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School Sensations
Wednesday 22nd July 2015 @ 09:46 by Mark Phillip

The Greater Manchester Summer School games proved to be as exceptional as ever earlier this month.


Almost 2000 pupils from across Greater Manchester assembled at Sport City’s Regional Athletics Arena to take part in the prestigious competition.

A number of Tameside Schools competed on the day, including Fairfield High School for Girls, St Damien’s and Gee Cross Holy Trinity.

However, Astley Sports College took centre stage on the tournaments conclusion, placing first in the year 7,8 and 9 sitting volleyball event.

Prior to the events taking place, Henry Gallagher provided competitors with some much needed inspiration.

The 12-year-old Britain’s Got Talent sensation gave a rousing solo performance, and also made reference to the fact that he competed during the 2013 school games.

Once the festivities had come to a close, the competitors, emblazoned in their school colours, made the journey to their allotted venues.

Gee Cross Holy Trinity made the short journey by foot to the Manchester Tennis centre, where they competed in the Year three and four mini tennis competition.

Delighted in the way his pupils had performed on the afternoon was teacher, Michael Hodkinson. He told Reporter Sport: “We’re here today because we qualified during the Tameside Championship’s at New Charter Academy.

“The journey to get here has been great, and we’ve done lots of practice on Monday evenings at our tennis club.

“This is the first time we’ve been represented at the summer games which is a great achievement for us, and the pupils have put lots of hard work in during the sessions”

Michael was also impressed with the way his side had conducted themselves on the court, adding: “The players have been fabulous throughout the tournament.

“They’ve tried really hard, covered the court in each game and have been really sporting too, which is always good to see.”

Julia Dolan was equally as impressed with her pupils endeavour.

The head of PE at Fairfield High School told us: “We qualified for the Games after coming second in the Tameside event.

“It’s been really good and the kids seemed to take inspiration from the opening ceremony with Henry Gallagher.”

Unfortunately, the football and netball events were called off due to torrential rainfall throughout the day.

However, the adverse weather failed to dampen the spirits, with Julia adding: “The weather hasn’t been great, but that hasn’t deterred anyone from competing. “Inside school, we’ve just been doing all our inter form competitions for the past four weeks, so most of the pupils have already been part of teams.”

As a dedicated sporting school, Fairfield were looking to add to their glowing reputation. “We also take part in every Tameside event, and we’ve won the Tameside Olympic legacy cup again this year” Julia said.
“We won it for the first two years, but lost out to Hyde last year.

“We’ve also got a team competing today in the year 7 and 8 dodgeball tournament at the Armitage Centre.”

As a keen athlete himself, Callum Rowlinson was expecting great things from his St Thomas More pupils.
Heaping praise on the tournament, the PE teacher told us: “The competition has been brilliant, and the organisation has been fantastic.

“I do a fair bit of athletics myself, so it’s nice to see a competition with a championship structure and an opening ceremony.

“It provides kids with a platform to show off their talents, which can only be a good thing.”

Callum, who regularly competes for Sale Harriers, is certainly no stranger to the running track. “I run for Sale and do quite a lot of distance running” he said.

“I encourage pupils to come and train with Sale, and there are quite a few coaches hoping to spot some undiscovered talent at the competition today.

“I think it’s good to give pupils an opportunity to get involved with athletics, especially if it’s something they wouldn’t necessarily think of doing themselves.”

The competition coincided with the launch of the 2016 Dodgeball World Cup, which will be taking place in Manchester on the 16th and 17th April next year.

Yvonne Harrison, CEO of GreaterSport, described the Games as ‘a personal highlight’. She added: “It was fantastic to see so many schools from across Greater Manchester taking part in the Games.

“The weather did not dampen the spirits of the young people who were in full voice from the opening ceremony, throughout the day, across all sports and venues.”

While pupils are currently preparing for the summer holidays, plans are already underway for the next School Games competition, which returns to Manchester in September.