For the first time in our history, Cranleigh School 1st XI boys football team entered the Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) Shield competition. This sees cup football matches played across two terms, which has seen the side produce some excellent performances and results to make it to the semi-finals To Date.

In round one, Cranleigh drew Twickenham Radnor House. The team could not have got off to a better start to the cup, winning the game 5-0 with Ollie F. being awarded the player of the match award. Round 2 drew Cranleigh away to Sherborne. The game needed a superb performance and Cranleigh came out on top winning the game 6-1, including a Milo R. hat-trick. Player of the match was Jamie M. whose composure in the heart of the defence was superb. Round 3 saw us at home against Reading Blue Coat who had only lost one fixture the previous season. The game was tense and tight, with Reading taking the lead early in the second half. Time was running out and Cranleigh’s pressure finally paid off as Edward L. scored a header at the back post to send the game into extra time in front of a large crowd. The game was end-to-end as both sets of players tired. Captain, Jonah C. produced a moment of magic beating three players to score inside the near post to advance the team into the next round.

The quarter-final was against Bristol Grammar School. The side played superbly well, with goals from Will S. and an excellent left footed strike from Milo R. putting us two up at the break. The passion on the pitch was second to none with the game finishing 4-2, with Luke W. having a standout performance. Our attention now turns to the semi-final tie on Wednesday 15th March, as the side travels to Birmingham to face Priory School.

Andrew Houston, Director of Sport said “I am delighted the Boys 1st XI have had such a brilliant cup run and we are all excited about the semi-final later this month. They are unbeaten this season and have played some superb football. What is so impressive is that all the players were involved in another sport last term, whether that be rugby, squash or golf and the staff and players have shown wonderful commitment to develop into a terrific side. They are leaving a legacy for future 1st teams to follow and I wish the coaches and players all the best in the semi-finals.”

Cranleigh School has an excellent football program with our Boys 1st XI playing in the ISFA Shield as well as putting out five senior sides most weeks in the Lent term. During the Michaelmas and Lent term we have a competitive inter-house football tournament for the girls and boys on a Monday night at both senior and junior levels. The Boys 1st XI train once a week in the Michaelmas Term as part of their ISFA and Lent term preparations. In the Lent term, we also have lower and upper fifth pupils involved in weekly training sessions as well as playing and representing the school in a variety of other sports on a regular basis. In the Summer term, we have fourth form girls football as well as junior football activities throughout the year in our priority time activity slots which happen three times a week. Mr Andrew Scarisbrick (Head of Psychology) is the head of football, with Mr Simon Quinn (Head of Maths) coaching alongside him at 1st XI level. Mr Scarisbrick also runs the Summer term girls football activity.

Mr Scarisbrick wrote that “the students have all bought into our football ethos of positivity, hard work and tactical flexibility. It’s fantastic to be around the players as they support and push each other on with their desire to develop. This collaborative approach creates a club atmosphere and benefits the players and teams across the board, which is why our 2nd and 3rd XI senior sides rarely lose a match. Without the students working together and putting the collective good first, it would have been much harder for us to be as successful this season. This is what I love about coaching football at Cranleigh, it’s not just the 1st XI results but the fact that over 25 players have consistently given up their time to train as a group during the Michaelmas term which has now benefited all our senior sides.”