Priory Belvoir Academy are making a name for themselves in the sport of handball after three of their teams climbed the podium at regional finals.
But their under 13s’ girls team went one better, reaching the national finals last weekend where they came within a whisker of a shot at the overall crown.
In March, the Bottesford school’s U13 girls and boys, and U15 girls’ teams all won their respective titles at the Leicestershire Schools Handball Championships.
As county champions, they all went through to the regional finals in May where the U13 boys finished third, and the U15 girls came second.
The U13 girls were crowned Midlands champions and qualified to represent the region in the National Schools Handball Championships, at the Derby Arena, on Sunday.
In the group stages, Priory Belvoir built a good lead only to narrowly lose the first game against Tudor Grange, Worcester.
However, the girls bounced back to win their next two games with relative ease, against Southlands School and then Sale Grammar, to clinch a semi-final place.
Belvoir came up against Bower Park, from Essex, in the last four where a close, low-scoring game looked to be slipping away from them.
But a brilliant goal in the final minute saw Belvoir equalise from 2-1 down to force five minutes of extra time.
Bower Park eventually came through by four goals to three to end the girls’ dreams of becoming national champions.
“The girls have developed so much throughout the year that they will be back to try to go one further next year,” said Priory Belvoir’s head of PE, Rich Haffenden.
“There was no fairytale ending, but they have had a great year and should be very proud of themselves.”