Netball players at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) are hoping to repeat their successes of recent years at the England Netball National Schools Competition finals this weekend.
For the second year running GSAL has won through to the national finals of this major schools competition in all three age categories, with players from the Harrogate and Wetherby area in all three teams.
At the finals, on Saturday 18 March at Stanborough School in Welwyn Garden City, there will be 16 schools in each age group, all having come through tough regional rounds to get there.
As defending champions of both the U16 and U19 titles, the pressure will be on but the GSAL girls can take confidence from their smooth path to the finals, both teams not losing a match in the regional rounds.
The U14 team may be less experienced at this level but are up for the challenge, under the guidance of their coach Kate Nash.
Captain Georgina Pettit, a Year 9 student from Linton, said: It will be tough up against lots of good schools, but we’re really happy to be through to the finals and hope to keep up GSAL’s good record in netball. We’ve been mostly the same team since Year 7 and Mrs Nash has really helped us improve as a team.
U16 captain Molly Harris, Year 11, and many of her team competed at the finals as U14s. Molly said: We’re very excited to be through again; going in on a winning streak gives us confidence.
The U19 team is fresh from their successful defence last Friday of GSAL’s title in another national competition, the Independent Schools Netball Cup, GSAL’s fourth U19 title in that competition’s six year history.
Team captains Duresha de Zoysa and Imogen Bates, Upper Sixth, are keen to end their school netball careers on a high by retaining the England Netball schools title as well.
Duresha said: We’re glad to be back in the finals, although we haven’t lost a match in the competition this far, the regional rounds were quite tough and some teams took us by surprise.
Imogen said: We expect the finals to be intense, it’s seven other teams we haven’t seen much of so it won’t be easy. We would love to win for our last year at school though!
Back L-R: Elise Waldron-Hoines (Bramhope), Abby Hudson (Scarcroft), Claudia Stead (Kirkby Overblow), Molly Harris (Roundhay), Imogen Abrahams (Alwoodley), Lindsey Fowler (East Keswick), Isabelle Howse (Boston Spa),
Third row L-R: Nicole Dilasser (Harrogate), Ailsa Gorman (Bramhope), Gabby Aston (Alwoodley), Jessie Ducker (West Park), Georgia Pexton (Alwoodley), Savannah Dada-Mascoll (Moortown), Izzi Adamson (Sicklinghall), Aisha Nazir (Roundhay),
Second row L-R: Louise Marsden (Alwoodley), Duresha de Zoysa (Alwoodley), Imogen Bates (Farnley, Otley), Ellie Sowerby (Harrogate), Queeny Njoyo (Gipton), Evie Ramsbottom (Menston), Molly Gray (Alwoodley),
Front (L-R): Eloise Weaver (Bardsey), Sasha Bletcher (Harrogate), Katy Gannon (Alwoodley), Mrs Cath Johnson (GSAL head of netball), Georgina Pettit (Linton), Molly Dexter (Alwoodley)