29 Sep 2020
Sports News Autumn Term Week Three

As in all schools, the lack of fixtures has been disappointing for many and it should not be underestimated how much a large majority of our pupils miss the competition this creates in their programme. However, rather than bemoaning the loss of this opportunity, it has been exciting to see so many pupils engage with the outdoor sports on offer, without the need to fulfil a fixture card. Internal competitions in Summer and Autumn Term sports have been well received – our pupils enjoyed playing tennis, cricket and athletics in the sun and have already settled well into fives, hockey, rugby, lacrosse, sailing, dance, crossfit, swimming, cross country, badminton and squash this week.

The balance between meaningful participation and competition is always a challenge for a school sporting programme and so moving forward, it seems prudent to look at what the programme with fixtures could look like, having had to experience a very different start to the Autumn Term. Is there room for improvement in a tried and tested system that sees fixtures in rugby and hockey kick the term off in a lot of schools? For many, they may feel this should continue and for others the more bespoke approach, with less focus on the fixtures initially, might be a more attractive option.

Whichever way schools feel would work best, it would be wrong not to have a healthy discussion about what next year’s September programme will consist of for the pupils. The new programme has created new opportunities, but the excitement of fixtures returning for pupils will also be eagerly anticipated. Having been forced into a position to trial some new initiatives, I hope schools can see a way forward to find a programme that works for them and the pupils. It certainly has been good to see September cricket and tennis, but equally disappointing to be missing the rugby and hockey fixture afternoons that test those skills honed in the many practice sessions.

Our Celebration of Sport was a great success this weekend, with 16 sports being played over two days and every pupil given the opportunity to compete in at least one event and many competing in more. My personal favourite was the ‘Fittest, Fastest, Strongest’ competition – a tough event including sprinting, jumping over crash mats, and carrying tyres. We will be announcing the winning boys’ and girls’ Houses in Chapel next week. I have posted lots of pictures on my Twitter feed @DOS_Uppingham. I know it must have been difficult not seeing your children this weekend – I hope a few cheerful photos of them having fun will bring a smile to your faces.

Last week Dr Maloney announced this term’s sports captains in Chapel. We have developed some excellent leaders in the last few years and are excited by our new team of captains.

  • Sailing - Kala Davies
  • Lacrosse - Alicia Colquhoun
  • Hockey - Lucy Butterworth and Zuha Animashaun
  • Badminton - Casey Lim and Leo Liu
  • Shooting - Hugo Turnbull-Hall
  • Swimming - Marcus van Rest
  • Boys’ Squash - Alex Southern
  • Rugby - Ethan Heath-Drury

On Tuesday our 1st XI cricketers took on The Marylebone Cricket Club (The MCC) in their final match of this term. Cameron Sprott and William Marriage are developing into an excellent opening bowling pair and kept the score down to 38 in the first ten overs without being rewarded with wickets. Freddie Riddington then bowled superbly in the middle overs, posting figures of two wickets for 17 runs in eight overs to restrict the opposition to 211 all out from their 40 overs. Lower Fifth Former, Arush Buchake, opened our innings with a pleasing 65 runs but we could not quite match the MCC’s score, falling 30 runs short. The senior boys have laid the foundation for a successful season next summer. There will be lots of hard work ahead in the winter – if they train with the same energy and enthusiasm under the excellent coaching of Mr Siddall and Mr Ward, they will be very competitive.

I am delighted to announce that Alex Exton has joined us this week as our new Head of Grounds. Some of you may know Alex from his time at Witham Hall; he has produced lots of fantastic playing surfaces and we look forward to benefitting from his great expertise and experience.

We post regular sporting news and photos on Twitter @DOS_Uppingham or @Upp_Sport. Please follow us to receive regular updates.