Withington Girls’ School pupil Luisa Edwards, who lives in Knutsford, is celebrating after her school netball team emerged as champions in a prestigious national championship.
The Year 8 student from Mere was part of an eight-girl Withington squad who had battled their way through five qualifying rounds in the Independent Schools Netball Cup competition to secure victory in the Under-13s final against strong opponents, Brentford School. After a closely-fought match – held at Ilford, Essex – with the score at a level 24-24 into the last minute of the game, the Withington Year 8s rallied to clinch the winning goal with only 6 seconds to go.Luisa (Captain) is pictured (back row centre holding the ISNC cup)
Thirteen-year-old Luisa – who also plays netball for Cheshire, Wilmslow Lightning and Stockton Sapphires – is the U13s captain and said she was delighted to have won the championship.
Having previously attended Alderley Edge School for Girls Juniors, Luisa says she has been playing netball since Year 3 and joined the Withington Team when she moved to the WGS Senior School in Year 7.
It is the first time in the history of Withington – a school known for its outstanding academic reputation – that a team has won a national netball award, and Luisa attributes their success to excellent coaching and a rigourous training programme which, she said, had helped to build their fitness, endurance and stamina.
Luisa said, “I am so proud of the whole team’s efforts. All the training that went into this tournament beforehand and the girls’ perseverance to the very end paid off. Brentwood had the advantage as it was their home area and they had a crowd of supporters, whereas we had just a handful of spectators, but we were determined and kept our focus. We couldn’t have achieved this without our netball coach Miss Collier, the PE department and also our parents.”
PE teacher and netball coach, Alexa Collier, who accompanied the team, said the ISNC final was an extremely hard fought match with exceptional play shown from both teams. “Intense defensive play, determination and the ability to dig deep when things got tough were the qualities that helped us succeed. My fellow netball coach, Kate Orme and I are extremely proud of Luisa and the rest of the year-8 squad, they have worked really hard to achieve this prestigious award, training before school in the fitness suite, at lunchtimes and extra after-school practices to perfect all the set plays.
All the girls have been following a training plan at home too which has put them ahead of each team during the rounds. We are thrilled to have made school history too.”
Headmistress, Mrs Sue Marks, who presented Luisa with her medal during a School assembly this week, commented: “We are very proud of our U13 netball team who played their way through many rounds to the Independent Schools Netball Cup Final and won it! We are especially proud of our all of our girls’ sporting achievements throughout the years. As a small school, we have had many more sporting successes than one would expect with only about 70-80 in each year group. The commitment and spirit from these remarkable girls is a true credit to WGS.”