Sports Reports – 8th February 2016

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1st XI
The First XI got back to winning ways with a hard fought 4 – 0 win against a very spirited Oundle side. Ratcliffe showed their dominance from the start by playing some very fine, free-flowing hockey; unfortunately, this was not always the case and at times the game got quite scrappy and physical. At the break, Ratcliffe were a deserved 2 – 0 up with a well-worked corner routine being converted by Joey Higham and a fine team goal that was calmly finished off by Matt Ward. The second-half continued in very much the same way as the first-half and again it was two moments of outstanding hockey that finally settled the game in Radcliffe’s favour. Firstly, Jack Watson scored a fine solo goal from a corner routine and this was followed up by another well-worked team goal, with another calm finish from Carrick Anderson. Player of the Match was Jack Nightingale who had a fantastic game at the back.

2nd XI
The 2nd XI won a scrappy game 1 – 0, although the score line doesn’t tell the whole story.  From the first whistle, the boys put Oundle under pressure and this pattern followed on for most of the first-half. Unfortunately, it took until just before half-time for us to take the lead through a short-corner, finished off by Jack Vinall. The second-half was more even, although Oundle didn’t really create any chances and it was a quiet game for Toby Smith in goal. After injuries took their toll on the team, we had a few walking-wounded in the end, but their character and attitude saw them through. Men of the Match were wide players Alex Keay and Jack, who worked tirelessly up and down all match.

3rd XI
The 3rd XI suffered a 9 – 1 loss against a very strong Oundle side. It was Ratcliffe who took an early lead through a well-worked piece of counter-attacking play, finished off neatly by Philip Gyesi-Appiah. However, from this point on the game was dominated by Oundle who completed a comfortable victory.

This weekend Ratcliffe hosted a Tri-Team tournament, when the U15s were to face Oundle in the first game and recent opponents, Worksop. The tournament opened with a fierce game of hockey seeing our U15s take on a well-drilled Oundle side. They were well organised and by far the toughest opposition we have faced this term. The boys did a good job early on containing their opponents but to no avail; the structure and pace of Oundle proved too much with them winning the game 3 – 0. Special mentions must go to Alex Schoeller and Rory Stoker who stood up well to the test, whilst being kept extremely busy by the Oundle offensive unit. There were various positives to take from the performance even though it ends the 3-game winning streak for the U15s.
After a short break, Ratcliffe were back in action and ready to make it two wins in as many weekends against Worksop.  We started bright after a few positional changes in the starting 11 and our usual free flowing hockey was returning. We created numerous chances in the first-half but it became clear that it wasn’t to be our day as the final touch was just lacking. Frustration crept in and the dogged battle of the previous weekend was relived with heated exchanges across the pitch; in the end, Worksop avenged their previous loss, scoring two goals without return, to win 2 – 0. Elliot Fawdington did, however, provide us with something to smile about with a rock solid performance at half-back, where he didn’t misplace a single pass in the second-half and was a credit to his team.

The U14 team continued their frustrating season with another draw, this time 1 – 1 with Oundle. The first-half was even but Ratcliffe dominated most of the play in the second, thanks to the excellent work from Man of the Match, Oliver Welch, although they could not find the winning goal.

The U13s enjoyed an excellent 5 – 1 win against a well-organised Bilton Grange 1st XI. Both teams played well in a competitive first-half, although Ratcliffe deservedly turned around 2 – 1 up. After a very scrappy opening to the second-half, Ratcliffe took control of the game, urged on by Fin Back and Owen Lloyd who dominated midfield. Goal scorers for Ratcliffe were Fin Back, Owen Lloyd, James Turner, Connor Foster and Archie Heaney (although Fin was adamant that it was already over the line!).  As always with this talented team, there were many candidates for Player of the Match but Alex Tyszka shaded it for his all-round performance.

In an entertaining game, the U12s beat Bilton Grange 3 – 0. When the boys used the width and passed the ball early, they played some superb attacking hockey. Goal scorers were Xabier Zanotti, Guy Heywood and Rajen Gupta. There was some excellent link play in midfield between Louis Fletcher, Xabier and Guy. Wilson Lee was Man of the Match for his outstanding composure at the back where he timed his tackles superbly and distributed the ball intelligently.

