Thurston Community College were the surprise winners of the Under 16 Tchoukball Uk National Youth Championships on Saturday.
The pupils joined Bury St Edmunds Tchoukball Club’s youth team Bury Wolves, who won the under 18 title for a third year in a row.
Despite having Bury player and youth international Ellie Eden in their squad, the team had limited experience in the sport, a form of handball.
The Thurston team’s experience in handball helped them out as they finished second in the seven-team league and highest under-16 team overall.
For Bury it was another unbeaten tournament, ending the day with six straight wins, captain Sam Clark lifting the trophy.
Thurston actually led the opening exchanges in the fixture against Bury, before the defensive strength of club side eventually told.
The under 16 title was decided in an enthralling match between Thurston and Rushden Academy.
Thurston raced into an early lead but were chased back by Rushden who briefly led.
For much of the match the teams were level-pegging, until Thurston edged ahead in the final few minutes, securing a 20-18 victory.
The win ensured they took home the trophy on head-to-head results, despite finishing level on points with their Northamptonshire opponents.
Bury’s head coach Ian Parker was full of praise for both teams, but especially for the Thurston players.
“Compared with previous years our players were really made to work for the title and it was great to see so many young, enthusiastic and talented players out there.
“I had no idea how good the Thurston were. Hopefully this will inspire them to take the sport more seriously and come along to our training.”
Bury train on Thursdays from 8-9pm at the Victory Ground Sports Hall, Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds.