Sports Reports – 7th March 2016

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County Hockey
The U13 boys played some magnificent hockey in the Leicestershire ‘In 2 Hockey’ 7 a-side tournament this week. Ratcliffe won all of their group games, comfortably beating Loughborough Grammar 4 – 0, Soar Valley 6 – 0 and Ivanhoe 6 – 0. In the semi-final, Dixie Grammar School was also dispatched 6 – 0. However, Ratcliffe reserved their best hockey for the final with a fantastic team performance leading to an 8 – 0 victory over Oakham. Owen Lloyd was on fire in front of goal netting 22 goals in the tournament – most of them the culmination of excellent build-up play from his team mates. Incredibly, the team didn’t concede any goals in the whole tournament. Goalkeeper Will Oswell denies that he deliberately gave away a penalty stroke in the final just so that he could make a save! The whole team were Players of the Tournament.
As County Champions, Ratcliffe will represent Leicestershire in the Midlands Finals on 17th March.

County Rugby
The U14 rugby team narrowly lost 34 – 17 to Loughborough Grammar in an exciting and competitive County Cup Semi-Final.  Ratcliffe started strongly and dominated the early stages. Some patient forward play and a great pass by Alex Bown created space for Will Westwood to score in the corner to give Ratcliffe an early advantage. However, Loughborough began to come back into the game, although Ratcliffe soon rallied and scored an impressive team try through Harry Culpin to once again lead 12 – 5. In the second-half, Loughborough began to pull away, scoring four unanswered tries before Alex Bown, who had an outstanding game, scored late on. All players should be proud of the performance and congratulated on their never say die attitude. Men of the Match were Alex Bown, Matt Egglenton and Harry Culpin for their attacking threat and hard work rate in defence.
The U15 team sadly bowed out of the County Cup at the semi-final stage in quagmire conditions at Ashby. A sluggish start was followed by a dominant period as the score was pegged back to 14 – 14. However, the heavy pitch took its toll and didn’t sit well with our more free-flowing style of rugby. Ashby handled the conditions better and broke away with two forward-based tries to win 26 – 14. Callum Allsopp was Man of the Match for his fine display at number 8

Swimming Gala
On Monday 29th February swimmers from the junior squad teamed up with members of the senior squad to make a combined team for a gala against Stoneygate School. There were some excellent performances from Ratcliffe swimmers but special mention must go to Adam Bartlett, Brooke England, Rebecca Lindley and Jess Elton who all picked up first places in their individual races. In an exceptionally close and noisy gala, where the result was only decided on the last race, the final points were Stoneygate 163 points and Ratcliffe winners with 167 points. Well done to all swimmers!

Squash
Congratulations to Jake Kirkby who won the Leicester BU15 squash competition last weekend. Jake also represented the East Midlands region in the national regional BU15 team competition and came 3rd.

Sam Nightingale,
Boys’ Sports Captain.

Netball
1st VII
The 1st team had their best game of the season against Trent where they had to dig deep and play out of their skins, which they did. From the first whistle to the last, there was no let-up in their effort and determination. They had to be at the top of their game to cope with the intense pressure from Trent. One goal down at quarter time was a great boost but unfortunately they made too many unforced errors in the second-quarter, letting Trent get ahead by 9 goals. This did not deter them as they played their best quarter in the third, winning it 6 – 3, with very few errors. This continued into the final-quarter, as they edged nearer and nearer to the Trent score, coming within 1 goal. The pressure was immense and despite winning the last quarter 8 – 7, the final score was 31 – 28 to Trent, who are through to the National Schools’ Championships. This was a whole team performance but Isobel Hose, who only missed a handful of goals to keep us in the running, and Olivia Back, who made the transitions from defence to attack, deserve to be Players of the Match.
2nd VII
The 2nd team started strongly in the first-quarter taking the lead 4 – 3, with confident shooting from Becky Astill and Mimi Lallo. Unfortunately, the rain came in during the second-quarter and Ratcliffe responded slowly to the wet conditions, struggling to score off their centre passes and Ratcliffe ended the first-half 4 – 7 down. The poor conditions continued into the third-quarter and Trent extended their lead to 13 – 6 despite a strong defensive attempt with clean intercepts from Isobel Thomas and Chloe Flowers.  Mimi Lallo gave a strong performance, with good defensive play from Ellie Cooper and Imogen Power seeing Ratcliffe win the quarter 4 – 3. The final score finished 10 – 16 but Ratcliffe showed true fight and determination in the final-quarter to end on a positive note. Player of the Match goes to Isobel Thomas for her mid-court defence and many intercepts throughout the game.

3rd VII
The 3rd VII started well against Trent, going goal for goal in the first few minutes before Trent pulled away, thanks to some accurate shooting, to lead by 5 at quarter time. Imogen Power played an important role during attacking moves, and Trent were prevented from increasing their 5 goal lead. Unfortunately, superior height at both ends of the court enabled our opponents to pull further ahead with the final score a 31 -14 loss.  Ratcliffe’s centre court players defended tirelessly and there was some impressive tactical play around the Ratcliffe attacking circle. Nicole Wong was voted Player of the Match for her speedy play and accurate shooting.

