TOP rugby, netball and hockey-playing students from a school with a reputation for sporting success are appealing for support from their local community.

Ripon Grammar School’s sporting stars – who have competed at the highest levels, winning a series of prestigious national and regional titles – are keen to get back in the game after lockdown, but desperately need some new team kits.

Currently preparing for competitive matches starting again in September, by the time they take to the pitches they will have missed out on more than a year-and-a-half of the usual fixtures.

RGS director of sport Adam Milner said students were excited to be returning after missing out on so much: “It would mean the world to them to have local community support behind them.

“When students put on their smart new team kit, bearing the RGS crest, and they’re proud to feel a part of something big, that is so important. It really will make a difference.”

Rugby player Felix Lees, 14, told how he and his teammates were looking forward to getting back to playing matches: “I miss the atmosphere in the changing rooms before and after a match, and that much sort-after place in the back of the bus after winning a game.”

Sixth form student Poppy Lawson, 17, agreed: “I miss the feeling of winning, celebrating with my team-mates and the thrill of playing hockey.”

“For those companies who sponsor us, the reach is huge,” added Mr Milner. “We usually play more than 300 local, regional and national matches each year.”

Now that cricket and some athletics were beginning to start up again, he said there was lots in the diary for the next academic year: “Competitive sports are such a huge part of many of our students and their families’ lives. We’re ready to return to a full sporting calendar in September and hope to come back with a bang.”

Sport is hugely important to students’ development, added Mr Milner: “It provides a valuable opportunity to build friendships and keep fit and healthy.

“And it’s not all about winning or losing. The personal challenges, leadership opportunities, teamwork, camaraderie and the fun element of taking part in sport is a really important part of it.”

*Anyone interested in sponsoring a Ripon Grammar School team should contact Mr Milner on MilnerA@ripongrammar.com. Team kits for netball, hockey and rugby teams cost between £540 and £920.