Sports Reports – 23rd March 2015

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Hockey, 1st
On Saturday, the 1st team entered their final weekend of the season, knowing that they would have to be at their very best against a particularly strong Worksop side to maintain their unbeaten record. Unfortunately, they set themselves a hard task, after showing the opposition too much respect in the first-half, going into the break 4 – 1 down with a goal from James Robinson. In the second-half, they began to show signs of their true potential and their confidence returned. This was largely fuelled by joint Players of the Match Toby Smith, who pulled off some fine saves, and the non-stop running James Robinson up front. Both sides had chances to score, with Worksop adding 2 more to their tally, while Ratcliffe got a well-deserved goal through Sam Nightingale. Final Score 6 – 2 to Worksop.

The 1st team went into the Old Ratcliffian game less than 24 hours after their first defeat of the season, also knowing that a Ratcliffe side had not beaten an Old Boys’ side for a few years. From the start they showed great determination and discipline as they soaked up Old Boys’ pressure and then looked to punish them on the break. These tactics worked, as every counter-attack put the opposition under immense pressure and enabled Ratcliffe to go into a 2 – 0 lead just over midway through the first-half, with goals from Carrick Anderson and a fine solo effort from Jack Watson. The Old Boys pulled one back just before the break to set up a tense second-half. The opposition pushed hard but Ratcliffe stayed firm, and again it was Ratcliffe who had the better of the chances to finish the game on the break. Even when Ratcliffe lost Captain and Player of the Match Joey Higham, who put himself in the way of an opposition stick to make the tackle and prevent the shot being made, they still held strong. Sam Nightingale stepped up from vice-captain to lead Ratcliffe home in the last 5 minutes, as the side secured victory and regained the trophy.

The 2nds suffered a disappointing 3 – 0 defeat against Worksop in their last game of the season. Unfortunately, Ratcliffe could not find their passing game in this match and relied too much on individual ability. However, the boys should be pleased overall, after a good season. Player of the Match was Harry Redding for some excellent saves.

A severely depleted U15 side played in an excellent game against Worksop on Saturday. A 4 – 0 defeat does no justice to the team as they battled valiantly throughout the game. Several players who had been in the B team for most of the season stepped up to the mark and certainly did not look out of place. Matthew Ward was awarded Player of the Match for the control that he offered in midfield.

The U14 team rounded off their season in style with a 4 – 2 win at Worksop. With the score tied at 1 – 1 at half-time, Ratcliffe came out fighting in the second-half to score three goals on the break. Good work by Man of the Match Maciej Buczkowski in goal ensured the victory was completed.

U13/12 A combined
In the final game of our season, a strong U13/U12 combined A-team, thoroughly out-performed Worksop in every department, winning 10 – 0. Every player was on top form today and did not give their opposition number an inch to breath, never mind try and control a hockey ball. The midfield was outstanding, run by Oliver Welch, Joseph Evenden and Owen Lloyd and our forwards had a field day on their supply of passes. So great was our possession that even our defenders had good opportunities to get involved in attacking play as we transferred the ball with intent and precision. Goal Scorers were Owen Lloyd (3), Joseph Evenden (2), William Westwood (2), Harry Best (2) and Thomas Binnie. Man of the Match was Joseph Evenden, who played with such intensity and will to win that it really set the tone for the rest of the team!

In a dominant display, the U13B team outclassed Worksop, eventually winning 11 – 1. Connor Foster and Ellis Gee were a constant threat up front with Ellis scoring a hat-trick. Harry Cusack played superbly at the back but it was the midfield trio of Alex Bown, Dempsey Mayne and Josh Chapman who were the stand-out performers. They worked tirelessly to win and distribute the ball, creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities. Dempsey and Alex were Men of the Match for their all-round excellent games.

Congratulations to Tom Chandler who won the opening race of the 2015 road season at Darley Moor on Saturday. Tom now looks forward to the Junior National races to come.

Rory Thorne
Boys’ Sports Captain.