U18 Development
On Thursday the 28th January, a team of senior boys travelled to Repton for the first game of its kind for many years. The Development Team, consisting of boys from Years 11 – 13, who were not selected for hockey teams, were available to play a competitive match. In what was a viable and evenly contested match, the Ratcliffe side held out for a 7 – 5 away victory. However, it was interesting to have some boys who had never played a competitive match for Ratcliffe before and we also had 1st XV Hooker, Will Harkness, playing at fly-half! Whilst it was a scrappy affair, it was pleasing to get a match under our belts with U18 County Cup matches looming. Man of the match was awarded to Charles Grattan for a strong display on the wing.

U13 County Cup
The U13 rugby team played in the County Cup against Hastings High School on Thursday 28th January.  The team played in fits and starts with the set piece dominant and some good continuity of phases. Fin Back was outstanding as Man of the Match in a 40 – 17 win, scoring all six of the tries.

Go Gold Awards
Congratulations to Harry Palmer who won a ‘Go Gold’ Award last week.

Sam Nightingale,
Boys’ Sports Captain.


Mixed 1st, 2nd & 3rd
The mixed 1st and 2nd team won 29 – 15 and it was pleasing to see the two sets of seniors gel together as a cohesive unit. The centre-court play by Players of the Match, Olivia Back and Katie Winston, was outstanding: consequently, Nottingham struggled to get the ball safely to their shooters. In their shooting circle, Nottingham were thwarted by the sheer height and tight marking by Emily Sellicks and Ellie Cooper, who took many interceptions to set up the counter-attacks. Chloe Flowers and Nima Patel made positive contributions and the ball was fed superbly to shooters, Charley Flowers and Kate Tyszka from Olivia and Katie. A strong and confident performance with a well-deserved win.
The mixed 2nd and 3rd team had a convincing 36 – 4 win over Nottingham. All the players worked well together and Year 10 girls, Emily Grimmett and Nicole Spencer, did not look out of place. Shooters, Rebecca Astill and Mimi Lallo were too dominant in their movement and their job was made easy with excellent feeds from Emily, Nicole and Chloe. This was an excellent whole-team performance but it was the shooting percentage of Mimi that earned her Player of the Match.

The U15s faced West Bridgeford School in their mid-week fixture. They started very strongly, with good fluid play through the centre-court, with Emily Grimmett linking well with the attack and defence. Olivia Carpenter and Nicole Spencer were an impenetrable partnership in the defensive circle, making it very difficult for the opposition to create any meaningful attacks. Player of the Match, Sarah Astill, shot outstandingly, to seal a 25 – 4 victory.  All girls should be congratulated on the focus and determination they showed during the match.
On Saturday, they faced a very physical Mount St Mary’s team who boasted some very effective players. Despite being rattled by their physicality, Ratcliffe played some very good defensive netball, implementing tactics, on which they have been working, very effectively. Player of the Match, Isobel Coombs, had an excellent game at centre and was instrumental in calling tactics as well as making some excellent tips and interceptions, as did Ru Tsatsa. At times, the girls made the game harder for themselves, with some periods of inaccurate, sloppy passing. Although they were disappointed to lose 18 – 9, there were many positives to be taken from the game, and they should be congratulated on keeping their focus in such a very physical game.

The U13s put in a fantastic performance against John Fearnley, beating them 44 – 3. Their attacking play was superb and they really did show what they are capable of.  They are now through to the semi-final of the County Tournament, a fantastic achievement.  Player of the Match goes to Eleanor Shaw, whose movement in the circle and shooting consistency were excellent.

The U12 team had a tough, physical game against Mount St Mary’s and they took time to settle. Unfortunately, too many unforced errors enabled Mount to take a slight lead, but credit must go to the whole team for their persistence in earning an 11-all draw. Elise Atkinson was Player of the Match.

Congratulations to Dalila Watson who represented Leicestershire at the regional Sports Hall Athletics Finals a few weeks ago, having won all her prior events. Dalila helped Leicestershire and Rutland win the event for the first time in their history. She will now compete for them in the National Finals in Manchester in April. We all wish her well.

Sibella Chew,
Girls’ Sports Captain.