FIVE pupils from Arden School in Solihull came away from the National School Championships in Milton Keynes with the top prize in the KS3 category.
Kiara Henry, Milly Evans, Mia Kirk, Tessa Franks and Katie Fagg met last year’s winners Westgate in the final inside the National Badminton Centre last month but this time they came away with their name on the trophy.
The competition started last year with 1,600 schools across the country taking part in local, county and regional rounds before progressing to the finals.
The Arden girls had not dropped a single game on their way to the finals day which stood them in good stead in the first round of matches and they were the only team not to drop a single game again as they progressed from the group stage into the final three in their quest for gold.
However, the other two teams that also progressed included 2015 champions Westgate, from Hampshire, and Chelmsford Girls High School, who narrowly beat Arden to finish fourth last time around.
Arden took on Chelmsford and took a commanding 2-0 lead with Kiara Henry winning a closely fought singles battle 21-17 and then Mia Kirk and Tessa Franks showed their skill and tenacity by out-playing the Chelmsford girls.
Milly Evans lost out in the singles against Mia Hillsden but the Arden girls rallied together to take the next to matches to claim a 4-1 win and set up a final showdown against Westgate.
Fellow England juniors Kiara Henry and Annie Lado went head-to-head with the Arden School pupil coming out on top, while Mia Kirk made it 2-0 but Westgate pulled it back to 2-2 to set of a tense final match.
But Milly Evans and Mia Kirk held their nerve to snatch the win and Arden School were crowned the new Schools National Champions.