Sports Reports – 16th March 2015

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Hockey, 1st
After not having a game last week, the 1st team made the mid-week journey to Oakham to play the first of the two games they have had over the next couple of days. Ratcliffe took the initiative early on and were rewarded for their hard work by taking a deserved two-goal lead, with goals from joint Players of the Match, Carrick Anderson, and James Robinson. Oakham, however, fought back and at half-time Ratcliffe held a slender 2 – 1 lead, thanks to some gritty defending and an excellent goal line clearance from joint Player of the Match, Harry Stokes . The second-half became a very hard fought affair with both teams going in for some strong tackles. Eventually Ratcliffe did manage to battle their way through, winning the game 4 – 3, with James Robinson and Richard Ward scoring the goals.

On Saturday, the 1st team followed on from their hard fought victory against Oakham, to draw 1 – 1 with Princethorpe in another very tough fixture. Both teams started well and Ratcliffe took the lead midway through the first-half through a calm finish from Captain, Joey Higham. Both midfields were evenly matched with Player of the Match, Ben Pole, having an excellent game on the right-hand side. In the second-half, Ratcliffe had to hold firm as Princethorpe attacked looking for an equaliser. Unfortunately, the hosts did get the equaliser through a fine finish. Both teams had chances to win the game and a fine, finger-tip save from Goal Keeper, Toby Smith, in the last minute, meant Ratcliffe got the draw they deserved.

The 2nds took on a very forceful Oakham side mid-week and responded in the right way, winning 4 – 3. After taking the lead early in the first-half through Man of the Match, Seb Dewhirst, Oakham went in at the break 2 – 1 ahead. The score line, however, did not stay this way for long as the boys really found their stride in the second-half.  Further goals were scored by Louis Hurst and a brace from Seb Dewhirst who completed his hat-trick. Oakham did respond with another goal to make it a nervy last few minutes, but the 2nds got the win they deserved. Special mention must go to Paul Newton and Tom Lowe who made some very important contributions in some of the goals.

On Saturday, the 2nds had a resounding 6 – 0 win against Princethorpe. 3 – 0 up at half-time was just reward for some excellent attacking play, using the width of the pitch well. The second-half was much the same, which is to their credit as it could have been easy to ease off. The boys’ effort was outstanding and they deserved to score 3 more goals. There were excellent performances from Seb Dewhirst, Matt Lewis and Jack Matthews, but Player of the Match goes to Captain, Niall McWhir, for his desire to drive the team on. Goal scorers were Joe Jarvis, Matt Lewis, Louis Hurst, Josh Macqueen and two from Seb.

The 3rd team hosted Uppingham on Saturday in an enthralling game which ended up 4 – 3 to the visitors. In what was an improved performance, Ratcliffe were unlucky not to get an equaliser in the closing minutes. Man of the Match went to Ed Purcell for his all-round play.

The U15s were unfortunate to lose 2 – 1 in what was an excellent game of hockey. Both sides had their opportunities to win the match, and both coaches agreed after the game that a draw would have been a fair result. Princethorpe had some dangerous runners which allowed them to exert a lot of pressure in the first-half, but the Ratcliffe defence held firm and always looked dangerous on the break. Sam Bird converted excellently from the top of the D after one of those counter-attacks. Princethorpe scored early in the second-half and, despite Ratcliffe taking more control, won the game with a well-taken penalty corner with 2 minutes to go. This cannot take away from what was an excellent performance by the U15s. Matthew Ward, Sam Bird and Jack Nightingale played strongly in the middle of the pitch and, despite other good performances, were equal Players of the Match.

The U15B team lost 2 – 1 in a very even game on Saturday against Princethorpe. After conceding an early goal, Charlie Hancock responded with an excellent finish to go in level at the break. Although Ratcliffe had most of the possession in the second-half, Princethorpe scored from a late short corner to win the game. Man of the Match goes to Brad Smith for his work-rate out on the wing.

The U14 hockey team travelled to the Regional Tournament this week and, although they struggled for results, they were never outclassed. On Saturday they came up against a talented Princethorpe side and, despite playing their best hockey of the year, lost 2 – 0.

In our most exciting match to date, the U13s were edged out 1 – 0 by a strong Princethorpe side. In what was a very competitive game of hockey, our defence performed admirably when we found ourselves under pressure but unfortunately we lacked composure in front of goal after creating 4 or 5 really good chances! The boys should be very proud of their efforts, matching Princethorpe in every department and on a different day, a reversal of the score line would be just as likely. Man of the Match was Harry Culpin who pulled off a string of exquisite saves which kept us in the game.

The U13B team played out a thoroughly enjoyable 0 – 0 draw away at Princethorpe, in a game where both sides could easily have won. Ratcliffe thought they had snatched it towards the end when Ellis Gee had a great opportunity in the last minute which was beautifully saved by the Princethorpe Goal Keeper. Although they have not had many matches this year, at times it did not show. Player of the Match goes to Alex Bown, who was outstanding in midfield while the work rate of all the players was second to none.

The U12s continued their unbeaten season with a dominant performance against Princethorpe. They played outstandingly well in the first-half with Tom Page, Archie Heaney and Finley Back all scoring. Princethorpe played better in the second-half but another goal by Finley led to a final score of 4 – 0 to Ratcliffe. Krishnan Jivanji and Harry Cusack showed good composure at the back and Alex Tyszka and Owen Lloyd dominated the midfield. Finley Back and Tom Page were excellent in attack and Finley was Man of the Match for his excellent all-round game.

JAC Hockey
Well done to Owen Lloyd who represented Leicestershire in a 3 Counties Tournament on Sunday, helping Leicestershire to win all three games.

