26 Nov 2019
Sports News Autumn Term Week Eleven

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It has been another very busy and successful week for Uppingham Sport, with reports from ten different sports.

This Saturday sees our last set of fixtures for this term. I am looking forward to watching some girls’ hockey and rugby on The Middle – if any parents are planning to watch on Saturday, I will be in the pavilion at 1.15pm and would be delighted to meet you and answer any questions you may have about Uppingham Sport.

Girls’ Hockey

Our U14As continued their fantastic season at their regional finals on Friday. Having qualified via the county and zonal finals, they were now up against the best schools in The Midlands. Goals from Poppy Wraith and India Wyatt got us off to a great start against Denstone College. In our next game, we dominated possession and territory but could not score against a very good Trent College ​goalkeeper. We defeated Solihull School to top our group, playing some slick hockey with goals from Tallulah Lascelles, an amazing reverse stick finish from Amelia Wordie and a brace from India Wyatt. In the semi-final, we were drawn against perennial national champions, Repton School - with chances for both teams, Repton converted one of theirs to win 1-0. The girls should all be very proud of themselves, having improved so much over the season. We lost 0-6 to Repton in September; the future looks very bright if they are prepared to continue working hard over the next few years.

On Saturday, our girls took on Rugby School in a block fixture. Our 1st and 2nd XIs both lost 1-3, with Lucy Butterworth scoring in the 1st XI match and Anya Batty netting for our 2nd XI - there were also outstanding performances from Zuha Animashaun in goal, and Eliza Stanley. In the 3rd XI fixture, we played without a goalkeeper but only conceded one goal in a 3-1 victory. Our 4th XI performed brilliantly, with a superb effort from the whole squad. Two early goals from Rosie Banbury and Gina Wilson put us ahead, before a gritty defensive display kept Rugby at bay. Our U16As won 2-0 and our U16Bs won by a single goal with only ten players. Their attitude and work rate were superb, with Benazir Zhetpisbay outstanding in goal and Martha Greenall awarded player of the match. Our U15As put on a fantastic display, with goals from Poppy Wraith, Kelly Smit and two from Georgina Luckin. Eliza Sexton was flawless in midfield and Elisabeth Dewar bossed the game in defence. Our U15Bs continued their unbeaten season with a comprehensive display, whilst our U15Cs played out a 2-2 draw against strong opposition. After their exertions on Friday, our U14As still played with great energy, pounding the Rugby goal in the last 15 minutes, before converting a penalty corner with just 38 seconds to spare. Our U14Bs fought back from a goal down at half time, with two second half goals – Charlotte Bingham was unbelievable, hassling the Rugby midfield at every opportunity. Mr Simmons noted that our U14Cs were the best he had seen - goals from Hattie Medhurst, Gracie Parker, Lola Shand Kydd and Jemima Peel securing victory. I really enjoyed watching out U14Ds in the last game of the day on The Sunley - most of these girls had never played hockey before joining Uppingham, but demonstrated great skill and tactical awareness.

With lots of excellent girls’ hockey performances this term we are currently top of the Independent Schools Hockey League

Rugby

On Saturday, our teams took on St. Edward’s School, Oxford (Teddies) in some exciting fixtures. Our rugby has grown from strength to strength over the last few years; a lot of that success can be put down to our incredible Upper Sixth, who played their last home match on Saturday. For two years they have worked tirelessly on their culture, conditioning and rugby ability, and their efforts have been richly rewarded. They finish their two-year Uppingham 1st XV careers undefeated at home. It is not just the record that is impressive, but also the way they have gone about their business. Yes, a fortress it has been, but one filled with exciting, creative and at times fearless rugby; a more detailed report can be found on our sports website. Our 3rd XV won their first game of the season, with some fantastic tries on a very muddy Middle. Our 2nd XV also won to complete the senior teams’ clean sweep. With U16’s Fergus Makepeace and Harry Alderson making their debuts for our 1st XV, it was an opportunity for the wider U16 squad to show their skills in a competitive 12-12 draw. Our U15As were disappointed not to turn their pressure into points, with the game in the balance before two late tries from Teddies took the game away from them. Our U15Bs put in a brave performance, with an excellent defensive display to keep the opposition out in the second half. An injury ravaged U15Cs took on Teddies with 11 players, where Richard Leppin played a starring role. Our U14s have had a tough season coming up against bigger, stronger boys but have performed with great heart every week. On Saturday, our U14As fielded four boys who had not played rugby before they joined Uppingham; Nathan Choi was the pick of the bunch, with some superb tackling. In the U14B’s game, Arthur Clark and Charlie Thompson lead the tackle count and our U14Cs put in a particularly gutsy display, losing out by a single try away in Oxford.

