Sports Reports – 1st December 2014

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Rugby, 1st XV
The 1st XV, disappointingly, lost 13 – 15 to a spirited Wrekin College side. Tries by George Clayton and Charlie Pickering along with a penalty by Will Harkness ensured a close contest. Missed chances and opportunities by the home side were to cost the boys dearly, given that much of the possession was in their favour. Seb Dewhirst was Man of the Match.

The U15s completed the rare feat of an unbeaten regular season as they produced a superb second-half display to defeat Wrekin and make it 11 wins from 11. A sluggish first-half saw only a 10-point lead established with tries from Jack Nightingale and Harrison Grimmett. In the second-half the team came alive, scoring tries at will as a result of some excellent off-loading with Harrison, Philip Gyesi-Appiah, John Sommerville and Daniyal Omarov all touching down in a 48 – 0 victory. Men of the Match were Harrison and John. The whole team should be commended for the achievements this term and should look forward with confidence to the County Cup.

The U14s beat Wrekin 40 – 5 in a scrappy encounter. The centre partnership of Henry Wells and Rory Stoker once again caused the opposition trouble, with both boys scoring two tries apiece. James Berns had another impressive game, scoring an excellent long range try. Bishnu Thapa was the other Ratcliffe try scorer. Thanks must also go to those players who helped out the opposition. Man of the Match was Luke Chilton for his direct running and work at the breakdown.

British Show Jumping National Amateur Championships at Aintree
Over the first 6 months of 2014 thousands of riders took part in the first round qualifying competitions for the British Show Jumping National Amateur series. From each qualifier the first six horses and rider combinations went forward to around 14 second round qualifier competitions around the country, each one trying to secure a top 12 position and a highly coveted place at the Championships held at Aintree Racecourse in November.

The National Championships duly arrived and Carrick Anderson, Year 12, had ridden well enough to earn his place with two horses amongst the best 150 amateur horse and rider combinations in the country. The setting could not have been more atmospheric! Horses were stabled in the famous Grand National stables, and one of Carrick’s horses had the stable belonging to the 2014 winner – could this be a good omen!? To get to the arena, horses had to pass along the front of the famous Grandstand, and the atmosphere in the indoor arena itself was electric – it all came down to this after a year of competition!!

The final championship competition tests consistency of performance with riders needing to secure either two clear rounds over two competition days or a top 25 finish on one of the days to qualify for the Grand Prix on the final Sunday. Trying to balance study and sport, Carrick chose to only compete in the second day aiming for two of the top 25 places – meaning a fast clear round was required – the pressure was on! Despite this being the first time Carrick and his horses had competed at this level, they kept their cool and delivered the fast clear rounds required to secure a place along with the other top 50 in the Grand Prix final.

Sunday dawned cool and bright. Carrick was drawn 12th and 53rdout of 54 riders – not a bad draw! Another clear round was required before the final riders competed against the clock where the winner would be crowned the amateur champion 2014. Once again the two horses produced excellent clear rounds and made it into the final 25 for a jump-off against the clock. Carrick set off at a blistering pace with his first horse and was well in touch with the leading time before just tapping the back pole of the last fence and down it came. This was the difference between finishing 4th and 14th overall. So, onto the second ride, and this time Carrick and Dallas put in an excellent fast clear round, only 2 seconds behind the lead, securing an amazing 8th place overall.

Hockey, 1st XI
The 1st XI lost against Wellingborough mid-week who were Midland Champions. The girls deserve credit as this was a very tough game and they never gave up. Players of the Match go to Imogen Power and Millie Ellis who worked hard in defence, as did Angharad Lloyd who led by example. Players’ Player went jointly to Angharad Lloyd and Millie Ellis.

On Saturday they lost 2 – 0, although they had most of the possession in the first-half. Ratcliffe work hard in the second-half but struggled to create scoring opportunities against a strong defence. Players’ Player goes jointly to Olivia Back and Millie Ellis and Coaches’ Player to Sibella Chew.

