex and Jessica had only just returned  to Nelson after attending the world champs in Spain with the New Zealand under-23 women’s team. “The girls were without a coach for the last month because I’ve been away with the under-23 team. They did very well training on their own.”

Alex’s husband Warwick King was also in Spain, coaching the New Zealand under-19 team that won gold, and in Auckland where he guided the Nelson College junior boys team to a silver medal.

The national championships featured the top 10 teams in the country in each of the junior and senior boys and girls competitions, and was played from September 4 to 6.

The Nelson College for Girls senior team at nationals was Jessica Sturrock, Lucy Field, Anna Carrington, Emily Reilly, Hannah Pattullo, Lucy Simpson, Georgie Marriott, Tessa Timms, Molly Cattell, Sam Kunzli, Astral Ramsay-Jensen and Joey Vining.