Galway Spikeball Finals 2018

Thanks to Mr. Foran for the report.

On Friday, 26th January a team from the school took part in the Galway finals for Spikeball. We had a mixed team and there were eleven other teams in our competition broken into three groups of four. The top two teams from each group would compete in a playoff for the two places available to represent Galway in the Regional Finals.

The boys and girls from 5th and 6th class had practised hard for the day and were looking forward to playing. We arrived at 9.45 for the explanation of the rules for the day. The competition started at 10:00 for the all-girls teams but we would not be playing until 11:30. This gave us a chance to warm up, practise and watch other teams playing. There was huge excitement in the hall with all the other children and their teachers. While we were waiting we had something to eat and drink to make sure we were full of energy when our turn came. Finally, our chance to play came.

Our first game was against one of the teams from Gaelscoil Riada. It was a very tough game and we played well. However, we were nervous and that affected how we played. Gaelscoil Riada deservedly won the game and we were quite disappointed. We had twenty minutes to wait before we played again, and we used the time to remind ourselves of the practice we had put in and what we had learned. Even though we were disappointed with the first game we all encouraged each other.

The positive mood showed in our second game against Briarhill National School. We really hit the ground running, hitting some very good points, encouraging each other and enjoying the match. We won the game by 16 points to 11.

To progress to the qualifier round we needed to win our last game. If we did, we would go through. If Briarhill managed to beat the Gaelscoil team in the match before ours, we even had the chance to win our group. Briarhill led until very near the end but lost by two points. The best we could do now was second place in our group, though that would be enough to go through. First, we had to win.

From the first ball Clontuskert dominated the game against another team from Gaelscoil Riada. We built up a good early lead with excellent serving and a great selection of shots to win points. We had to try and score as many points as possible in case points difference would be important. One of the points of the game came when we set up one of our players

but instead of hitting the ball hard over the net he just tipped it and it dropped to the ground. They hadn’t expected that! Clontuskert won the game by 22 points to 12 and were through to the quarter final.

In the quarter final we came up against Fohenagh National School which was lead my Mr. O’Riordan, a former teacher here in Clontuskert. Now it was a straight knockout competition. When the game started Clontuskert raced into a lead which we never gave up. We scored 24 points to Fohenagh’s 7 and with each point we were more and more confident. When the whistle sounded for the end of the match we shook hands and waited to find out who we would play in the last match of the day.

Gaelscoil Riabhach were our opponents and they had been very successful in last year’s competition. However, by this stage our confidence was good. We had played well since our first match and continued to encourage each other even if things did not go to plan.

Once again, we started well and went two or three points up. The other team were tough opponents and managed to catch up. We then went point for point before they took the lead. They managed to add on some more points and it would have been easy to give up. However, after all we had done that wasn’t going to happen. We fought back to reduce their lead and got a run of points together. They always managed to get a point here and there to maintain their lead before they eventually got to 21 points to win the match against our 16 points.

It was obvious that we were disappointed, but we congratulated the other team and wished them well in the next round. They will be tough opponents for any team they play. After talking about the game, we felt better. We had been disappointed following our first game but had worked hard as a team to do so well in the other games.

We will continue to practice Spikeball because there will be another competition next year. We will take our experience and practice again and hopefully we will go even further.

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