Match report: Girls’ First XI Hockey v Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS)

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

The girls’ first XI were back in action on Wednesday. Although the team were high in confidence after their success at the Hampshire Trophy Tournament, they knew they were facing a tough opposition in PGS.

The Bedales side were quick to adapt to the bouncy, water-based pitch at HMS Temeraire and made a lot of the early attacking advances, forcing a number of attacking short corners and it was from one of these that the incredibly influential Alisia Leach put the side 1-0 up. However, an unfortunate head injury to Rebekah Leach threw a spanner in the works, and despite some reshuffling, Bedales found themselves 2-1 down at half-time.

Further reshuffling involving the adaptable and impressive Leela Walton gave the Bedales team more footing in the game and it was incredibly evenly matched until a controversial PGS goal once again threw the Bedales side out of kilter, before two quick PGS goals put the game out of reach.

However, huge credit to the Bedales girls who bounced back once again, finishing the half as the strongest team and ending with a thoroughly deserved goal for Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. A special mention must also go to Anna Tasker, who came into the side late in the day and proved that she is more than capable of playing at this level.

Girls’ First XI Hockey in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the incredibly committed girls’ first XI hockey team travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament. After a sporadic two years of hockey, this was always going to be a tough ask, both physically and mentally. Things got off to a tough start as the Bedales side faced a direct and powerful KES Southampton side and were unfortunate to lose the influential Alisia Leach when a rogue lifted ball struck her ankle. The first game ended in a 2-0 loss for Bedales.

It is, however, a huge testament to this side that they regrouped. Alisia returned to play through injury and the team were determined to bounce back, Ruby Cole sparking some inspiration with her tough tackling, timely interceptions and accuracy when building an attack. The next two games followed very similar patterns: a lot of attacking possession but not enough finesse in the final third and opposition always a threat on the counter attack. However, this was consistently dealt with by full backs Shanklin Mackillop-Hall (fresh from completing her Gold DofE) and captain Esther Stewart striking the right balance of being calm in possession and combative when looking to win tackles and make interceptions and an emergence of Gala Pearson winning a lot of ball high up the pitch. This resulted in two 1-0 victories and put the Bedales side back in chance of coming in the top two places.

The fourth game was a 1-1- draw in a competitive and enthralling game vs Lord Wandsworth College B. Confidence was now flowing through the Bedales side, with Rebekah Leach pulling the strings from centre half and Leela Walton dominating in possession.

The final game vs Peter Symonds’ second XI was by far the best performance. The deadlock was broken from a deflected short corner strike that was brought down neatly by Rebekah and calmly slotted home and this was followed up with a thoroughly deserved hat-trick for the ever threatening Mathilda Douglas, who was assisted greatly by the driving forward runs of Sasha Arney and unbelievable work rate jumping back and winning the ball from Kamaya Nelson Clayton.

The side have now qualified to go through to the regional rounds in November. This is only the second time ever that a Bedales side has reached this level and the team should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Girls’ U14 Hockey v Alton School

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday evening, the girls’ U14 side faced Alton. This was the first time the team had played together, and for the majority of the side, the first time they had a competitive fixture on a full-sized pitch. It was therefore perhaps not surprising that early on the Bedales team found themselves 2-0 down. However, it was incredibly impressive to see the way in which the side rallied and forced their way back into the game – much credit due to the work in the middle of the pitch from Daisy Milton and Agnes Bathurst – to bring the scores level at half-time.

Some focused and brave defending from Jazz Daly and Jazzy Jordan kept a talented Alton side at bay for a good period of the second half, but once again the Bedales side found themselves two goals behind. It is clear to see that with this side though, Bedales are never out of the game; some driving forward runs from Ella Reid, Poppy Daly and Phoebe Land forced attacking territory and Bedales managed to get themselves back into the game 4-4 with eight minutes to play. The consistently hard-working Tallulah Plant, Inaya Strong and Iris Biles were putting everything in an attempt to force a victory, but it was not to be, and despite some excellent clearances from debutant goalkeeper Freya Hunt, Alton grabbed two goals in quick succession to finish 6-4 winners.

A thrilling game and exciting times ahead for this developing side.