Netball, 1st
A fitting end to a very successful season for the 1st team as they beat Loughborough High School convincingly, 24 – 12. It was a whole team effort from start to finish as they gradually pulled away in the final three-quarters. Shooters, Holly Blount and Charley Flowers, made the most of well-timed interceptions from Player of the Match Adelaide Muskwe, Nima Patel and Megan Vincent. Olivia Back chased down every loose ball and brought a dynamic attack during the match. The attitude and determination that the 1st team have had all season are exemplary and they fully deserve their successes.

The 2nds welcomed Loughborough High School for their final game of the netball season on Saturday. The girls started very slowly in the first quarter, scoring only 1 goal to Loughborough’s 4. The second quarter saw Ratcliffe make a change owing to injury, bringing on Imogen Power at Goal Defence who had a strong game, making interceptions in the defensive circle.  Ratcliffe now looked like they turned up to the game making interceptions throughout the court from Chloe Flowers and Yasmin Gill, which were then successfully converted by an on-form Mimi Lallo and Becky Astill. Ratcliffe overturned a 3-goal deficit to a 2-goal lead, going into half-time 7 – 5 ahead. The third quarter saw Ratcliffe take their foot off the gas allowing Loughborough back into the game, finishing the quarter 10 – 9 ahead. Ratcliffe knew what they needed to do for the final-quarter, where Emma Taylor-Clark came back on and gave the defence more height in the circle in which they capitalised, gathering many rebounds. Ellie Cooper provided fantastic support out of defence, allowing Angharad Lloyd and Yasmin Gill to calmly bring the ball down the court and convert. The 2nds finished with a strong positive performance and won the tightly battled game 14 – 12. Player of the Match goes to Ellie Cooper for her strongest performance of the season, gathering rebounds and providing an excellent back up for her team mates. Congratulations to the 2nds for winning the final game of the season, you’ve had a positive and successful season.

U15A & B
The U15A and B teams both lost narrowly to Loughborough and should be proud of the way they came back. The A team were slow to get started and were 5 goals down in the first quarter. After some encouraging words, they played the rest of the match with fire in their bellies, led by Olivia Back and Kate Tyszka. Natasha Walsh and Issy Thomas were up against some very strong shooters but made it difficult for them to penetrate the circle. Olivia and Natasha were Players of the Match.

The B team played some good netball, showing a concerted effort in the second-half. Some excellent shooting from Nicole Wong earned her Player of the Match

Following the absence of a few influential players, the U14A team pulled together to put in a solid performance. Jenna Pole received Player of the Match for a tremendous game playing as Goal Attack. Her movement was exceptional and her feeds into the circle were spot on. Sarah Astill shot consistently throughout the game and played particularly well under pressure. Ru Tsatsa and Olivia Carpenter worked tirelessly in defence, putting pressure on within the circle, while Mollie Page, Emily Grimmett and Molly Edwards continued to demonstrate great movement of the ball through the court. The final score was 15 – 33. The girls have had a fantastic season and should be so very proud of themselves.

The U14B team played their best game of the season on Saturday. Individual skills and team tactics all came together in their game against Loughborough, in what was a nail-biting forty minutes. It was end to end the whole game with only two goals in it at three quarters time. The final score was 16 – 20. Grace Clark, Ru Tsatsa and Eve Baxter worked fantastically as a unit in defence, showing how valuable team work can be. Izzy Coombs, Jenna Pole and Eleanor Brambell moved the ball through the court swiftly, making it incredibly difficult for defenders to make an interception. Megha Patel and Izzy Pullen worked as a partnership in the shooting circle, shooting very well. Players of the Match were Ru Tsatsa and Eve Baxter for their brilliant marking and countless interceptions.

