The Michaelmas Term is often one that feels as though it has two seasons in one. The first part is played under warm sun, while the final few weeks you see sport played in wet, freezing, windy and often muddy conditions! This year has been no different and my first thanks must go to the wonderful grounds team who have worked tirelessly to maintain the pitches and enabled so many matches to go ahead.
It is often hard to judge what is a successful term for sport. Is it statistics highlighting win ratios? Is it participation numbers? Or is it simply enjoyment levels? Subjectively speaking, I feel this term has emphasised a vast number of things that we as a school should be very proud of with our sport and therefore it really has been a huge success. Across the term we saw 55 teams playing several different sports in cups, block fixtures and tournaments. From a statistical point of view we won 56% of all matches across all our sports, with both Girls Hockey and Boys Rugby having 60% win ratios across all their teams. That is a great number as it shows that the programme is challenging our pupils on a weekly basis but that we are rising to it. Two of my personal highlights were the Girls Hockey and Boys Rugby participation numbers at senior level, where they have been the highest for a vast number of years as well as the number of senior girls and boys who have helped with coaching sessions this term. The role modelling and giving back into the sports programme was excellent to see.
We saw cup success across a number of teams and sports. Our First Team Boys Football won both their matches in the ISFA plate, our U15 Boys Rugby had cup success with them qualifying for the National Plate quarter final next term. Our U14 Netballers qualified to the Surrey finals in March due to their wonderful performance in October. Our U18 and U16 Girls were runners-up in South East Regional Indoor Hockey finals which were both amazing achievements.
With only one week of the term to go The Girls Hockey saw huge success particularly at U15B level where they were unbeaten. Pushing that accomplishment were the 14A and 14B Girls teams who between them played 18 matches, at time of writing winning 16 of them! Not only that but the U14 and U16 Girls have qualified for the national Tier 1 knockout stages next term. The 16B team also won all but one of their matches with a goal difference of 27 (at the time of writing). This alongside the U16As winning 70% of their games means the future is looking bright for the hockey club. The U18 Boys have started their Tier 1 league well with two wins out of their three matches and I know they are looking forward to the Hockey season next term. Louis P. has been selected for the new England Under 18 training squad whilst Matt H. has been selected again for the England Under 16s. Charlotte B. remains in the emerging players squad in Scotland and Sammy D. has GB EDP trials in December.
Boys Rugby saw numbers grow at senior level as well as some great results across the board. The 16B, 14A, 15B sides all were unbeaten throughout the season with the 16A’s losing just one of their matches. The 6th XV made an appearance this year which was a terrific sight and it is great to see participation levels continuing to rise. The 1st XV played at times some excellent rugby with a highlight being a 43-7 win against Hampton in November. We saw a large number of students involved in County setups as well as rugby academy squads from Harlequins and the formerly known London Irish U14 DPP to U18 EPDG. across the South-East of England.
Water Polo was back in action and a huge thanks to the swimming staff who have been busy this term putting together an excellent programme with matches and galas offered throughout the term. Our Fives team have played matches against Charterhouse and Berkhamsted as well as the Badminton side playing on Saturdays in games versus local schools. The Junior House Cross Country was another excellent event where we saw the Fourth Form all giving their best. The golfers have been busy (especially in the first half of the term) with cup matches as well as SWIFT tour events. The First Golf team played in the Swifts Schools Golf Tour 54 hole stroke play Championships at Aldeburgh earlier this term against a very strong field. James M. did not drop a shot on the second day, playing the final 36 holes of the competition in level par, he came away as the overall winner of the competition. We also came second in the Southern Schools Climbing competition in November.
We saw tours to the Netherlands and Barcelona for Hockey and Rugby respectively. Our Equestrian team had two National Schools team titles, one team silver, one National individual title and one individual silver. We were Surrey County Open SJ Champions with Tara M. becoming Open and advanced Open Individual Surrey County SJ Champion. Darcey Blaze M. took the National U21 title at the Le Mieux National Dressage Championship in September. All this success proved once more that our Equestrian team is amongst the best schools in the country. We saw three-title success for Will M. at the Trampoline National League finals in Sheffield. We were also delighted to welcome the news that last year’s 1st VII Netball captain Sienna R. has been selected into the Roses Academy Programme. Even though the summer might feel a long time away, we have 17 Girls and Boys involved in the County and academy Winter Cricket nets with Alex F. also playing for the Young Lions in September.
My last word is a huge thank you to everyone who makes the sports programme work. From the catering and grounds to the laundry, coaches, pupils and spectators. Thank you for what has been such an enjoyable experience and term of Cranleigh School sport.