Six months of sporting success at Gateshead College

The first half of 2017 has seen Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport continue its tradition of delivering outstanding success for its learners, with many students scooping national honours. 

The basketball team netted several noteworthy achievements, coming national runners-up in the 2016-17 Academy Basketball Championship, winning the Far North Division and being crowned North East champions of the Association of Colleges (AoC) regional competition. Ilja Fjordorovs was named in the All-First Team selected by the Academy Basketball League (ABL) to recognise and reward outstanding talent to emerge during the year, while Themba Yabantu, who showcases his talents for Newcastle Eagles, scooped the School of Excellence Player of the Year award at the club’s 2016-2017 awards night.

Meanwhile, Ian Macleod, a talented basketball coach at Gateshead College and Newcastle Eagles, landed the prestigious role of assistant coach of the Great Britain Under-18s (U18s) squad.

The men and women’s football academies also scored several notable successes, with the girls’ U18 team crowned English Schools National Champions on top of winning the Association of Colleges (AoC) seven-a-side competition. The talents of Danielle Brown, Georgia Gibson, Bridget Galloway and Louise Griffiths were recognised on the national stage, with Danielle representing England U18/U19 and Georgia, Bridget and Louise all selected to represent England Colleges.

In the men’s game, Jon Mellish gained a full time professional contract with Gateshead FC, Charlie Exley and Joel Pearson secured scholarships at Scottish Championship club Queen of the South, Iain MacLeod was selected for England Colleges and eleven students won contracts to showcase their skills on the Gateshead Football Club Scholarship Programme. There was success on the team front, too, with the men’s football side scoring a 4-2 win over FAB Academy in the English Colleges Football Association Premier League National Play-Off Final in May.   

In rugby, students Dan Lax, who plays for Ryton RFC, and Leo Heslop, who plays for Durham City RFC, were both chosen to play for Durham County Rugby U17 in the recent county championships. Academy member Aaron Harlow Stephenson, who plays for Sunderland RFC 1st XV, and James Cooney, who plays for Blaydon 1st XV, represented Durham County U20 while Larry Mew, of Ponteland RFC was chosen to represent Northumberland County at the U20 championships.

Gateshead College students also made their mark on the cricket pitch. Alasdair Appleby was called up for the Northumberland senior team, which competes in the Minor Counties League, while teenager Brogan Ashley had double success, representing Durham U17 and Northumberland seniors. Henry Malton, another promising young cricketer, made it into the Northumberland U17 team.

In golf, Will Bland was commended by his tutors for his excellent progression at the academy, while the netball team also scored some notable achievements, securing the runners-up spot in the AoC Sport North East League and the AoC Regional Tournament. The team’s success was highlighted by star performances from Katy Hutchinson and Olivia Willis, who were both selected for the AoC Sport National squad. 

Gateshead College prides itself on the quality and diligence of its experienced tutors and Julie Kimber, head netball coach, achieved the accolade of becoming the AoC Sport National head coach. It’s the latest milestone in a distinguished career for Julie, who in 2014 was inducted into the former British Colleges Sport (BCS) Hall of Fame for her services to netball.

Athletics was another sport in which several Gateshead College students excelled this year. Javelin hot-shot Yasmin Othman achieved a creditable third place in the Northern U20 Outdoor Championships last month after finishing second in the North East Outdoor Championships at Gateshead in April. 

Pole vault specialist Declan Murray secured the runner-up spot in the Northern U20 Outdoor Championships after finishing in second place in two local competitions, and also came third in the 200m sprint race in Gateshead in May. Meanwhile, David Thomas excelled in the long jump and triple jump at the Gateshead championships, leaping into second spot on both occasions. 

Gateshead College’s boxing academy also achieved some notable successes, not least teenage sensation Brodie Stephenson, who secured a place on the England Boxing Talent Pathway Programme. The scheme helps budding boxers to fulfil their potential and eventually compete on the national stage.

Liam Gumbrill, Sports Academy lead at Gateshead College, said: “It has been another year of outstanding achievement for our students. The fantastic accolades they’ve picked up in the last six months reflect their talent and hard work, coupled with the quality of coaching, learning provision and facilities available to them at Gateshead.

“Several of our students have excelled on the national stage in the first half of 2017 and I’m looking forward to reporting on even more success at the end of this year.”

Academy for Sport students work with coaches to perfect their sporting skills whilst gaining academic and coaching qualifications, all in an environment which inspires them to achieve great success. The college has academies in men’s and women’s football, athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, golf, netball and rugby. 

You can find out more about the Academy for Sport and browse avialable courses here.