Having won their county heat in November, Priory Ruskin Academy girls’ team took part in the English Schools National tournament at the weekend – the first from the school to do so.
They were among 292 teams competing in eight Zone Finals in venues across the country. Priory Ruskin girls played at The Meres against other county-winning teams from Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The team quickly realised they needed each and every set as the girls toughed it out against a Market Bosworth school. With numerous five-setters in their eight matches against the Leicestershire team, the end result was a 4-4 draw.
Both teams realised a draw could see them each get nudged into second and third places if another school had a better start.
The situation united the Priory team of Stefi Popa, Lucy Bridle, Hannah Latter and Megan, who rallied together with school coaches and staff, determined to get the most value of every match in case the final, winning and qualifying decision came down to a countback on sets won and lost.
The other schools experienced the Priory girls on a mission and were beaten 8-0 and 7-1.
As it happened, the Market Bosworth school did the same thing and the final decision to separate the two teams was still made on set countback, which decided that the U13 Girls’ Zone Final winners were the Priory Ruskin Academy.
The team are the first Priory table tennis team from the school to qualify into the next stage, which are to be played in Grantham on February 4.
A valiant effort and just reward for coaches, the school and its budding team.