FIVE SADDLEWORTH girls formed the nucleus of the Oldham Hulme Grammar School netball team that won the National Schools’ U16 Championships.
The team of Hannah Cusack, Abbey Rogers, Ellie Clinch, Mia Robinson, Megan Kelly, Eleyna Flitcroft, Georgia Perry and Alicia Scholes triumphed in the finals hosted by Stanborough School, Welwyn Garden City.
This group is no stranger to success as it has won four national titles in consecutive years, U13 Independent Nationals, U14 National Schools, U15 Independent National Schools and U16 Nationals. They have also won numerous local and county titles.
After winning the Greater Manchester and regional competitions, Hulme represented the North West in the finals.
Hulme started in the morning beating Higham Lane School, Nuneaton, 10-9, King Edwards, Bath, 13-4 and drawing 8-8 with Quinton House, Northampton.
They hit the ground running in the afternoon beating Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex, 10-0, Newcastle High School 18-5 and Gramme School At Leeds 10-7 before suffering a 14-7 defeat to Tonbridge Grammar School, Kent, in their final group game.
However, they still qualified for the semi finals and were to meet Millfield School, Somerset, who they pipped by one goal two years ago in extra time to take the U14 title.
The semi-final was really tight and Hulme were 5-4 down at half-time, but they pulled it back and levelled and the game then went to extra time. The girls dug deep and fought for every ball luckily they managed to win it by one goal to reach the final.
Hulme met Tonbridge Grammar School in the final, the only school that they had lost to all day. However, from somewhere the Hulme girls were revitalised and took control of the game , Hulme were 4-0 up after three minutes and at half time were leading 7-1.
Tonbridge came back at Hulme in the second half, but the Hulme defence soon put a stop to that and, with some outstanding scoring from the Hulme shooters, it finished 11-6 to Hulme.
Debbie Chapman, PE teacher and netball coach, said: “This was a fantastic achievement by all the girls to be crowned National U16 Champions.
“These girls gelled as a team from year seven/eight and went from strength to strength. They have been an outstanding and inspirational team and have been an absolute pleasure to coach and they have been a credit to the school.”