CASTLE School, Taunton, has won the 2018 ‘Secondary School of the Year for Cricket’ award.

All girls at the school had the opportunity to showcase their talent to staff and a film crew from 'Chance to Shine'.

The participating girls and student volunteer coaches demonstrated phenomenal skill and ability throughout the day.

Last week saw them recognised for their hard work supporting grassroots cricket, receiving their award from England cricket legend Graham Gooch at Lord’s.

The school is incredibly proud of them, and this is testament to the hard work and dedication of the students and staff.

Russ Jones, head of PE, said: "Castle School has always had a rich tradition of cricket, having many players go through county youth ranks to senior and even national level.

"The school takes pride in having a strong cricket programme in lessons and as an extra-curricular activity, playing in various competitions and against many schools, both state and private.

"Last summer the girls U13s and U15s entered the Chance to Compete competition, which is organised through the Cricketing charity Chance to Shine.

"The school was very successful, winning both county competitions and then, representing Somerset, they won the U13 regional competition and came runners up in the U15 one.

"We were fortunate enough to be shortlisted for this competition and had a film crew come into school to interview and see the girls play cricket.

"We were invited to the annual Chance to Shine national awards at Lord's, and were delighted to be awarded the national 'Secondary School of the Year' award.

"Students, staff and the whole school were delighted with the award, which was made even better when retired England cricketer Graham Gooch presented the award and took time to speak to the girls about cricket and his experiences."

PE teacher Hannah Hughes added: "Cricket is thriving at Castle School due to having the opportunity to play in competitions like Chance to Compete, which is going from strength to strength.

"Russ Jones is a passionate coach of cricket and has developed a love of the game among our girls.

"The enthusiasm for girls cricket that has come from entering the chance to compete competitions over the past few years has opened up cricket opportunities for all abilities.

"Girls now have the chance to play either hardball or softball, indoors and out.

"We have 18 girls attending district/county trials this year, and seven of our girls went on to train or play for Somerset at U12, U13 or U15 level last season.

"[Jones] has built up close links with local club Taunton Deane, offering even more girls the opportunity to play

"Beyond all this, the unique thing about Russ and cricket at Castle is it is all-inclusive, catering for girls with learning disabilities and mainstream together, to access cricket and go on to represent their county."

Gooch said: “I’d like to congratulate the Castle School for their commitment to cricket, and it was inspiring to hear about their cricketing journey.

"Lord’s has been home to some of the great cricketing stories over the years but tonight is right up there.”

“It’s been terrific to learn about the fantastic work that’s going on around the country to make cricket accessible to children and young people.

"Chance to Shine are working exceptionally hard to give opportunities to thousands of young people every year and it’s really paying off.”