THE Grammar School at Leeds are celebrating a terrific national treble as part of the most successful netball season in their history.
The school is celebrating a hat-trick of national titles – the Under-16s title at the England Netball National Schools Competition, and both the Under-15s and Under-19s titles in the Independent Schools Netball Cup.
At the national finals of the 2014 England Netball National Schools Competition, GSAL was one of just two schools to have a team represented in all three age groups.
As well as the Under-16s team reclaiming the title last won by GSAL in 2012, the Under-14s and Under-19s teams finished as runners up in their tournaments.
In the Independent Schools Netball Cup, for most of the Under-19s team the 2014 national finals were their last major competitions before they leave school this summer, and they ended on a high winning the championship.
The match was a repeat of the 2013 final against Lingfield Notre Dame, with GSAL winning 39-20 to retain the title.
And the school showed that the younger teams are well on the way to emulating the success of the seniors, with the Under-15s team securing the Under-15s Independent Schools Cup title in a tense final against Guildford High School.
Drawn at 48-48, the match went to extra-time before GSAL nosed ahead to win 57-56.
Since GSAL came into being six years ago following the merger of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls’ High School, GSAL teams have chalked up 19 appearances at the finals of these two prestigious national competitions and won six titles. GSAL also has an impressive record in the Independent Schools Netball Cup, winning four titles from five final appearances since the 2010/11 season.
GSAL’s head of netball Cath Johnson beamed: “We are very proud of this team’s achievements over the years; they have played in all national finals for their age. This previous experience and their determination to succeed were crucial to their performance in these important finals.
“Interaction between the age groups is very important and our senior players are central to our training programme. They become role models to the younger team members, exemplifying the attitude, commitment and respect for one another that brings success.”
Alex Kirk, the Under-16s team’s coach, added: “It was a really long hard day for the girls, they were amazing.
“They had to be mentally tough to recover from 4-2 down at half-time to come back and win 7-6 in a very tight final match against The Fallibroome Academy.
“They have worked hard in training and have learnt that they can achieve their goals if they pull together as a team.”