Students from Hartlepool Sixth Form College competed at the AoC Sport National Championships in Nottingham last weekend, coming home with gold and bronze medals as representatives of the NE team.
25 students, competing in Rugby, Netball and Table-Tennis, travelled to the University of Nottingham where they battled against athletes from colleges across England and Wales during the three-day event.
The Rugby Academy travelled to Nottingham as the reigning National Champions and competed against the best colleges in the country winning 7 from 8 games. This included a win over the eventual gold medallists SEEVIC College. The lads had a 100% record until the very last game of the weekend against Neath Port Talbot College, Wales. After battling back from a slow start they took the lead until the very last play of the game saw the Welsh cross the line to agonisingly win by 2 points. The upshot of this was a 3-way tie at the top and on tries scored Hartlepool Sixth Form were in bronze medal position.
Elite Sport and Academy Manager, Chris Hyndman said,
I am immensely proud of the boys and how they conducted themselves. The competition was fierce and to achieve the record they did is testament to our programme. We are disappointed not to retain our national title but being ranked 3 in the UK and beating the gold medal winners is very satisfying and further emphasises our programme amongst the best in the country. We now have a national cup semi-final in Leicester to prepare for so it straight back to training for us
The Netball Academy travelled for the second year in succession to Nationals after securing a 6th place finish at the 2016. The squad were hopeful of improving on this placing after already winning the NE Regional Performance League. After a slow start, the girls won 2 matches in succession and there were some sterling individual performances. The competition is an extremely high level with many players representing Super League Clubs. The team finished in 8th position overall.
Marie Lithgo (Head Netball Coach) said,
The girls know that some of the matches lost were there for the taking and we came away feeling that as a squad we underachieved. That said, the competition is of a very good standard and we have a young team who will have learnt a lot from the weekend. I am looking forward to next season and working with the current players and the outstanding new athletes we have coming in
Amy Webster represented Hartlepool Sixth Form College as part of the NE regional table-tennis team. After winning gold at last year’s championships in the mixed doubles, Amy was unable to defend her title due to a change in format to a team event. However, the gold medals just keep on coming, as the NE team were crowed national champions beating the SW 4-1 in the final.
I’ve had another great weekend and to pick up my second gold in 2 years is fantastic. I would like to thank the college for all the sporting and academic support I’ve had and I’m moving on the study a Sports Degree in Nottingham next year
Further success has come in Football this year, with Matthew Ridley and Guilherme Baltazar representing England at Colleges level and travelling to the FA Headquarters at St Georges Park to train along with a tournament against International teams in Italy last term.
The newly formed Basketball Academy were also regional league winners, under the guidance of Ian Hewitt who is also involved in coaching the England U15’s.
As well as individual glory, teams were aiming to accumulate points for their region and win the prestigious Wilkinson Sword trophy.
The South East became the new winners of the Wilkinson Sword trophy, wrestling the title off local rivals the South West in a highly competitive weekend.
The region - who were 2016 runners-up - finished 22 points clear of last year’s winners in second, while the West Midlands once again finished in third place, just a point behind the South West.
More than 1600 college students took part in this year’s National Championships, now in its 39th year, at a series of incredible sporting facilities including the University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village, Trent Bridge, Nottingham Wildcats Arena, Morley Hayes Golf Club, Nottingham Tennis Centre and Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The athletes competed across 13 different sports, including football, squash, hockey, basketball and cricket.
AoC Sport Managing Director Marcus Kingwell said, “What a fantastic weekend we’ve had at this year’s National Championships.
Thanks to the hard work of the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Conferences, Visit Nottinghamshire, volunteers, AoC Sport staff and, of course, the competitors, coaches and college staff, the past three days have been a resounding success.
Congratulations to all who took part, we’re already looking forward to seeing you all again next year.”
For more information on how you could be part of the Elite Sport and Academies programme at HSFC please contact the college on 01429 294444 or contact Ben Robinson via email.