SADDLEWORTH School’s year nine basketball team, as Oldham champions, represented the town in the finals of the Greater Manchester Schools’ Championship.
And they achieved further success by finishing third in the county event, which was delayed due to a fault with the court at Belle Vue which caused its postponement at the 11th hour.
When it was rearranged it clashed with a pre-arranged year nine national rugby tie that ruled out the team’s coach, teacher Gary Melling.
Not wanting to miss out and due to the kindness of Tim Liptrot, the Oldham schools’ competition organiser, and CJ Boaler’s dad Chris, who was stand-in coach, they were still able to compete.
The mammoth organisational task proved to be worthwhile as the team registered victories over Golborne and Co-op Salford in the group stages, only losing one group game to Wright Robinson, the eventual champions, finishing runners-up in their qualifying pool.
A narrow defeat to Stockport’s Priestnall in the semi-final meant that the team contested the bronze medal match against a strong Canon Slade side from Bolton and it was the Saddleworth that emerged triumphant with a nail-biting 17-16 victory.