Pupils honoured to play at Pride Park

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Students from The Ripley Academy were rewarded for a successful season with a kickabout at Pride Park Stadium.

Students Jess Martin, who is in year nine, Minne Gaunt, Sophie Bain, Lauren Kitching and Abbey Hirst, who are all in year ten, all play for Ripley Town Football Club under-15s team.

The team was invited to play on Derby County’s pitch for three hours in recognition of their extremely successful season.

The girls won the league, playing 16 games and winning 14, losing one and drawing one. They are also the Derbyshire Girls under-15s champions and they won a prestigious cup competition.

During the season the girls have been mascots at Derby County games against Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.

Gareth Martin, who runs Ripley under-15s girls team, said playing on Derby County’s pitch was a great experience for them.

He said: “During the season they’ve had quite a lot of involvement at Derby County. They’ve walked up the players tunnel alongside the players, into the pitch to get ready for kick off. The stadium has been completely sold out on all the occasions, it’s been brilliant to see.

Jess Martin, 14, has been playing for Ripley Town for two to three years.

She said: “I’m a Derby County fan so playing on the pitch at Pride Park was great. It was really big and I kept thinking imagine what it would be like playing on it when the stadium is full.”