The current generation of Loreto Grammar School netball players been inspired by former pupil and England netball Commonwealth Games gold medal heroine Jade Clarke to shine in borough and city wide tournaments.
With the 150 cap Jade superimposed on the picture of Loreto's Grammar School under-12 and under-14 squads, the current under 14 captain Helen Hutchinson, a creative centre court playmaker, said: “Jade and the brilliant England team have shown that England can conquer the world in netball. We all got up early to watch her come on a substitute and help guide the team to victory and we could not be more proud to come from the same school.”
Her under-12 counterpart Maise Walsh, a tough, no nonsense defender, added: “It would be wonderful if one of us at least could emulate Jade and go on to play for England.”
The senior member of the England squad, Jade first played for England in 2002 before becoming a record cap holder and a former PE teacher at Loreto Daphne Earl, remembered: “Jade went to a primary school that did not play netball. In Year 7 she played for Loreto's B team but by the age of 16 and Year 11 her dedication, application and natural talent had seen her get picked for England under-16s. She was a member of virtually every Loreto sports team, was an absolute joy to work with and could have risen to national level in athletics if she had chosen.'
Loreto's under 12 and under 14 teams both won the Manchester Catholic Schools' tournaments this year, while the under-14s lifted the Trafford title and the under-12s were runners-up.
Current Coach Alison Thomas said: “The England team showed great skill and great team spirit and we try to instil the same values in our teams at Loreto. Every one is thrilled by Jade's success.”
Pictured with captains Maise Walsh and Helen Hutchinson are from left to right: Lucia Grilo, Aisling McHale, Ana Green, Georgia O'Hagan, Sadie Keane, Amelia Smithers, Izzy Connor, Izzy Rowley. Helen McDonald, Ella May, Katie Mayers, Hope Hutchinson, Lily Murray, Sorcha McGowan Alice Smith and Emily