04 Feb 2020
Sports News Spring Term Week Four

I have been collaborating with Directors of Sport from Stamford, Oundle, Stowe, Rugby, Bromsgrove, Repton, Trent and Oakham Schools, to centralise our fixtures from September 2020. Where possible, we will play a range of sports against the same school on ‘Super Saturdays’. Ultimately, our objective is to enhance competition between schools, but it will also help our Heads of Sport to put together a challenging fixture list, with ever shifting term dates and various Leave-out weekends. Parents will have the opportunity to see more than one of their children play on a Saturday if they are at the same venue and hopefully it will create an exciting whole school experience.

We have also agreed to collaborate so that matches are competitive – we will try to match playing standards, put restrictions on maximum scores, encourage players to change positions, add constraints to challenge players and officiate sympathetically to enhance the likelihood of a positive experience. Within schools, there is now a more general recognition than ever before that a heavy score-line is not the proxy of school superiority, but a failure on behalf of the teachers involved.

Central to this is a recognition that competition is improved by competitiveness. That contests where the outcome is uncertain, where players are free from adult-imposed performance pressure, and the tone of the occasion is positive, produce the conditions for great games. More than any other time in history, schools are recognising that both sides benefit when the experience is positive. By collaborating to ensure that more games meet the criteria of being competitive, the quality of the experience is elevated to sit alongside the result. It is a subtle, but important, shift from a zero-sum contest to a positive sum game.

Football

Our boys’ and girls’ teams have both had busy weeks with two fixtures. Our boys’ 1st XI played well in testing conditions on The Middle against The Peterborough School in midweek, before losing out in a close game against Wellbeck College on Saturday. Our boys’ 2nd XI also played wel,l scoring four goals against Welbeck. Our girls 1st XI took on Loughborough Grammar School in the National Cup on Thursday, in the proverbial game of two halves. With the wind at their backs, our girls turned around a goal up at half time but struggled to get out of their own territory in the second period, such was the ferocity of the wind. Loughborough played the conditions well and scored a couple of long-range wind assisted goals. On Saturday, it was great to see two girls’ teams play away at Oundle School in two close matches.

Netball

We had some fantastic matches against Oundle School on Saturday afternoon. Our senior teams were on great form at home, with our 1st VII leading the way again. With some slick play in attack and great energy in defence, we made life very difficult for our opponents. Lucy Butterworth was named Player of the Match for some fantastic shooting in difficult conditions. Our 2nd VII rotated positions to ensure a competitive fixture and played positively with some crisp short passing. Frances Rinfret is improving every week and Breanna Tye was Player of the Match. Our 4th VII were on fantastic form, in football terms - Mr Siddall said it was like watching Brazil at their best! Our U16A’s defence worked their socks off in a tight game, with lots of good patterns of play and good shooting in testing conditions. Our U15As were outplayed by a superb Oundle side, but you could not fault the work rate, commitment or mental attitude of our girls – they were still making turnovers in the dying seconds of the game. Our U15Bs had a very close game; they did not stop working, with great support from those that were off court each quarter. Katie Smith was named Player of the Match for her excellent feeding into the circle and incredible work ethic in defence. We had six U14 teams playing away at Oundle, with every girl in the year group selected to play. The U14A’s game was an end-to-end affair, with the lead changing hands regularly. Isabella Best was named Player of the Match, Jessica Martin and Isabella Spokes worked remorselessly in the defensive circle and Daisy Dewhirst and Lulu Leetham nailed some impressive long-range goals, to see us home by a single goal. Charlotte Bingham was Player of the Match in the U14B’s game, with lots of tips and interceptions. Our U14Cs were outplayed in the first quarter and could not quite recover despite a valiant comeback; Elizabeth Simpson, Holly Jarvis and Matilda McKay all worked hard, forcing several turnovers. Our U14Ds drew 10-10, with Charlotte Munro Player of the Match (she also ran in the county cross-country championships in the morning along with Alice Norrie and Jemima May). In the U14Es, Matilda Parsonson was named Player of the Match for the second time this year; Scarlett Simmonds also worked well at goalkeeper. Our U14Fs were buzzing after their first win of the season, with great shooting from Anouk Salomons and excellent defensive work from Una Ding, Yutong Su and Shen Shen.

Lacrosse

After being caught off-guard by a strong attack from Abbot's Hill, our girls demonstrated great resilience to stay in the game and keep the score close.

Hockey

Our boys had some exciting matches against Oundle School on Saturday, with the result of most matches still in doubt in the last 10 minutes. Our 1st XI however, enjoyed a comprehensive victory, with an outstanding second half performance. With some free-flowing, creative attacking play, we scored some fabulous goals, with Barney Plant, Ethan Hodgson, Archie Hogan and Charlie Hurd all contributing. Our 2nd and 3rd XIs also enjoyed themselves, scoring lots of goals; Edward Burkitt, Max Richardson and Hans Mehta scored for our 2nd XI and William Stothard was named Player of the Match in our 3rd XI. Both U16 games were very close; with a single goal victory for the U16As and a 0-0 thriller in the U16B’s game. Our U15As won with the last touch of the game; Justin Hao providing the vital touch. Our U15Bs went three goals down early in their match but did well to edge the second half 1-0. Our U15Cs recorded another close victory, involving a flurry of goals in the last few minutes - Henry Scott, Barnie Gawthorpe and Alexander Stothard scoring, in a team with a quality attitude demonstrating great endeavour. Thomas Samworth was on fine form in goal for our U14As, with Sam Bateman having another strong performance. Our U14Bs had lots of chances but could not quite convert in a frustrating afternoon. Jack Goes was our star man in a one goal defeat for our U14Cs and our U14Ds played out an excellent 1-1 draw.

Fives

Our fives team enjoyed their annual fixture against The Jesters on Saturday. We mixed up pairings, so there was no final result; there was some great fives played and The Jesters thoroughly enjoyed their day.

Swimming

We had a successful gala with Loughborough Grammar School on Tuesday, with strong performances and personal bests across the field. The outstanding performer was Joss Moore – winning comfortably in the 50m freestyle. Joss has had a consistent improvement to his 50m Freestyle – so far this year, he has improved his personal best from 27.36 to 25.75. Fish of the Fixture, Poppy Cross, also swam strongly, after being asked to step up and swim in the mixed U16 races. She set two personal bests and performed strongly in relays. Kit Moore also had an outstanding showing, with another two personal bests, smashing his 50m breaststroke by two seconds!

Basketball

We had a very competitive fixture against Oundle School on Thursday, with lots of energy everywhere on the court, to come back from behind in the final quarter of the match and win by a single point.

Badminton

Our teams had two very exciting matches against Bedford and Stowe Schools this week.

Cross-Country

For several of our cross-country runners, this Saturday saw them tackle a County Championship and a League race in the same day. After some incredible running, Amelie Goetz was crowned Leicestershire and Rutland County Champion and will be joined at National Finals by Freya Radford, who also ran superbly to achieve her second National Final in two years. Together with Anya Batty and Jemima Myles, the senior girls’ team was crowned County Champions. Amelie and Anya ran again in the afternoon with the rest of the team, and despite instructions to relax, they executed an excellent first and second place, withTabitha Todd also impressing on her debut. The senior boys also doubled up with Alexander Cumming, Bertie Tweed and Thomas Green, finishing as team silver medallists at the County Championships. After a thrilling finish, Bertie will also be heading to the Nationals for the second year. The afternoon’s league race saw some tired legs but great racing, with Walter Weatherall leading the boys home, and gritty performances from Billy Brooks and Ned Hercock.

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