National call-up adds to Alex’s title delight

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A GROUP of Wearside students have helped Gateshead College to be crowned regional netball champions.

Team captain Megan Burlinson, Beth Walton and Danika Mitchell, all from Sunderland, and vice-captain Alex Rhodes, from Washington, played key roles as Gateshead’s A team topped the British Colleges Sport North East League.

Capping the season of success, Rhodes was selected for the British Colleges’ national squad and, along with team-mate Amy Gibson, won a place in Team Northumbria’s National Talent League squad.

Seventeen-year-old Rhodes, enrolled on the Level 3 Sports Studies in Team Sports course at Gateshead College, said: “It’s been a really great year for both the academy and my netball career.

“I’ve been given many great opportunities with the help of the college, without which I probably wouldn’t have been able to progress my career and get a chance to showcase my skills on the national stage.”

Gateshead enjoyed the biggest wins ever recorded in their division, including a 94-12 thrashing of Prior Pursglove College, an 88-16 mauling of Stockton Riverside College and a 75-10 demolition of Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Award-winning head coach Julie Kimber, who also coaches the British Colleges squad, said: “The team has worked really hard this year – the girls are all very professional and driven, which has led to a fantastic year all round.”

Gateshead College’s netball academy offers state-of-the-art facilities alongside expert coaching for full-time students aged 16-19. For more information on the netball academy, email julie.kimber@gateshead.ac.uk