Suffolk breaks tchoukball ground

WESTBOURNE Sports College won Suffolk's first ever inter-school tchoukball match in dramatic fashion last week as the fast-paced handball sport continues to grow in popularity.

WESTBOURNE Sports College won Suffolk's first ever inter-school tchoukball match in dramatic fashion last week as the fast-paced handball sport continues to grow in popularity.

The end-to-end indoor sport - which sees nine-a-side teams try to score points by rebounding the ball off of a small trampoline and onto the floor - is massive in Taiwan, Switzerland and Brazil.

And now it is taking the county of Suffolk by storm following the success of the 'New Year, New Sport' initiative which was launched in October last year.

The scheme is the brain child of Great Britain player Andrew St Ledger who is convinced that the sport and its format holds a number of benefits for schools.


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Over the past year he, along with other GB internationals, have been touring the eastern region to train school teachers in the sport. They have then been going back to their schools and running extra curricular classes in the sport and, in some cases, even introducing it to the PE curriculum.

The first real fruition of that work came to a head last Thursday when Ipswich-based school Westbourne hosted Bury St Edmunds' King Edwards VI School.

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In a close match, consisting of three periods of 10 minutes each, the teams matched each other point for point before Westbourne clinched the victory in virtually the last second of the game.

St Ledger, project manager for New Year, New Sport, said: “Bearing in mind that both schools have not been playing that long I think it is fair to say that not many expected it to be much of a match - but it was phenomenal.

“Everyone walked away really enthused and it has proved a really positive step forward for the project.

“The ultimate aim is that all the schools start integrating tchoukball into their curriculum and organising inter-school matches and tournaments.”

Tchoukball is seen as the ideal sport for schools as it is played in a standard sports hall, a match can be played within a typical one hour PE lesson, while the non-contact nature means that both boys and girls can at the same time.

It is also hoped that the unique nature of tchoukball will attract pupils that previously would not have regarded themselves as sporty.

King Edwards VI teacher Mike Harman said: “The school has really taken tchoukball by the scruff of the neck and everyone has really taken to it.

“It's a sport that everyone can play and the prime example was last week's game where it was the first time a number of our pupils had represented the school in any sport.

“At the moment it's an extra curricular activity, but there are plans to introduce it to the curriculum further down the line.”

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