TALENTED netball players are celebrating being crowned national champions after beating off competition from some of the best school teams in the country.

The Ripon Grammar School Under-18s brought the coveted State Boarding National Champions trophy home to North Yorkshire following victories against Gordon’s School in the semi and Cranbrook School in the final, which was held in Surrey.

Having previously come fourth in the National Schools’ Finals - when they were the top-placed state school in the country - the girls are the latest highly successful school team to reinforce RGS’s regional reputation for sporting excellence.

Netball team captain Amy Mackenzie said of her eight-strong squad’s latest victory: “It was an incredible day and we all felt tremendously proud to be bringing the trophy back to Yorkshire.”

The 18-year-old, who also plays for Leeds Athletic netball club and, along with team-mate Jess Merrin, is a member of the elite Leeds Rhinos High Performance Academy, says the whole team had to up their game in the nail-biting final against Kent-based Cranbrook School.

She said: “It was a truly awesome match, closely contested and our victory was all the sweeter for that.”

PE teacher Rachael Clark said: “All the girls, who dedicate large amounts of their time to netball, are a superbly talented squad and have fantastic versatility.”