At the G Live Gala and Orchestral Concert at the start of this term, Guy Waller was keen to emphasise that the occasion was not so much about saying farewell to him but about celebrating something far more important than a mere ‘changing of the guard’: Cranleigh’s long-standing and passionate commitment to the performing and creative arts.

In the same way last Sunday’s Festival Cricket Luncheon was designed to celebrate two importantDSC_0258 aspects of sport at Cranleigh: our passionate belief in sport-for-all and recognising the many life-long friendships based on playing sport together, as well as the belief that we do not advocate sport-for-all for its own sake but because we also believe that it leads to excellence at the top level.

Backdrop to the Festival Lunch was a cricket match taking place on the beautiful Jubilee pitch, prepared as wonderfully as ever by our fantastic team of grounds men.  In theCrump first round of the Cricketer Cup the Old Cranleighans took on Old Merchant Taylors and a big hundred from Jack Scriven laid the platform for a resounding 283-run win.  Scriven’s 176, which came off 137 balls and took three minutes over three hours (17×4, 5×6), was the second-highest score in the club’s history and certainly one of the most brutal.

The Head concluded his speech to the guests with a list of recent achievements at regional and nationalDSC_0264 sporting levels, making clear the link between sport-for-all and success at the top level.  It makes impressive reading.

In Riding Cranleigh has won a National Schools Title each year for the past four years.  It was show jumping in 2010 and 2012 and dressage in 2011 and 2013.   In August 2013 our Junior Show-Jumping team won their way through to the final of the All-England Championships in the International Arena at Hickstead.

In Hockey during this same four-year period, our hockey girls have reached nine Regional Finals and seven National Finals at the various different age groups, winning two bronze and two gold national medals.  This year’s U16 girls managed the incredible feat of defending the National Championship Title we won in 2013.  At the same time, our boys have dominated the HMC Boarding Schools Cup, winning the title three years in a row.  The boys have also played in eight Regional Finals and seven National Finals, winning five silvers and two golds.  We were National Schools U16 Champions in 2010 and National Schools U18 Champions in 2012.

At Rugby no fewer than 28 Cranleighans have represented their county at U18 since 2009.  We’ve also produced ten players in the past decade who have been capped at National U18 or National U20 level. Another three have been selected to play for their country at National Student level. You also may recently have read that the 2012 skipper, Henry Taylor, has been making a big impact with the England U20 squad at the Junior World Cup in New Zealand while, at the end of May, Will Collier was picked to play for England against the Barbarians at Twickenham.   Will is hoping to win his first full cap in the Home International season later this autumn.  Also, Seb Sharpe and James Cordy-Redden have been training with the USA and Wales rugby sevens squads and they are both aiming to win a cap next year on the IRB sevens circuit.

This year’s Varsity Rugby Match was remarkable for a number of reasons.  One was that two undergraduates from the same school were playing: that school was Cranleigh.  Will Yeeles, last year’s Senior Prefect, and in his first year at Cambridge, was held up over the line driving for a score that might have revived the light blues’ fortunes.  Henry Lamont had already gone one better, scoring an outstanding try for Oxford, the second time he has played in a Varsity Match.

In Cricket, on a strong circuit, the boys’ 1st XI record since 2006 has been truly remarkable… played 130, won 80, lost 25, drawn 25.  We’ve beaten Tonbridge twice in the past three seasons and Wellington three times in a row.  In fact, Stuart Welch’s favourite cricket score is the one from the Tonbridge match two years ago.  Tonbridge all out for 112, Cranleigh 114 for 0 after just 12 overs!  Six Cranleighans have gone on to play first-class cricket during this same period, three of whom, Seren Waters, Stuart Meaker and Duncan Allen have represented their country.  Three others have been selected to represent MCC Schools in their annual match at Lords and three current Cranleighans are on the Surrey Academy Programme.  This year’s U15 XI have battled their way through to the Final of the South Region of the National Cup Competition.  If they win this match next week, they’ll play for the National U15 Championship in the week after Speech Day.

Girls’ cricket is becoming increasingly important at Cranleigh as well.  We now play twelve fixtures, including a match on the Jubilee against the MCC.  Claire Taylor, the first-ever female Wisden Cricketer of the Year, did us the significant honour of captaining the MCC XI three seasons ago.  Two Cranleighans have gone on to win cricket blues in the last few years, Lottie Waller for Oxford and Chloe Allison for Cambridge, and Zoe Burrell has captained the Combined Universities XI against the MCC at Lords. Finally, since being invited to join the Cricketer Cup Competition six years ago, the OCs have reached the final twice, sadly finishing second on each occasion.