On Sunday afternoon, the boys from West Deyne played seven hours of rugby sevens, to raise money for their multisport area. Matches were played against staff, fathers, boys’ and girls’ houses – the weather was kind, lots of fun was had, and hopefully, lots of money was raised.

Badminton

Both our 1st and 2nd VIs Mixed beat Oakham School convincingly on Tuesday, and on Saturday enjoyed a fixture against Rugby School.

Squash

Our girls’ and boys’ 1st and 2nd Vs, both had tough matches against Oakham School on Tuesday. Meg Sellers, playing at number one, had a superb match against the Oakham top seed and nearly took the first game. Rosie Charlton enjoyed a thrilling five-setter match, just losing in the final game. Isla Campbell, playing her debut match for the squad as number one in the 2nd V, played a very intelligent game and outwitted her younger opponent, winning the match on a tie-break. Chiara Comport also deserves a mention for playing two consecutive matches, when one of our girls was injured.

Swimming

We had a gala against Rugby School on Saturday. After a close start, we managed to pull away after some excellent relay performances. Special mention to Ella Beighton, who jumped in at the last minute, and to ‘Fishes of the Fixture’, Elizabeth Manley and Marcus van Rest.

Lacrosse

Our 1st and 2nd XII played their best lacrosse of the year, at the Abbot’s Hill tournament on Saturday against much more challenging opposition than normal. Our 1st XII narrowly lost matches against North London Collegiate School, Dunottar School, and St Catherine’s School. Our 2nd XII opened the tournament with a decisive 4-0 win over The King’s School, Canterbury, before losing two close back-and-forth games to North London Collegiate and St Catherine’s. Imogen Curtis, in particular, showed great leadership of our 2nd XII, both on and off the pitch.

On Sunday afternoon our boys’ rugby team took on our lacrosse girls on a very muddy Middle. The match was played in great spirit, with the athleticism and speed of the boys pitched against the lacrosse skills of our girls.

Basketball

Our 1st V had their first match of the season against an excellent Stamford School side. Giles Hall defended well throughout the match, with Rahim Abdullayev and Terence Yu excelling in attack.

Fives

Our annual Scholars and Rogues tournament was held on Sunday afternoon, with pupils paired up with a member of staff. This year took a different format, with it being a round robin and the pair with the most amount of points winning. From the start, it was obvious that there were two clear favourites; Mr Barnes partnering Barnaby Shand and Miss Stevens partnering Charles Lloyd-Jones. Lo and behold, come the final round of matches, both had won all their games and so they faced one another to see who might conquer! It was a nail-biting final, with the score at 9-7 (first to 12) at one stage, before Miss Stevens and Charles came through to win this year’s tournament. It was an excellent afternoon of fives and much fun was had by all.

Tennis

Our head of tennis, Mr Surtees, has been encouraging our pupils to get some coaching qualifications this term. On Friday afternoon, our pupils coached children from Leighfield Primary School, before completing their award on Sunday afternoon. I am very pleased and proud to say, we now have 16 newly qualified LTA Level 1 tennis coaches.

Netball

On Friday, six Uppingham staff members (Mr De Luca, Mr Siddall, Mr Morris, Miss Paxman, Mrs Knaggs and me) took part in a coaching day with Karen Greig (Manchester Thunder and England U21 coach). It was fantastic to get some top tips from the coach of last year’s Superleague champions – we are all looking forward to next term’s netball season. After the course, Karen very kindly took several of our best netballers for a coaching session in our sports hall.

Results, fixtures and some more detailed match reports can be found on our sports website and regular sports updates are detailed on my Twitter page or the Uppingham Sport Twitter page

Best wishes

Chris Dossett