Sports Reports – 7th December 2015

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1st XV
The 1st XV played valiantly, eventually going down to a flattering score line of 44 – 5. In horrendously strong wind, both sides struggled to put together continuous phases of play which resulted in the match being an error-strewn affair. Sadly, the score-line reflects a small number of missed tackles which was ultimately the key difference between the sides. Pleasingly, in the second-half, the game was far more evenly contested with Ratcliffe showing that they can take their chances when presented with opportunities. Man of the Match goes to Seb Dewhirst for an outstanding performance including a well-taken try at the end.

2nd XV
The 2nd XV kicked off against a very strong wind and soon realised that Leicester Grammar’s team was, if anything, even stronger. Despite losing 68 – 0, many players should be very proud of their personal performances. No one can argue with the result, a disappointing way to end an enjoyable season. With such a young side, players can only benefit from their experiences this term which hopefully bodes well for the future. No one enjoys being the wrong side of such a comprehensive defeat; the challenge is to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future! Man of the Match was Ben Dexter who led by example throughout.

The U15s took on Martin High in the County Cup mid-week. The boys played a disciplined game and scored tries through the backs and forwards. Rory Stoker stood out, but Man of the Match went to Luke Chilton for his hat-trick of tries in a barn-storming display, culminating in a 53 – 0 win.
Sadly the U15s lost their final match of the season against Leicester Grammar. In an evenly matched contest, Ratcliffe chose to play with the gale force wind in the first-half. Unfortunately, they could not make this advantage count and two mistakes meant they turned around 7 points down. They continued to fight hard in the second-half but could not conjure a result, with Rory Stoker claiming Man of the Match in a 33 – 19 defeat.

The U14s took another step towards the latter stages of the County Cup with a convincing victory over Martin High. A strong first-half by Ratcliffe with Will Westwood and Joe Collier to the fore, saw Ratcliffe take a 29 – 0 lead by half-time. Martin High came back into the game in the second-half with three well-taken tries, but further scores by Joe and Harry Culpin saw Ratcliffe complete a 57 – 15 victory to advance to the next round. Harry Culpin and Joe Collier were Men of the Match for their excellent attacking play.
In windy conditions on Saturday, Ratcliffe lost 51 – 17 to a pacey Leicester Grammar side. In the first-half, Leicester ran in seven tries to take a 39 – 0 lead. The second-half saw a change in fortunes for Ratcliffe. Ollie Welch ran an excellent line to score a well-worked try, Joe Collier scored from a tap penalty and Harry Culpin scored from a number eight set move. With the wind, Ratcliffe won the half 17 – 12, demonstrating some excellent grit and determination to bounce back. Man of the Match was Harry Culpin for his defensive efforts in broken play.

Playing with a strong wind in the first-half the U13s took the lead with 2 well taken tries by Fin Back, but Leicester Grammar came back into the game strongly, scoring 3 tries themselves against the wind. These Leicester first-half scores were the difference in a very competitive game. Ratcliffe battled manfully in the second-half playing some superb rugby uphill and into the wind, which resulted in another excellent score for Fin. Ultimately, the difficult conditions and the big, powerful Leicester Grammar runners were the difference and two late Leicester scores led to a 29 – 19 loss. A great effort by all the team with the dynamic Fin to the fore, but Man of the Match goes to Aled King for his excellent all-round game, particularly in defence.

The U13/12Bs capped off their season in emphatic style with a 52 – 10 win over Leicester Grammar. Battling with strong winds, Ratcliffe were dominant throughout the match with a hat-trick of tries from Guy Mills and Will Wright (3), plus two from Giorgio Stylianou and one apiece from Guy Heywood and Oliver Hunt. This was backed up by fantastic support from the rest of the team, particularly in the rucks. A fantastic performance by the whole team with many standout performances; however, Man of the Match goes to Guy Mills for his hat-trick of tries and outstanding leadership. Overall a great way to end to the season. Well done lads!

