YOUNGSTERS from Parrenthorn High School, in Prestwich, have become England Netball Under-16s national champions.

The team represented the North West at Stanborough High School in Welwyn Garden City having qualified via the Greater Manchester County round and the North West regional round.

And the squad expected a tough day at a high standard after their win two years ago at u14 level.

The team won all eight of their group games to qualify for the semi-final against Withington Girls School, also from the North West, who they had faced many times previously.

At half time it was 5-5 then, with two minutes to go, the Prestwich side were two goals down.

It looked like this was going to be the end of the road but the girls dug deep and managed to force an error and convert it into a goal.

That spurred them on and they narrowly defeated Withington 9-8 to qualify for the final against Brighton College. Brighton had been in the other group during that phase and had been consistent throughout.

But the local girls started strongly and Brighton just did not know how to respond.

Parrenthorn High eased to a 18-4 victory to win the trophy, which is 50 years old this year, and a day out to the Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July to take part in the event.

It is a fine achievement for a team whose starting seven was made up of three u16s, two u15s and two u14s – all of whom are in the Manchester Thunder Netball Coaching Pathway.

Teacher Laura Hayward, who coaches of the team, said: "The girls are a fantastic team, they work hard for each other and offer each other lots of support.

"Their team spirit and camaraderie is unquestionable and really gave us the edge on the day, over mainly fee-paying independent schools.

"It has been a pleasure to coach the girls over the last three years and we wish the Year 11 girls the best of luck in the future.

"We hope they will continue to carry on playing for many years to come."