County Rugby
The U15 rugby team finally lost their unbeaten record in the County Cup semi-final. For once the forwards were outplayed and, with the set piece faltering, tries were hard to come by. The backs had probably their best game of the season with Matthew Ward and Man of the Match Harry Heaney standing out. Sadly it was not enough to carry them through.

Rory Thorne
Boys’ Sports Captain.

Netball, 1st
The 1st team have been hit by several injuries over the past few weeks but the players have risen to the challenges of positional changes. Against Princethorpe, they came back after a loss against Wellingborough mid-week, to put in an inspirational whole team performance to win 24 – 15. Player of the Match, shooter Charley Flowers, teamed up well with Holly Blount and they missed very few shots. The defenders were up against strong tactical Princethorpe shooters but Adelaide Muskwe showed her true colours, intercepting many passes. Congratulations to Olivia Back and Kate Tyszka who had 1st team debuts, fitting in well.

The 2nds faced Princethorpe at home in cold conditions. Ratcliffe had a slow start missing a couple of early shots, but Princethorpe lost their Goal Keeper late in the first-quarter, which allowed Ratcliffe to get back into the game ending the  quarter 4 – 2 down. Unfortunately, Princethorpe had no substitutes so continued with only 6 players for the second and third-quarters. Ratcliffe were able to capitalise on Princethorpe’s misfortune, utilising their spare player effectively. Both Yasmin Gill and Angharad Lloyd supported throughout the court and pressurised the opposition to make hurried passes, which were intercepted by Chloe Flowers at Centre and Mimi Lallo at Goal Attack. Ratcliffe finished the third-quarter 18 – 9 ahead. In the final-quarter Ratcliffe loaned Princethorpe a spare player to even out the sides. Ratcliffe took their foot off the gas throughout the court, allowing Princethorpe back into the game. Ratcliffe finished the final-quarter 20 – 13 winners. Players of the Match go to Mimi Lallo for her consistent shooting and defensive play, and Chloe Flowers for her calmness through court and confident ball handling skills.

Mid-week the 2nd team faced a number of challenges throughout their match on Thursday owing to a number of injuries resulting in players having playing out of position. Despite this, the girls pulled together as a team to perform the best they could. Chloe Flowers received Player of the Match for her exceptional work rate and movement around court. Her dynamic movement allowed her to put pressure on the opposition and intercept a number of passes.

Mid-week the 3rds had a tough game against an experienced and very athletic Wellingborough side. The girls had to start with six players and were always chasing the game after that. However, they battled hard and played some great netball. Charlotte Hull, who stepped in to play at shooter, made some great shots. Player of the Match goes to Laura Hayes.

On Saturday the 3rd team ended their season with an emphatic 49 – 6 win after taking control of the game in the first-quarter. Excellent shooting and interplay from Olivia Thompson and Charlotte Hull, coupled with full team cohesion, despite several substitutions, meant that Princethorpe struggled to get possession. Laura Hayes fully deserved being Player of the Match for her well-timed interceptions.

The U15s lost 27 – 21 against tough opposition, but worked really hard to raise their game. After both the first and second-quarters the score was tied, with both teams playing excellent attacking netball. In the second-half Ratcliffe struggled with fitness and so a few mistakes crept in and Princethorpe were able to turn over and convert possession to take the lead. Despite some excellent interceptions from Player of the Match, Georgia Holt, we were not able to turn over enough centre passes to steal a win.

The U14A team faced a tough Princethorpe side this weekend, losing 29 – 10. Player of the Match was Izzy Hose for her fantastic pressure in the defensive circle along with some incredible interceptions. All the girls played their hearts out and as a squad, couldn’t have played any better. When put under pressure, it was great to see that the girls remained focused and executed their game plan.

U13A & B
The U13A team lost 27 – 7 to a very well organised and athletic Stoneygate team. It was hard going for much of the game, with the girls being put through their paces. However, the girls didn’t give up and battled hard, moving and defending well. The girls learnt a few key things from this game and need to continue to build on their fitness and retention of the ball.  Player of the Match goes to Ellie Hollinshead and Players’ Player goes to Sofia Henderson.

Another tough weekend for the U13 teams, with both losing (A team 17 – 7 and B team 12 – 7). Both teams were slow to start; however, they soon stepped up their game and put in some impressive performances, but couldn’t quite claw themselves back. Player of the Match for the A team goes to Kate Woodhouse, who worked tirelessly, and Players’ Player goes to Lucy Grinham. U13B Coach’s Player goes to Elle Hall and Players’ Player to Bo Henderson.

The U12s lost 10 – 2 but played some great netball, working the ball around the court well in attack and winning some important interceptions. The score was level after the second-quarter at 2 – 2, but unfortunately Princethorpe managed to up the tempo and were eventual winners in a closely fought game. Coach’s Player goes to Annabel Mills and Players’ Player to Emily McBallantine

County Netball Tournament
The U12 girls had their County Tournament this Saturday. Having a tough group, the girls came second losing only to Loughborough High School. They played well against Welland Park and De Lisle, putting in place tactics worked on all week, in particular stages of defending. Coming second in the group meant we played winners of Group B, Oakham. A strong side meant the girls had to excel to compete with this team. The girls did more than excel and played the best match of their season to win a very close game. The girls, who were ecstatic to be in the final, remained composed as they faced Loughborough once more. They started well, leading 2 – 0; however, Loughborough’s attacking play and accurate shooting brought them back into the game. After all the girls’ effort, they couldn’t quite see off Loughborough. All 9 girls were a credit to the School, with perfect attitudes and superb effort in every match, earning every girl Player of the Match.

Cross Country
Well done to Mia Atkinson who finished 82nd, Alice Daniel who finished 32nd and Emily Hollis who finished 120th in the English Schools Cross Country Championships at the weekend.

Angharad Lloyd,
Girls’ Sports Captain.