WOODHOUSE GROVE School are celebrating a landmark national success in cricket that has made them the toast of Yorkshire and the north of England.
In becoming English Schools national T20 competition winners, Woodhouse Grove have ended a 13-year monopoly held by the south.
Prior to this year’s tournament, the prestigious competition had been without a northern winner with private school Millfield bidding for their fifth success in 2014.
Yet their bid for a national nap hand was ended by Woodhouse Grove who under the guidance of coach Arnie Sidebottom comfortably beat the four-time champions in last weekend’s final at picturesque Arundel.
In being crowned champions, Woodhouse Grove have seen off around 300 other schools competing in the prestigious competition which is open to any school with a maximum age limit of 19.
Yorkshire Academy player Bailey Worcester, age 16, was one of the younger players on show and will be back to try and help the school retain the title in 2015.
But for now Woodhouse are content to celebrate their landmark win of 2014 with Bailey’s dad Paul beaming at such an unprecedented success.
“This is an amazing achievement as we are talking about a genuine national competition,” said Worcester.
“Hundreds of schools take part – over 300 I believe – and Woodhouse Grove are the first winners of the competition from both Yorkshire and the North of England.
“Their achievement cannot be understated, particularly given the small number of pupils they select from in comparison to most of the other schools.
“It was particularly pleasing to beat Millfield in the final as they are a public school and four-time winners. But we beat them comfortably on what was a fabulous day out as part of a fabulous achievement.
“The aim will definitely be to defend the title next year,” said Worcester. “They’ll have a lot on their plate but this team has got a really good young batch of cricketers.”
As well as Worcester’s son, Grove boast several other county players including captain fantastic Dillon Budge of Durham Academy.
He was even on international duty for Scotland this week.
Woodhouse’s Patrick Dixon is another county player for Yorkshire who have a strong influence on the side in the shape of their coach Sidebottom – dad of Tykes bowling star Ryan. “Arnie has been fantastic and Ryan himself is a regular visitor to the school to help with fundraisers and things,” said Worcester. “He often brings some of the other lads up and Richie Pyrah is another regular visitor.”
Both will have been proud of Woodhouse’s national crusade which began when they won the Yorkshire competition.
They then beat the North East winners to set up a North region final against Bolton Grammar School, which again they won. That success sent the team to Arundel to represent the North of England along with the winners from the Midlands (Bedford Grammar), South West (Millfield) and London and the South East (Tonbridge). The finals day format is identical to the county twenty20 finals day in that there are two semi-finals and then the final all on the same day.
Woodhouse beat Tonbridge by plenty in the first semi and then met perennial winners Millfield in the final and beat them even more convincingly.
“It really was an amazing achievement,” added Worcester.