From elite basketball to waterskiing and pole vaulting - sporting success for three Dame Allan's students

TALENTED students continue to achieve sporting success away from their studies at Dame Allan’s Schools, competing at both County and National levels. Here are some recent triumphs worth celebrating:

·         Nicholas Archbold, Year 12 -

Basketball star Nicholas Archbold, from Gateshead, who plays with the Newcastle Eagles Academy, has been selected to play in the Elite Academy Basketball League (EABL).

The EABL is the highest-level junior basketball league in the UK and Nicholas, who is 6ft 5 inches, will train at least six hours a week at the Vertu Motors Arena alongside his A-Level studies.

The EABL is part of the ‘England Development Programme’, which supports the very best young basketball players as they progress through Basketball England’s Talent Pathway from the age of 11 through to senior GB representation.

As part of his selection, 16-year-old Nicholas will also work towards a Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE), a two-year programme which provides a unique sporting qualification to support his progression.

Nicholas, who started playing basketball at the age of 12, has taken part in a number of basketball tournaments at Dame Allan’s and coached younger players at both North Tyneside and North Shields Basketball clubs.

He says: “I knew when I did my very first basketball summer camp four years ago that I wanted to play properly, initially joining the Cardinal Hornets before being selected for the Newcastle Eagles.

“I’m so happy to be part of the EABL and training for a DiSE. A lot of the other players are a year or two older, so I’m learning from their experience and improving all the time.”

·         Anna Morris, Year 13 -

Waterskiing enthusiast Anna Morris, from Alnwick, Northumberland, continues to train for future competitions having celebrated success at the 2021 British Waterski Nationals in August.

The 17-year-old, who is studying for A-Levels in History, Philosophy and Biology at Dame Allan’s Sixth Form, competed in the slalom Under 17 Girls division, where she placed 5th, and in the Women’s Open category, where she placed 12th.

Anna started slalom skiing in 2018 at Merlin Brae Waterski Club, on Kielder reservoir in Northumberland. In 2020, she started skiing at CN Watersports, at Pine Lake, in Carnforth, Lancashire.

She trains at weekends and hopes to continue to compete in the years ahead. She says: “I thoroughly enjoy waterskiing and receive amazing coaching, that helps me to continually improve.

“It's really hard to describe the feeling of waterskiing but when you hit the right rhythm it just feels amazing, like freedom.”

·         Martha Hewitt Chapple, Year 9 -

Sporty Martha Hewitt Chapple is aiming to smash her personal best in pole vault having competed throughout the summer for the Gateshead Harriers and Athletics Club.

The 13-year-old, from Gateshead, trains at the North East Pole Vault Academy, which has coached many successful athletes and UK champions including Great British pole vaulter Charlie Myers and British track and field athlete Sally Scott.

Competing in the Under 15 Girls category, Martha won the North-East Counties Athletics Championships, came second in the Northern Athletic Championships, in Hull, and represented Northumberland in the English Schools Championships, where she placed 4th.

At the end of the season, Martha increased her personal best to 2.60m at the Tartan Games athletics meeting at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Martha says: “I like that pole vault is quite different from other athletic disciplines and there is so much to learn. I’m definitely going to continue training and have set myself a goal to smash my PB and go for 3 metres.”