King's Netballers Ranked Amongst Best in UK

King's U14 netball team have come a superb fourth in the National Schools' Netball Finals.

Held at the picturesque Oundle School near Peterborough, the event features the crème de la crème of young British netball talent. It comprises the UK’s county and regional champions, and just qualifying alone ranked King's in the top 18 schools nationwide. However, the King’s hot shots were to prove much better than that.

Captained by the impressive Lola Bianchi, (pictured with the netball) the Year 9s were supported by young guns Anvi Lalwani, Naina Vasireddy and Eva Sheppard from Year 8 and Orla Nash Year 7.

King's started in top form, winning their group with 7 wins out of 8. However, after a hard fought, end-to-end semi-final in which neither team gave an inch, King’s lost in extra time 12 - 13 to Berkhamstead, (the eventual winners). Coach Melanie Stephens said: "Despite some determined defence and outstanding through court transition, we were only narrowly beaten."

It did, however, cap another outstanding season with King's first winning the Cheshire County Tournament with a clean sweep of six wins against The Grange, Fallibroome, Wilmslow, Bridgewater, King's Chester and Bishop Heber.

Their game was decorated by some fantastic shooting from Rose McNulty and Lottie Baxter with slick assisting from Lola Bianchi, Tilly Collins and Grace Taylor. The demon defence of Minnie Farooq and Hattie Usher negated numerous offensive plays from all opposition, to ensure the goal difference was positive.

They then played in the county rounds of The National Schools' Tournament on their home courts, winning all 6 matches, including the final against Bridgewater School. Top shooters were Lucy Atkinson, Lottie Baxter and Rose McNulty. Firm circle defenders were Minnie Farooq, Isabel Challinor and Hattie Usher with the midcourt work-horses of Lola Bianchi, Grace Taylor and Tilly Collins suffocating all comers. 

They went up to Stonyhurst for the North West regional round of National Schools. There they faced Birkenhead, St Michael's School and Cheadle Hulme in the pool round, winning 2 out of the 3 matches, ensuring they went into the semi-finals, against Withington School. The girls' inner belief and clinical play ensured the win and saw them into the finals, which ensured a place at the blue ribbon National Schools' finals.

Mel Stephens  concluded: "The girls should be very proud of their season. It bodes well for the future with, I'm sure, a lot more success to follow.”

Earlier this month, King’s under-14 boys won the National School’s Rugby tournament, meaning the Macclesfield’s School Year 9 girls' and boys’ sports teams can rightly be considered among the best in the UK. 


@JohnBaldwin Photography