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Orchard School Bristol

Congratulations to our Under 13 Boys Handball team - we are National Champions!

Published on 17/06/19

Boys take title at finals in Derby  

Our  under-13 handball squad are NATIONAL champions – a title no school from the South West has won before.  The team came out top in a competition in which 1,750 teams competed.

They took the title after a 7-6 victory in the final against Kingsford Community School, London, played at Derby Arena.

Having won the Bristol title in March, the team travelled to Paignton, Devon, in May to compete in the South West championships against the best teams from all the South West counties. Both U13 and U15 Orchard boys teams made it to the finals of this SW competition last year and narrowly lost, however this year was the first time an Orchard team were crowned U13 SW Regional Champions.

The team travelled up to Derby alongside the players’ families who brought a brilliant support base and cheered them on the whole way. Orchard started in the group stages, which saw the eight re gional winners from across England competing. The Orchard boys won one game and drew two matches, including a 5-5 result against other eventual finalists Kingsford, qualifying for the semi-finals as pool runners-up. They then beat Manchester's Middleton Tech 6-2 to reach the final.

Mr Tom Fisher, PE Teacher and coach of the team, said: “I am extremely proud of our team. This year was the first time any of our boys had played the game. We teach the sport in PE lessons, identified our strong players and then coached them at lunch times, playing against Year 9 and 10 boys to prepare them for the competitions. To be unbeaten from the Bristol competition all the way to winning the National final is a huge success and shows the determination our team has. They are a credit to both our school and to Bristol.”

Mr Fisher added: “Our performances at the Nationals were brilliant. We like to play the game fast, physical, and use all the players’ strengths to perform as a team. The players are all very good at other sports and play at club and county level in cricket, basketball, athletics, rugby and football, and we used their individual talents to perform as a very good handball team. Our goalkeeper, Nader, had an outstanding competition, making some brilliant saves in open play and in penalties. Ismail, the team’s only Year 7 player, also scored some fantastic goals and will be eligible to play in next Years U13 team. We adapted our play to suit our opposition and grew as a team as the competition went on. I can’t wait to defend our title next year!”

Assistant head teacher and coach Mr Dan Pitt introduced Handball to Orchard School five years ago and has seen the school embrace and excel at the sport in a short space of time. Mr Pitt, who worked alongside Mr Fisher coaching the team, said: “Handball is a fast, exciting and inclusive sport that has been improving year on year in Orchard School.

“Participation levels are good and the level of competition within school is very high. We have been Bristol champions in either boys or girls Handball each year since 2013, and in 2018 we narrowly lost both U13 and U15 boys South West finals after extra time. This year the U13 team have taken our school success to a new level, after not only winning the regional competition but going on to be crowned National champions.

“We are all very proud of the efforts from our students and the PE department who have supported these students, and we hope to go on and defend our title next year.”


Mason, the team captain and rugby player for Dings, said after winning the title: “It’s the happiest day of my life!”

Since introducing students to the game of Handball, Orchard School has seen two students from the class of 2018 playing for the South West Handball representative team and one has gone on to compete internationally with the England u19s.

For full results, visit here.