Sports Reports – 25th January 2016

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1st XI
The 1st team kicked off their season with a disappointing 3 – 2 loss to local rivals Oakham mid-week. In the first-half, it was clear that this was the boys’ first game as they never really got going. Although they dominated possession, it was no surprise to see them go into the break 2 – 0 down as Oakham showed they had more match sharpness having already played two games this year. After the half-time break, Ratcliffe reacted to the team talk and hit back with 2 well-worked goals through Jack Watson and joint Player of the Match Ben Pole. Ratcliffe then came close on a few occasions to win the game as they began to dominate the midfield battle, with Captain and joint Player of the Match, Joey Higham, outstanding in the middle. Unfortunately for all their pressure in the second-half they could not find a winner and were then caught on the break, with Oakham scoring a fantastic winner.

The 1st XI showed superb character on Saturday to win 3 – 1 against a well-organised Wisbech side. The Ratcliffe boys did well to bounce back from their loss to Oakham mid-week, showing signs of a successful team. After conceding the opening goal, the boys battled hard to earn themselves the victory. Goals were scored by Ben Pole, Jack Watson and Carrick Anderson, with notable mentions to Captain, Joey Higham, who controlled the middle of pitch with confidence and composure. Man of the Match goes to Carrick Anderson who led a very aggressive and well-executed press by all.

2nd XI
The 2nd team started their season off with a 2 – 1 defeat against Wisbech. After a very lacklustre performance in the first-half, we were 2 – 0 down, after a missing a penalty flick. The second-half was a different story with an early short-corner goal from Seb Dewhurst setting the tone. There was a different attitude and work-rate to be admired. There was some good link-up play from Player of the Match, Harry Heaney, and Alex Keay down the left leading to a number of short corners. Unfortunately, these could not be converted and the game finished in defeat. 

3rd XI
The U15A team hit the road for the long journey to Wisbech. They anticipated a tough encounter and that is exactly what they got. On the back of a shaky start that lacked conviction we found ourselves 1 – 0 down. After a quick reset the boys began to move the ball with more structure and began to demonstrate the free flowing play that they are capable of. Soon after, Alex Purcell moved forward with intent feeding James Berns to tuck it away with precision.  The rejuvenated Ratcliffe side rode their luck at the back with some excellent stops from Rory Stoker and against the run of play managed to put the ball in the goal a second time just before the whistle. After some tactical readjustments at half-time, Ratcliffe went back out to get another goal as a buffer, but Wisbech were pushing hard meaning that Callum Allsopp and Matt Lindley had to stand strong. Rory was making more vital saves and seeing off a series of short corners. The Ratcliffe boys struck again on the counter-attack, with a dynamic move from the impressive Alex Purcell who was awarded Man of the Match. Special mention must go to Rory for his outstanding presence in goal. . Whilst not quite firing on all cylinders, on a tough away fixture and a long day, the U15s should be very proud to walk away with a 3 – 2 win.

The U15B team took part in a closely contested match away to Wisbech on Saturday afternoon. They were led by the flamboyant character of Louis Massarella, who scored Ratcliffe’s only goal in the game. Unfortunately, they were outdone in the end with the game ending 2 – 1 to Wisbech. The Ratcliffe boys should take immense pride in their performance on the day, as they competed strongly against a Wisbech side who had several A team players in their team. Man of the Match went to Matthew Garcia who has greatly impressed with his stick skills and game awareness thus far this season.

The U14 team started their season at the deep end mid-week in the County Cup. Sadly, the lack of pitch time owing to freezing conditions resulted in a slow start and therefore a third place finish.
On Saturday they played some excellent hockey in an enthralling but tiresome 2 – 2 draw. Despite dominating possession, territory and shots on target, they could not quite find the winning goal. Alex Bown was Man of the Match for his tireless performance.

The U13A side had an outstanding start to the season with a 13 – 1 victory against a spirited Wisbech team. Goal scorers were Owen Lloyd and James Turner with four goals each, Finley Back and Archie Heaney with two apiece and Connor Foster. With several excellent individual performances, it was only fair to name the whole team Player’s of the Match.

The U13B side also played some fine hockey in their exciting 2 – 2 draw. Ratcliffe had most of the play, but Wisbech defended strongly and were always dangerous on the break. Ben BcGuinn and Elliot Lindop scored the goals, with Elliot and Aled King named Players of the Match.

The U12A team got their season underway with a 2 – 2 draw at home against Wisbech. The visitors got off to the stronger start and were 1 – 0 up within the first few minutes of the match. However, it was not long before Ratcliffe began to play some nice hockey and equalised through a long range shot by Xabier Zanotti. Rajen Gupta then fired home from close range to put Ratcliffe 2 – 1 up going into half-time. The second-half started in similar fashion to the first, with Wisbech scoring an early equaliser. Despite their best efforts and a few good chances, Ratcliffe were unable to find a winning goal and the match ended in a 2 – 2 draw. Player of the Match goes to Xabier for his goal and great link-up play.

Sam Nightingale,
Boys’ Sports Captain.

