A first-of-its-kind handball tournament, featuring pupils from across the Midlands, has proved a major success with nearly 100 girls taking part in the finals and a Shropshire school taking the top honours.
All the schools involved are part of the Galliers Homes Initiative, a three-year programme developed by the Shrewsbury-based house builders to support opportunities for girls to become engaged in handball.
The company and its sister business Cameron Homes are providing a record-breaking £45,000 to boost the sport and as a result the schools have received extended and consistent sessions throughout the year from coaches currently working with International teams.
Qualifying tournaments played in the West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire involving over 200 girls provided winners from each region to compete at the finals in two age groups, under 13 and under 15.
“Without the financial backing of Galliers Homes, handball would have little chance for development. The three year commitment not only provides an opportunity for schools to embed the sport into their programme but also supports three local clubs to help girls access additional coaching and competitive experience,” said England Handball Association Midlands Academy Manager Pop Popovic.
The under 15 tournament provided Newport Girls High School in Shropshire with a clear victory over Bishop Walsh of Sutton Coldfield, with Blessed Robert Sutton of Burton-on-Trent finishing third.
In a dramatic under 13 final, Newport Girls High School scored the winning goal with one minute remaining to beat Arthur Terry School of Aldridge.
“The tournament provides a great end of season opportunity for the girls to compete against other schools who are at a similar stage of development. The aim is for it to become a regular fixture in the sporting calendar for girls in the Midlands,” Pop added.