Ripon’s sharp shooters courting national success

Ripon Grammar School's U14s netball team
Ripon Grammar School's U14s netball team

Young sports women have netted a place in their school’s history books by winning a place in a national final.

The U14 netball team from Ripon Grammar School already have the honour of being the first squad to make it through the area, county and regional rounds of the competition as either winners or runners-up.

Now they, along with The Grammar School at Leeds, will represent Yorkshire in the national finals at Ellesmere Port on March 14.

Tense tournaments that started in September saw the girls first qualify for the county competition as runners-up by one goal to Harrogate Ladies’ College in the Harrogate and Craven area round.

The team, coached by teacher Helen Mackenzie, went on to win the county round, which took them to the regional finals as the top team in North Yorkshire.

To mark the occasion, Ripon Grammar School Parents’ Association bought the girls new netball dresses and shorts for the tournament at Rotherham, in which they came second to Leeds with the top two teams going through to the national finals.

“We’ve never got past the county round before so to come out as champions was just amazing,” said Mrs Mackenzie.

“The girls looked gorgeous in their new kit at the regionals and they lost only one game, drew another and won all the rest. I knew on a good day we could get beyond the regionals so to have it confirmed with a place in the national finals is fantastic, not just for the girls but also their parents who are really supportive.

“Having got this far we’re aiming to show what we’re really capable of in the finals. All the age categories at last year’s national finals were won by a Yorkshire team, which confirms Yorkshire as a really strong region for netball.”

Mrs Mackenzie added that the girls and coaches were extremely grateful for the sponsorship of ten team hoodies from Amelia’s father Graeme Borchard, of Ripon Interiors.

The team comprises of Molly Reed, 14, Katie Reed, 12, Emily Reed, 14, Amy Mackenzie, 14, all of Ripon, Lucy Williams, 14, of Wetherby, Sophie Richardson, 14, of Hutton Conyers, Amelia Borchard, 14, of Ripon, and captain Jessica Merrin, 13, of Kirkby Malzeard.