25 January 2024
Petra Critchley, a Year 7 pupil from Bolton School Girls’ Division, has been nominated for the ENG Junior and Netball Player of the Year Awards 2023. Petra plays Goal Attack or Goal Shooter for Kingsway Power Netball Club, Manchester Thunder, Lancashire County Netball and Bolton School.
Petra has had a particularly strong 2023. In June, she helped the U11 Kingsway Power Netball Club become national champions at a tournament in Essex. She was awarded ‘Player of the Tournament’ for her team and then overall ‘Player of the Tournament’, having scored 48 goals.
Petra’s school netball coach, Miss Andrea Donaghy, said: ‘Petra is an incredibly versatile and talented netball player and since September, she has been a fantastic addition to the Year 7 Squad. She leads by example and constantly encourages her peers during PE lessons and squad practices. We are looking forward to seeing how her netball journey progresses over the next few years and we wish her the best of luck in the ENG Junior Netball Player of the Year Award 2023.’
Her former Junior School Netball Coach, Mrs Julia Marsden, also heaped praise on her: ‘From the moment Petra stepped into Bolton School, it was evident that her dedication and natural athleticism set her apart. Petra possessed an innate ability to grasp techniques with remarkable ease, turning every netball session into a showcase of her prowess. What truly set her apart, however, was her unwavering commitment to improvement. Petra approached every lesson with a hunger for knowledge and an eagerness to refine her skills. As her coach, witnessing her evolve into a seasoned and accomplished netballer, was not only professionally fulfilling but also a testament to the incredible results that passion and hard work can yield.’
Mrs Carol Laverick, her former Headteacher at Junior School, agreed: ‘Petra was very talented and very dedicated. I recall at one point she had to shoot 200 goals per day and she would video herself doing this as proof that she had done it! What’s more, she was also a fantastic team player and a real sportswoman.’
Petra first started playing netball in 2017 at age 6, inspired by her elder sister Pippa’s passion for the sport. Now at the age of 12 years, she trains an intense 6 days per week between her school team, Kingsway Power, Lancashire U13s’ Netball and Manchester Thunder. Most of her weekends are taken up with matches across these various teams.
Petra’s mother, Rachel Critchley, said: ‘As parents, we could not be more proud of how focused and driven she is to achieve excellence in her chosen sport of netball. Petra balances her athletic commitments incredibly well alongside academics and pours absolute dedication into every match.’
Petra’s ambitious long-term goal is to someday represent the England netball team, hopefully by the time netball joins the Olympic line-up!
Petra’s fellow nominees play for Leeds Athletic, Sutton Town and Shan Netball Club. Voting will be taking place until 31 January.
ENG Sports UK was created in November 2018 to help encourage more competition in sports.