Senior Schools’ County Cross-Country Championships
The Senior Schools’ County Cross-Country Championships took place at Ratcliffe College on Saturday 23rd January.  Although it was a sunny morning, the conditions under foot were extremely challenging after weeks of heavy rain.  The course was, therefore, very difficult throughout, and it was not an uncommon sight to see shoes coming off altogether in the mud!  This applied to our very own Mia Atkinson in Year 9, who still managed to take Bronze in the Intermediate Girls’ Individual Event; a superb achievement.  Equally impressive performances were to follow in the Senior Categories, where Alice Daniel took Bronze in the Senior Girls’ Individual Event, and was joined by Lydia Satchell and Kate Scarborough in the Senior Girls’ Team Event, where the girls collected Bronze.  The Ratcliffe Senior Boys’ Team consisted of Alfie Thompson, who took Bronze in the Individual Event, as well as Luke Pole, Nick Heywood, Archie Hailes and Finbarr Lloyd.  Again, we secured Bronze.  A fantastic achievement and a wonderful all-round team effort.

The 1st team secured a 38 – 18 win in a competitive game. Working extremely well as a cohesive unit throughout the whole court, they took an 8 – 1 lead in the first-quarter, gradually extending this until the final whistle. Captain, and Player of the Match, Adelaide Muskwe, combined well with fellow defenders, Megan Vincent and Emily Sellicks, to pile the pressure onto the Denstone attack, taking many interceptions and forcing errors to set up strong counter attacks. Shooters, Charley Flowers and Isobel Hose, who was also Player of the Match, had their work cut out against Denstone’s defence but Kate Tyszka and Holly Blount worked tirelessly around the circle edge to put them in good shooting positions. A commendable whole team effort. Well done girls.

The 2nd team were once again unlucky to lose by a narrow margin of 2 goals, 20 – 18. A physical Denstone side forced them to have to work hard for every goal and they had a height advantage in both goal circles. The Ratcliffe team allowed themselves to be pressured into making too many errors which ultimately cost them the match. Katie Winston and Amelia Lallo were Players of the Match.

The 3rd team pulled off a 25 – 22 win in a tight game. The team took time to gel together in their first game of the season but held onto a narrow, early lead to take victory.

The U15A team secured an excellent 14 – 12 victory in a close and competitive match against Denstone. They dominated the play in the centre-third with a more controlled approach and Player of the Match, Emily Grimmett, was instrumental in turning the excellent defensive work from Nicole Spencer and Olivia Carpenter, into successful attacks. This allowed them to turn over their centre passes frequently to take the pressure off the Ratcliffe shooters in a tough attacking circle. The girls kept their composure, playing their own game and fighting until the final whistle for a well-earned victory. Well done to all the girls.

The U15B team had a tough game against a strong Denstone team, but matched them across the court. The shooters, Player of the Match, India Beresford and Mollie Page, had an excellent game to make sure that we converted our possession into goals. The success rate of our shooters, and our tight effective defensive marking, were essential in what was a nail-biting, end-to-end game that finished 15 – 15.

The first three-quarters were very close for the U14A team. Every single player on court, from both teams, battled to win the game. There were some great interceptions from Bo Henderson in the defending circle, alongside Layla Bott, who also made some important tips. The ball flew down the court to the shooters with some great movement from Liyah Pinsent-Heskey, Mia Atkinson, Holly Vinall and Sharmel Yapa. At the end of the third-quarter, the score was even but Denstone came out on fire to pull ahead, finally winning 18 – 10. The Player of the Match was Ellie Hollinshead, who worked tirelessly in the circle, alongside Abby Santaney.

The U14B team had a fantastic game winning 21 – 17. The girls managed to stay in front from start to finish, working hard as a team to maintain their lead. The movement of the ball down court was accurate and consistent, led by Lucy Grinham, who worked hard at centre on attack and defence. Mia Baker and Flora Colville worked exceptionally well together in the shooting circle, passing out and in when necessary. Player of the Match was Mia Baker for her hard work in the shooting circle and lovely, consistent shooting throughout the game.

It was a nervy start for the U13A team with a close first-quarter tied at four all. However, the girls were soon at their best and stormed through the last three-quarters, easily out on top with a fantastic win 24 – 7. They dominated the game and every player played extremely well. Players of the Match were Becky Lindley, who interrupted play and distributed the ball well, and Ellie Gallacher, who performed magnificently, combining well with the other attacking players and showing some exceptional movement skills.

The U13B had a close game, winning until the last quarter when Denstone snatched the result, 7 – 6. The team demonstrated some excellent movement skills; using the double lead effectively. They worked extremely hard and at times played some excellent netball. Players of the Match went to Bella Whalley and Lucy Antill.

The U12A team started well with some excellent shooting from Annie-Rosie Reddin and Erin Sommerville, taking a 4 – 0 lead at the end of the first-quarter. They began to rush their passes, leading to many unforced errors. However, they re-gathered themselves in the second-half with some great centre-court play from Amy Mason. Player of the Match was Annie-Rosie Reddin for her excellent shooting throughout the match. Final score was 13 – 0. A great start to the season.

This was the first match of the season for the U12B team and they gelled well. The girls fought well and some good accurate passing from Freya Smith enabled us to get into the circle and earn a well-deserved 4 – 4 draw.  Player of the Match goes to Emily Curnick.

Sibella Chew,
Girls’ Sports Captain.