Girls’ Second XI Hockey v Churcher’s College

By Jamie King, Teacher of PE & Sport

The girls’ second XI hockey team travelled to Churcher’s College for their first game in many months on Wednesday. Churcher’s were combative and difficult to contain, but with the help of some versatility from Greta Stilwell, who played in three different positions during the match, we were able to draw level at 1-1.

Our first goal came with Ottilie finishing the move after a lively and skiful drive into the D by the ever busy and purposeful Sage Bidwell. Ultimately, the game would be lost (final score: 8-2) but there were some very promising passages of play with the two Bedales wingers – including captain Anna Tasker and Rosy Riley – lighting up the attacking line and causing lots of problems for the opposition. The second Bedales goal was a wonderful individual effort from Rosy, who broke free down the right wing and cut into the ‘D’, finishing decisively in the bottom corner. 

There were excellent performances in defence from Maya Cressman and Lula Goldring, who were often facing an attacking overload but continued to put in strong tackles and vital clearances. The moment of the game came after a deflected long-range shot seemed destined or the Bedales top corner, only to be denied by an outstanding one-handed tip over the bar from goalkeeper Rosie Voyantzis. It was an excellent game showing lots of promise for the season ahead. Our Monday practice sessions will continue to develop the team’s cohesiveness and fitness levels. Well done to everyone involved!

Match report: Girls’ First XI Hockey v Churcher’s College

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

There was a sense of nervousness and excitement on the Astro on Wednesday as the girls’ first XI hockey team were back in action after a COVID enforced break. The team knew they had to be ‘switched on’ as they were facing a quality opposition in Churcher’s first XI and the match certainly lived up to expectations with both sides looking to play good hockey. It was Churcher’s who held the majority of attacking possession, but good saves from Tilda Gellatly and some timely interceptions from Shanklin Mackillop-Hall kept the Churcher’s side at bay for the majority of the first half. This, alongside the impressive Alisia Leach and phenomenal work-rate of forwards Mathilda Douglas and Kamaya Nelson Clayton, made for an enthralling encounter.

As the game moved into the second half, an unfortunate deflected own goal put the Churcher’s side 2-0 up. But, by virtue of her ‘do as I do’ approach, captain Esther Stewart kept the team focused and an exceptional stick save from the Churcher’s goalkeeper stopped Mathilda Douglas’ brave attempt to bring Bedales back into the game. As the match progressed, tiredness crept in and an increasing number of opportunities fell to the Churcher’s side – although it is fair to say that without the presence and influence of Rebekah Leach at centre-half, there would have been a greater number of opportunities.

At the final whistle, it was a deserved victory for Churcher’s, but there are a huge amount of positives for the Bedales side to take into the Hampshire U18 Trophy Tournament next week.

Bedales Summer Hockey Festival

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Last Friday saw the culmination of the Bedales Summer Hockey Festival. This has run for six weeks in the Summer Term, with over 70 students signed up and good representation from all year groups. I think it is a real credit to Bedales Hockey that we are able to produce a culture that facilitates these opportunities. Week in, week out, it has been incredibly pleasing to see every single player and team consistently perform at a good level and striking the right competitive balance.  

Finals day was no different, with extremely close match ups in the semi-finals between Team Wheeler vs Team Mackillop-Hall and Team Upton vs Team Shuster. It was Team Mackillop-Hall and Team Shuster who came out on top and went on to produce a tight and exciting final that had to eventually be settled by a round of penalty shuffles. Congratulations to Team Shuster who eventually emerged as winner.

In another closely run competition the ‘Golden Stick Award’ for the festival’s top goal scorer – which featured an incredible 18 different goal scorers – was won by Block 4 student Joe Cullen.

Thank you to Mariela Walton, who was instrumental in the smooth running of the festival.

Match report: Girls’ Hockey First XI v Barton Peveril College

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday the girls’ hockey first team travelled to play Barton Peveril College in the second match of a three-game series. With the boys having lost last week, and the opposition able to field a couple of national league hockey players as well as an England international, we knew we would have to perform to the best of our ability to stay in the game. Unfortunately, however, we got off to a slow start, and despite some outstanding work at centre half from Shanklin Mackillop-Hall, the Bedales side found themselves down 4-0 in the first quarter. The second quarter saw the Bedales side start to adjust to the pace of the game, but Barton Peveril remained too strong and added another two goals to their tally.