In testing conditions the U12s lost their last match of the season 19 – 15 to Leicester Grammar. It was a close encounter, with the difference being two missed conversions only. Whilst having the majority of possession and dominating the scrum, Ratcliffe failed to make the most of their opportunities. Tries were scored by Xabier Zanotti, Louis Westwood and Daniel McGunnigle. Man of the match was Louis Westwood for his strong running, aggressive defence and excellent scrummaging.

Cross Country
Congratulations to Alfie Thompson (Senior boys) who finished 4th and Mia Atkinson (Junior Girls) who finished 3rd in the County Cross Country on Saturday. This has meant that Alfie has finished 2nd in the overall standings this year, and we look forward to all our students competing in the County Championship at Ratclifffe on Saturday 23rd January.

Sam Nightingale,
Boys’ Sports Captain.

1st XI
The 1st XI entertained Wellingborough for their last game of the season, in what proved to be a close encounter that they eventually lost 3 – 1. It was also the Year 13s’ last opportunity to play for Ratcliffe, with the girls working hard and putting in a good performance, unfortunately coming up against tough opposition. Very pleasing though was the improvement shown from the start of the season, which was clearly evident to see. Wellingborough opened up the scoring soon in to the first-half; however, Ratcliffe equalised with a very good finish from Emma Furlong. On the stroke of half-time Wellingborough again went ahead with a well-executed penalty corner. Into the second-half and Ratcliffe had their fair share of chances, but they could not convert. Unfortunately, Wellingborough managed to score another on the break, which was against the run of play towards the end of the game. The girls deserved at least a draw after their hard work and effort, but it was not to be. Player of the Match goes to Olivia Back whose attitude and play were outstanding throughout!

2nd XI
The 2nd XI finished off their season with a disappointing 3 – 1 defeat to Wellingborough. After a very good start Ratcliffe took the lead through a very well worked goal. The play built up down the right, when it was transferred across the field to Holly Blount who ran to the by-line, delivering a pinpoint cross to Isobel Thomas to tap in at the back post. The girls continued to try and do the right thing; unfortunately, Wellingborough responded and scored two goals of their own before half-time. The second-half was a very even affair with chances at both ends, with some excellent defending from Player of the Match, Alex Offer, and fabulous work-rate from Holly in attack. Wellingborough added another through a short corner, and even though the girls gave it everything they had, they couldn’t find the goals needed. Overall this has been a good year’s development for the young 2nd team squad, which will hopefully pay dividends next season.

The U15s played their final game of the season, as well as their final game together, before moving into the senior sides next year. In a close game where either side could have won, it was Wellingborough that came up with the decisive strike midway through the second-half, to secure the victory. Ratcliffe’s desire and determination were evident from the start and after a couple of early scares, which Player of the Match, Amy Baxter saved superbly, they were unlucky not to take the lead through chances from Izzy Coombs and Emily Grimmett. At half-time it was no surprise to see the score 0 – 0. The second-half took on a very similar pattern to the first, with both sides working really hard and chances were few and far between. Eventually it was a moment’s lapse in concentration that enabled Wellingborough to score the only goal of the game, resulting in a loss for Ratcliffe that their performance did not deserve.

The U14s played very well against a well organised Wellingborough team and ended up losing very narrowly 1 – 0. The girls showed great determination in a very physical game, and created some good attacking play. Defensively we were very strong as Aimee Cleminson had a great game, particularly as she was stepping up an age group. Going forward we looked dangerous on the break with Sophie Brown and Emma Turner also stepping up an age group to support the hard work by others when attacking. Holly Vinall was outstanding in the middle, with a Player of the Match performance, as she marshalled the midfield excellently. The game remained in the balance for all but the last few minutes, with both teams looking like they could score. However, it was Wellingborough who capitalised on a short corner, and despite a great dive from Elle Hall, found the bottom corner and took the victory.

England International netball player Sasha Corbin led a workshop of skills and game play last Friday for 28 netball players from years 7 to 13. The players responded very well to her guidance and she impressed them with her demonstrations. Many of the players had photos taken with her and got her autograph and we look forward to seeing her play for Loughborough Lightening when the Super league starts in January.

 Sibella Chew,
Girls’ Sports Captain.