Carlton Academy is celebrating the success of its U15 Boys Handball team coming second out of 500 schools at the National Handball Championships England final.
This was a remarkable result, more so since the students at the academy were only introduced to the sport 18 months ago.
The competition included 500 schools from around England and culminated in a tense final between Nottinghamshire’s Carlton Academy and Rivington & Blackrod School from Bolton, who won 5-2.
Paul Lockwood, who coaches the team and is head of PE at the academy, said: “Following the introduction of the sport into the curriculum, many of the students started to enjoy playing and then many began turning up to the Thursday night handball club.
“After many weeks of practising we had a squad that we put forward into the Triac Games, which they won convincingly against Redhill School and Hall Park School.
“From there we represented the Gedling area in the School Games finals at the University of Nottingham where they played really well but narrowly lost out in the final to Rushcliffe School.”
Weeks later Mr Lockwood was contacted by England Handball and was told that the top two teams would go through to represent the Nottinghamshire schools in the Midlands finals in Birmingham.
He said: “With some amazing handball skills the team managed to get through the group stages by finishing top and played an amazing final again against Rushcliffe School.
“This time the team managed to win the game in the final moments to become the Regional Handball champions at U15 level.”
The final held of the National Handball Championships at Worcester Arena hosted the six best teams from around the country in the regional competitions from the North, South of England and the Midlands.
The Carlton Academy team lost their opening game in the school group stages against Aylesbury Grammar, but then convincingly beat Brayton School from Yorkshire 8-2.
Paul Lockwood said: “Their best performance of the day came in the semi-finals when they beat Ark Academy from London 8-5 and get through to the final.
“But after a tremendous final game, unfortunately we lost out to Rivington & Blackrod School.”
Josh Plumridge (age 14), captain of the team said: “We were a bit disappointed at not coming first but I think we still played well in the tournament as whole.
“Our teacher Mr Lockwood has taught us all of the basics and also brought in other experts to help us improve including Ricardo Vasconcelos (England Under-19s men’s handball coach).”
Team mate, Ben Brooks (15), has only been playing since September. He said: “I like the quick pace of the game and that everyone has to play a role, a real team sport. We are friends on and off the court so work well together.”
Mr Lockwood added: “I am extremely proud of the team who have played some amazing handball at the highest level this year.
“Finishing as the second best team in England is a staggering achievement and one that the students and staff will never forget.”