U15A
The U15A team lost 30 – 7 to a well drilled Trent College team. It was a frustrating result as the score did not really reflect the game. Ratcliffe’s defence was once again strong, gaining some excellent turnovers, through tips and commitment to winning loose balls. They were very strong through the court, showing a great range of passing and excellent decision making. Molly Page was awarded Player of the Match, as her excellent work rate and ability to find space, was instrumental in them being able to play a controlled attacking game. Well done to all the girls, as they continued to fight and play good netball, despite the score.

U15B
The U15B team got off to a slow start against Trent College this weekend. After being 9 goals down at half-time, the girls fought hard to turn the ball over and convert on the Trent centre passes. Despite a tremendous effort from Ru Tsatsa and Holly Bown in defence, the final score was 17 – 21 to Trent College. Ru and Holly demonstrated an effective defensive partnership putting on pressure and making a number of interceptions throughout the game. Megha Patel received Player of the Match for her fantastic movement in and around the shooting circle along with excellent shooting.

U14A
The U14A team had an unfortunate loss against a strong Trent side. Some excellent netball was shown from both teams, along with determination and hard work throughout the game. The girls made numerous turnovers and managed to work the ball down court in their usual hard, fast style. Once again, Abigale Santaney and Ellie Hollinshead, played excellently together in the shooting circle. Liyah Pinsent-Heskey and Sofia Henderson put pressure on Trent’s attackers from start to finish, causing lots of mistakes and turnovers. Both girls took some brilliant interceptions and managed to get lots of tips on balls being fed into the circle. In particular, Liyah had an outstanding game and was therefore awarded Player of the Match for her brilliant defending and constant pressure.

U14B
The U14B started off well and worked hard throughout the match. They ended the first-quarter 2 – 2 with some excellent defending from Elle Hall and Bo Henderson to prevent many scoring attempts. Unfortunately, in the third-quarter Trent managed to pull ahead and despite a comeback in the last quarter with some excellent shooting from Mia Baker, it was too late. Final score was 15 – 8 to Trent. Player of the Match goes to Elle Hall for her excellent defending and work rate.

U12A
The U12A pulled of a fantastic 23 – 3 win over the Convent mid-week. Working in training on defence work has really paid off as they made it very difficult for the Convent to settle and get into their shooting circle. Elise Atkinson took many interceptions and denied her opponent any space on the court, whilst Amy Mason fed some superb balls into shooters, Annie-Rose Reddin and Annie Bridgwood who gains Player of the Match for some excellent circle play.

U12B
The U12B team took time to settle into the game against the Convert, giving them an opportunity to get an early lead. Some good phases of attack were interspersed with too many careless errors making it even more difficult. Player of the Match went to Daisy Watson for her accurate passing and her quality play throughout the match. The final was 24 – 5 to the Convent.

County Hockey
The U13 girls took part in their County Cup Hockey Tournament last week. This was the pinnacle of the girls’ season and selection for the squad was very competitive indeed, with many girls left disappointed. This is credit to the strength and determination of all those who trained in the squad this season.
It was to be a difficult start to the tournament for Ratcliffe, as the opening fixture was against Loughborough Grammar, meaning the girls needed to really start with a bang. Unfortunately, having already played and winning their opening fixture, Loughborough were much to sharp. The game finished 2 – 0 to Loughborough, with the loss later proving a decisive moment. Under the leadership and resilience of Captain, Aimee Cleminson, the loss didn’t distract from the strong belief in the team. The next 2 games therefore, saw the girls excel themselves with 2 comfortable wins against Welland Park and Dixie Grammar. This put Ratcliffe in a good position with just 2 games left. The penultimate fixture for Ratcliffe was against Leicester Grammar, and with a lot riding on the result of the match, there was a real buzz amongst the Ratcliffe girls. The game started strongly for Ratcliffe with several openings in front of goal. It was no surprise that Ratcliffe found themselves 1 – 0 ahead at half-time. The second-half however proved to be a different affair, with Leicester coming out at the blocks, with real quality and energy. The Ratcliffe girls competed extremely well but were unable to hold onto the lead and by the end of the game went down 2 – 1. With only 1 remaining fixture against Hinkley Academy left, the tournament was all but over for Ratcliffe, with even a win for the girls leaving them outside a possible qualification position. That didn’t stop the girls’ motivation, however, as they attacked Hinckley with the same intensity as the Leicester game and really went for the win – as if to prove who should have qualified for the next stage. The final match therefore finished 6 – 0. Player of the tournament goes to Emily McBallantine who was a rock at the back for the team. Special mention must also go to the parents who came to show their support. I think it was safe to say we were the best supported team at the tournament!

Club Hockey
Following on from the news earlier this term, I am happy to say that Olivia Back and Molly Edwards, playing in the Leicester U16 hockey ladies’ team, won their regional final last weekend. They will now play in the finals at the Olympic Park in April.

Equestrian
Congratulations to Jade England who competed for the Rearsby Lodge Riding Club Junior (under 18) Team in the Intermediate Show Jumping Qualifier. All 4 team members jumped double clears, winning the East Midlands qualifier and will now compete at the British Riding Club Winter Championships on 1st May.

Sibella Chew,
Girls’ Sports Captain.