2nd XI
The 2nd XI drew 1 – 1 with Wellingborough mid-week. In a game played in near darkness owing to floodlight failure, it took the girls a while to get settled, conceding a goal in the first few minutes. They gradually fought their way back into the game through determined tackling and running. It was no surprise that in the middle of the second-half, Ratcliffe equalised through Greta McKean after some good build-up play. There were some strong performances all over the field especially from Joint Players of the Match Olivia Armon and Greta McKean, while Megan Vincent was Players’ Player.

The 2nd XI finished their season on Saturday in the same way as they started it with a win. After a busy week and another long trip, the girls started a lot better than mid-week. Against a well matched Northampton side Megan Gray, Mia Mordecai-Smith and Greta McKean were causing all sorts of problems for the home defence. This pressure led to a goal by Megan to which we could have added before the end. Unfortunately, a second never came, but with some excellent defending from Katie Winston, Yasmin Gill and Captain Georgia Chilton, Northampton could not force an equaliser. Player of the Match went to Phobe Allen who had an outstanding game on the left, playing some inviting balls into the forwards. Players’ Player was Katie Winston.

3rd XI
The 3rds played their last game of the season against Worksop and left their best for last in a 4 – 0 win. In a lovely spirited game, Ratcliffe had a large percentage of the possession and territory, but Worksop looked dangerous on the break as the game went on. Ratcliffe opened the scoring through Player of the Match Clover Jelly who never stopped running from start to finish, followed by a good finish from Chloe Flowers from the top of the circle. Rosie Jones then added a couple of her own in the second-half to ensure victory. This was the perfect way to end the season for a great group of girls who work well as a team. Special mention to Lauren White and Louisa Cooper as this will possibly be their last game of hockey for the School. Well done.

The U15s never got going into their latest away fixture and were beaten 4 – 1 by a well organised Northampton side. The main damage was done in the 1st half with Ratcliffe going into the break three nil down. There was an improvement in the second-half when Ratcliffe’s determination and effort were much better, with Players of the Match Beatrice Waters and Kate Tyszka running their socks off. Their reward for this improvement was a fine individual goal scored by Kate.

The U14s treated those fortunate to be watching to a fantastic game of hockey. This was truly end to end stuff with several outstanding individual performances on both teams. Ratcliffe’s superior team play always gave them the confidence to control the pace of the game and a fine finish from Olivia Carpenter on the stroke of half-time was well deserved. Northampton applied a lot of pressure after the break but Ratcliffe’s defence remained composed whilst always looking dangerous on the break. Both teams had goal scoring opportunities but the girls deservedly held on for a fine 1 – 0 win. The whole team were awarded Player of the Match as recognition of a fine all-round performance.

The U13s, having worked hard all season to become a strong 11-a-side team, had to return to the 7-a-side format. In the first-half we struggled to find width and space to make runs into. Although we had much of the play, we could not create clear chances; and to compound matters further, we conceded an unlucky goal to put us 1 – 0 down at the break. In the second-half we continued to dominate play, moving the ball around a lot more. Players of the Match Mia Atkinson and Holly Vinall worked hard to create some effective attacking opportunities and we created more than enough chances to win the game, unfortunately not being able to take them, therefore having to settle for a 1 – 1 draw. Well done to all the girls.

The U13B team had a tough match this weekend in their defeat. Player of the Match was Flora Colville for her excellent efforts in goal. Flora controlled the majority of the game from her position supporting and communicating well with all other players.

Mimi Khan earned herself Player of the Match as she saved numerous goal scoring opportunities as the U12s lost 3 – 2 in an end to end game. Ably assisted by Captain and fellow Player of the Match, Amy Cleminson, they were dominant and determined in defence. Mention must also go to Ellie Gallacher who distributed well and scored 1 goal as did Rebecca Lindley.

The U12B team lost their last match of the season 1 – 0 against Northampton on Saturday. The girls battled hard in defence during the first-half and the team went in level at the break. As we tried to attack more in the second-half Northampton were lucky to score a breakaway goal against the run of play. Dalila Watson was Player of the Match for her efforts in defence.

Congratulations to Alice Daniel who set the fastest female U17 time (30 minutes 25 seconds) in the country for 5 miles on Saturday in the Wolverton 5 Mile road race.

Angharad Lloyd,
Girls’ Sports Captain