A star on the court and in the pool

Courtney Joshua goes through some drills on her school's netball court.

Last month, Courtney and her under-13 Western Province Cape Town teammates won silver at the inter-district netball tournament – which also featured teams from Eden and the Winelands.

Courtney’s netball skills have grown at a fast pace since she made her first appearance on the court two years ago.

“This is the first time I made the Western Province team, and I narrowly missed out on making the Western Cape squad.

“At first, I attended the trials to see how I compare to other players in the province, and the next thing I knew was in camp with the WP team preparing for the inter-district tournament,” said Courtney.

“At the provincial final trial I thought I wasn’t going to make the cut, because I was the last name they called out.

“There was a lot of talent at the trials and they ended up making three squads who represented Cape Town at the tournament.

“Our team won five of our games and lost two – which saw us finish as runners-up,” she said.

A Grade 7 pupil at Wynberg Girls’ Junior School, the all-round sportswoman is not only good on land, but also in the water.

Courtney joined the school’s swimming team in Grade 2, and her strokes in the water earned her Western Province colours for backstroke two years later.

“At the time, we were linked with Wynberg’s Manta Swimming Club and they would enter us into galas for the WP trials.

“In Grade 4, I joined the water-polo team and last year I made the Western Province under-13 team.

“In December, we finished fourth in the national tournament,” said Courtney.

“With the netball season done, I’m already doing pre-season water-polo training with the WP squad and we are preparing for the nationals which will be in Durban, later this year,” she said.

The youngster is also part of the School’s Student Representative Council (SRC), and her favorite subject is Life Orientation (LO).

“My favourite class is LO because we get to do an hour of sport at the end of the day.

“We also have a PE class which is fun.

“There we are linked up with a Grade R pupil for the year, and we have to teach them how to swim,” said Courtney.

“Next year, I’m definitely going to the netball trials again and have my eye on making the Western Cape team.

“In October, we are taking part in the Cannons Creek Independent School water-polo tournament which is always fun.

“Last year we came fourth and we are hoping to go through to the final this time,” she said.

Meanwhile, the school has had many highlights for both netball and water-polo over the years.

Vanessa Lingeveldt heads up the netball, while Gary Blakey looks after the water-polo programme.

Lingeveldt is a former Western Province and South African player, and her experience coupled with her coaching methods has been fruitful for the girls’ under-9 to under-12 teams.

Blakey initially took charge of the under-11 water-polo team in 2013, and moved up to the under-13 team the following year.

That year, the team were unbeaten at the Oakhill Open Water Chukka Festival, in Knysna, and lost only one match in the 2015 edition.