An incredibly productive half-time talk and some inspirational words from newly appointed captain Esther Stewart seemed to do the trick, as the Bedales side came out battling in the second half and slowly they started gaining more possession and creating more attacking possession. The right hand side of the pitch was particularly productive, with some nice link-up play between Leela Walton and Block 3 debutant Rosy Riley. Another debutant, Katie Mansbridge, was also impressive, working tirelessly alongside the ever consistent Sasha Arney.
 
The final quarter saw the best period of play for Bedales, as they created chances and the resolute defence of Maya Cressman, Shanklin, Esther, Leela and Lula Goldring kept Barton Peveril at bay.
 
What was incredibly pleasing to see was the work ethic and the team ethos that had been created. There was nothing left to give from the team: an attitude that can’t be faulted. All promising signs for next season.

Sport update: District Athletics, Mountbatten Stadium

By Mariela Walton, Teacher of PE & Sport

On 18 May, we took 18 of our Block 3 and 4 athletes down to the Mountbatten Stadium for the District Athletics event. In previous years we have taken 40 or 50 of our top athletes down to compete, but due to COVID restrictions, our numbers were limited meaning we took smaller teams and required all of our athletes to compete in multiple events.

Despite the rain in Petersfield the sun shone down on us in Portsmouth, and thanks to the excellent commitment displayed by our Bedales students, we managed to fill each event and get some exciting podium finishes!

Sage Bidwell cinched the win in the Inter Girls’ 200m, Greta Stillwell took first place in the Junior Girls’ Shot Put and Sol Arbib comfortably won the Inter Boys’ 1500m, with a time of just 4.55. First place finishes also went to Bruno Heggie, Louis Pattison, Sam Gibbon and Lola Mackay. Jago Levine qualified for the next round and will have the opportunity to compete at the Regional Athletics meet for Shot Put. He will be joined by Gordon Thistleton-Smith, who qualified with his 100m time.

After a successful day of events both of the Block 3 teams finished in fourth position of eight, which was a great effort. Our Block 4 boys team finished in second place out of nine, and our Block 4 Girls team took home the win, coming first out of seven teams. 

Match report: First/Second XI Girls’ Hockey v Gordon’s School

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday afternoon, we were both pleased and excited to host Gordon’s School for a first and second team girls’ hockey fixture. This was the first time the two schools had met, but knowing the calibre of Gordon’s, we knew we would be in for an incredibly tough two games.

In the first team match, Gordon’s came out blazing, going 1-0 up with an excellent reverse stick finish inside the first five minutes and within 15 minutes a slightly shell-shocked Bedales side found themselves 4-0 down. However, slowly but surely, the Bedales side picked up the pace of the game and started to earn more possession, increasing their pattern of passes and attacking threat, much of which was implemented by the impressive Alisia Leach.

Credit to the Gordon’s side who continued to move the ball round well in the second half and were a constant threat going forward. The scoreline could have been vastly different if it weren’t for the numerous tackles and interceptions made by centre half Rebekah Leach and the two full backs, Esther Stewart and Shanklin Mackillop-Hall. Towards the end of the second half, the Bedales side earned themselves a consolation goal – the hard-working Sasha Arney, chasing down a ‘lost cause’ to bravely bundle the ball over the line following a freak deflection off the post. Fantastic game against a quality opposition.

The second XI game was a much closer affair, with the Bedales team the more threatening in the first half, mainly down to the incredible stick skills of Anna Tasker at left forward and the incredibly impressive Sage Bidwell at right forward. At half-time, Bedales were 2-0 to the good, with a debut goal for Issy Robinson and a calm finish from Kamaya Nelson-Clayton, following a fantastic drive to the baseline from Sage.

The second half was a different story as the Gordon’s side shut down many of our attacking outlets and gained more and more sustained possession in and around our defensive circle. Goalkeeper Rosie Voyantzis and the full back pairing of Lally Arengo-Jones and Maya Cressman were all incredibly impressive but couldn’t stop a strong comeback from Gordon’s, who ended up winning 3-2.
 
A fantastic afternoon of hockey.

Walking in lockdown

By Chloe Nicklin, Head of Netball

This week, students have been sharing the view from the walks they have been completing as part of their exercise in lockdown. Thank you to Clara Stannah, Lula Goldring, Maia Blake, Maya Martin, Milly Trench, Nissi Mavurah, Posy Kingsley-Pallant and Rosy Riley for their contributions.