MEMBERS of the most successful sports team in Ripon Grammar School's history are appealing for support as they prepare for major national finals.
The Under-18s hockey team's gifted players are hoping local businesses will sponsor them to help achieve their dream after winning a place in the Under-18s girls’ National Indoor Hockey Finals as north of England champions.
RGS is one of just two state schools which beat off stiff competition from some of the country’s top independent sporting schools to reach the finals of the prestigious competition in Worcestershire in January.
But in order to take part in the tough, two-day event, the school must raise nearly £2,000 - including a £375 entry fee and £1,400 for two nights’ accommodation.
Recently crowned U18s State Boarding National Champions at London’s Olympic Park stadium, the 12-strong squad is the most successful sporting team ever to have emerged from Ripon Grammar School.
They reached the National Indoor Finals once before, as Under-16s in 2017, and narrowly missed the finals last year.
The girls defeated Hymers College in a thrilling semi-final match in Bradford earlier this month, which ended in a ‘sudden death’ penalty shoot-out, with ice-cool Amelia Borchard scoring the winning goal while talented goalkeeper Marianne Morrice made a brilliant save.
Having beaten Ilkley Grammar to secure the top North seeding, the girls will now be up against tough opposition from schools including Wellington College, Repton, King’s Bruton, St Lawrence College, Millfield and Cranleigh next month.
Captain Lucy Williams said she and her committed, hard-working team-mates were keen to make history for their school in 2019: “We are so excited to have the opportunity to play against the best sporting schools in the country.
“We have all played together for seven years and now, in our final year, we want all the hard work to pay off. We want to make RGS history.”
PE teacher Siobhan Gilfillan added: “We are trying to keep the amount these students have to contribute to take part in the finals to a minimum and hope local businesses will support us to help give them a fair chance of competing against some of the top sporting schools in the country.”
Recognising the girls’ exceptional talent RGS, unusually, allocated the team a dedicated coach - Trevor Bosomworth - seven years ago. He explained how the squad has been aiming for this opportunity since the disappointment of narrowly missing out on getting to the finals as an Under-18s team last year.
“They will now need to show every bit of Yorkshire grit and determination to compete with the country’s top hockey schools, and I am confident they will do themselves and RGS proud,” he said.
Miss Gilfillan added: “It has been a real privilege to work with the girls, they are such a credit to our school. The fact they have trained together, played together and been good friends for seven years has made them gel the way they have.”
The National Finals will be held at Bromsgrove School, near Birmingham, on January 11 and 12.
*If you can help, please contact Ruth Savage at SavageR@ripongrammar.com or phone 01765 602647
Pictured: the 12-strong Under-18s RGS indoor hockey squad