Kellett School netball stars explain how important team spirit, a sense of belonging, and 'me time' are to athletes and students

Kelly Ho |

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(From left) Golly Shepherd, Holly Farrall, Julie Destexhe and Millie Mayo of the Kellett School netball team hold the ACAMIS Netball Invitational Cup they earned in November.

It was the fourth and final quarter of an international schools netball tournament finals, but there wasn’t a clear victor yet. Kellett School from Hong Kong and Dulwich College from Shanghai were neck and neck, and it was unnerving for both teams.

Although they were frustrated and exhausted, the Kellett team members were not ready to give up, and knew they had to pull themselves together.

The under 19 Hong Kong players gathered around in a circle, with everyone’s hands in the centre. A chant of “Go Kellett!” made itself heard.

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This cheer boosted the team’s morale, and maybe scared off their opponents. And it seemed to have worked.

Team Kellett caught a break in the fourth quarter, and Dulwich just could not bounce back.

The Hong Kong British international school crushed their Shanghai counterpart in 23-15, winning them the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools Netball Invitational Cup winners title.

“The final was so intense,” 18-year-old Holly Farrall recalled.

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“The pressure got to all of us, but we came back in the last quarter, so it was quite an emotional win in the end.”

Holly’s teammate Julie Destexhe, 17, added the tournament was especially memorable for many of the Year 13 players, as it was the last regional competition they would play in for the school before graduating this year.

The winning team was led by Millie Mayo, 17, who sat with Young Post to share her thoughts on leadership. She said the key to being a good leader is to not be domineering, but to be a person that encourages openness, and who can connect with players from different grades through team talks and bonding activities like tough fitness training sessions.

Millie Mayo, who plays wing defence, is the captain of the Kellett School netball team.
Photo: Kelly Ho/SCMP

“I don’t want to the team to feel like just one person is in charge. We’re in it together,” said the Year 13 team captain. “I also want everyone to be honest about how they feel, and to be able to tell one another what should or shouldn’t be done.”

Millie’s teammates also believe building up a sense of belonging in the team is an important, ongoing process. They are proud with the progress they’ve made this season, especially in terms of the strong relationships between the senior and junior players, which is evident in the unity they display on the court.

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Millie, Holly, and Julie are all in their final year. Thinking back on their time on the netball team, the three said that they want the younger members to make time for themselves.

They should find the time to put aside their homework, and to always make time for their favourite sport.

“In our final year, we have a lot of exams to worry about, and we’re put under great pressure,” said Holly. “But taking one or two hours out your week to play netball gives you a really nice break, you should always make time for it.”

Edited by Nicole Moraleda