WICKFORD’S Bromfords School is celebrating after its under-16 boys team were crowned national handball champions.

Bromfords run the Essex team and every member of the squad attends the school.

And their head of boys PE Chris Baker, who also saw the girls team finish fifth, was delighted by the success.

“The boys become men and have achieved something that very few people or schools can boast, the title of being a national champion,” said Baker.

“I have to say this is my proudest moment in teaching the boys and girls were a real credit to the school and their county and deserve all the plaudits they will receive. “ Essex beat Devon 6-5, Nottinghamshire 12-11 and Surrey 10-7 before taking on Cheshire in the final.

Essex started the game in confident mood and raced to a 4-1 lead before being quickly pegged back to 4-4. The Bromfords boys then got a 6-4 lead before losing a little focus and Cheshire took full advantage to go 7-6 in front.

After a time-out, the boys responded brilliantly and showed great maturity in their play the last 10 minutes of this match. It was a handball master class from Essex with captain Harry Girling leading from the front to secure a 12-7 win.

Essex was one of only three counties to have boys and girls teams represented in the finals.

But their girls team is a very inexperienced squad, having four players from Year 9, two from Year 10 and four from Year 11. However, they battled really hard in their four matches and showing some great spirit, despite losing them all.

The games will hold them in good stead for the future and their upcoming competitions at their age group. Sophie Thompson also performed to such a high standard that England under-16 coach Rob Price invited her to a national training session the very next day.