A mixed U14A/B team faced a dynamic Rawlins side mid-week. The girls showed great movement and tactical defending, but unfortunately lost by a small margin. A few little mistakes saw the opposition take advantage of this; however, Holly Bown, Eve Baxter and Ru Tsatsa worked their socks off in defence, applying pressure and forcing a number of errors. Mollie Page, Izzy Coombs and Olivia Carpenter worked particularly well in attack, demonstrating an excellent work ethic. Their drive and determination resulted in great team morale throughout the game.

After a couple of tough games for the U13s, the girls were ready to bounce back and were determined to get a good result, which they did. Ratcliffe played some lovely netball, moving well and passing the ball with more control and confidence. A lot of girls ended up playing out of position towards the third and fourth quarters, and it was great to see them still thinking about their tactics and roles in each position. The quality of netball remained high throughout the whole game with the final score being a 22 – 5 win for Ratcliffe. Players’ player goes to Holly Vinall and Coach’s player to Ellie Hollinshead and Hannah Ball.

The U12 A team faced a tough Loughborough High team this Saturday. Off the back of their success at the County Tournament, the girls were ready for a hard match.  The girls worked hard on getting in front of their players. Centre-court players Maddy Lindop, Aimee Cleminson and Becky Lindley worked hard to get free from their player and create space. Ellie Gallacher and Eleanor Shaw worked hard on their movement in the circle to create shooting opportunities. We had to work very hard in defence with a welcomed addition to Izzy Burke at Goal Defence. The final score of 31 – 9 did not reflect the play on court and the girls should all be very proud of all their achievements in this match, as well as this season. Player of the Match was Ellie Gallacher who shot excellently and worked well under pressure from double marking for a large majority of the game.

The U12 B team were up against a very strong Loughborough High side this week. The girls worked hard to maintain possession of the ball and get in front of players to receive passes. When we were attacking, the girls were unstoppable, with accurate shooting from Mimi Khan and Becky Lindley. Unfortunately, Loughborough’s sharp defensive skills allowed them to turn over play, resulting in a final score of 16 – 4 to Loughborough. Player of the Match was Lucy Antill for her relentless work in the centre-court throughout the match.

County Netball Tournament
On Saturday, the U13s played in their County Tournament at Leicester Grammar School. They faced some unexpectedly strong opposition in the group stages and struggled to find their rhythm. In the third and fourth games the girls started to play with more fluency, and they were rewarded in the fourth game with a good victory over Leicester High School. Sofia Henderson was excellent in defence and Abigale  Sanataney  was excellent in the shooting circle, both were awarded Players of the Tournament. Well done to all the girls.

On Saturday 14th March four Ratcliffe College fencers took part in the East Midlands regional qualifier for the British Youth Championships in Mansfield. Three qualified for the final at the Sheffield Institute of Sport in May. Jonathan Bellamy took silver in the Sabre U12 group, while Finlay Noble took Bronze in the U12 Epee and Niamh Noble also qualified with Bronze in the U14 Epee. Harry Palmer was unlucky meeting a very experienced fencer in direct elimination in the U16 Epee.

On Wednesday 18th March, Niamh Noble and Harry Palmer took part in the Public Schools Fencing Championships at Crystal Palace. It was a very long day for both with Niamh facing 47 other entries in the U14 Epee category. Niamh won her first round of poules, clearing the elimination and went on to place 2nd in her 2nd round of poules, again avoiding the cut easily. She finished her poules 13th out of the remaining 26, not enough to get a bye for the first-round of direct elimination. Her first eliminator was a very fast and convincing 15 – 6 win, she then drew the number 5 seed but again gave a swift and efficient performance winning 15 – 11. In the quarter-finals she began well and took a lead, fighting a very defensive fencer Niamh battled on but lost the match 15 – 11. Sadly missing the medals and leaving the competition in the quarter-finals. A nice mature fight that showed some great improvements. Harry performed very well considering he was up against some very well-heeled schools and their coaches. He ranked very well in the poules avoiding elimination, unfortunately losing in his second DE fight.

All the fencers should be proud of their achievements.

Angharad Lloyd,
Girls’ Sports Captain.