Thorpe's national triumph

Pupils of Thorpe St Andrew High School put their names in the football record books when they became the inaugural winners of the English Schools' FA's Under-15 Cup for Girls.

Pupils of Thorpe St Andrew High School put their names in the football record books when they became the inaugural winners of the English Schools' FA's Under-15 Cup for Girls.

A competition which involved more than 600 schools from all over England, climaxed at the Darlington Arena - with the Thorpe girls emphatically beating Liverpool's Archbishop Beck Catholic High School 3-0.

Central midfielder Chelsea Garrett, who is just 14 and one of the few Year 9s in the squad of 14, proved the star of the day, scoring two goals in three minutes during the first half.

The first was a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area, while the second came from the penalty spot after a defender had handled in the area.


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Alice Ladbrooke completed the scoring in the second half with a strike from the edge of the area, securing Thorpe's place as national champions.

The final had proved much more comfortable than the previous two rounds. Thorpe had beaten Costessey High School 1-0 in an all-Norfolk quarter-final before winning by the same score against South Wilts Grammar School in Salisbury.

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But Simon Derrick, of the school's PE department, said the final was, in fact, more evenly matched than the scoreline suggests. "It was a very even game," he said. "We just took our chances better than they did."

Sarah Middleton, PE teacher and manager of the team, thanked the many parents who made the long trip north for their support on the day. She also praised fellow PE teacher Richard Scally for his involvement, as well the team's coach, Thorpe sixth-form student Ben Morgan.

She added that the team had greatly enjoyed the thrill of playing in a big modern stadium, as all other rounds of the competition had taken place on school pitches.

"They enjoyed the UEFA Champions League-style entrance through the tunnel and they were introduced to the VIPs and shook hands," she said.

"It was absolutely brilliant - a terrific day. The girls were brilliant from the word go, from when we left school to arriving at the ground.

"It was amazing for them to have that experience of playing in a stadium because all the previous rounds were played on school pitches. When they won they were ecstatic and so proud of themselves."

The team was helped by the school's sports college status, as well as having several players at Norwich City's Centre of Excellence.

Miss Middleton said: "They are a very strong team. Many of them play for outside clubs.

"The Liverpool team had some skilled players individually, but as a team they didn't pull together.

"From our goalkeeper and back four, through our midfield to our forwards, they are all individually talented and pulled together very well as a team."

Thorpe squad: Cassie Cushing (gk), Lisa Press, Alice Ford, Anna Larkins, Milly Wilson (capt), Flo Pollock, Chelsea Garrett, Ellen George, Jessica Nobbs, Alice Ladbroke, Charlotte Groves, Sarah Downs, Maisie Lake, Katie Grimwood.

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