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.

Parents’ Day Tennis Finals

By Graeme Coulter, Head of Tennis

On Saturday the finals of the intra school tennis tournaments were contested, with parents able to come and watch for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Six finals were contested over the course of six hours.

Harry Hornsby and Nikolas Beecham took on Hari Walton and Tommy Hornsby in the boys doubles. The youngsters from Dunhurst played to a truly outstanding level to win 6-0, 1-6, 10-5. The mixed doubles was very closely contested by Paddy Arrowsmith, Sasha Arney, Tobias Bonham Carter and Jade Mark. This final was a brilliant match where momentum flowed form one pair to the other. It was eventually won by Paddy and Sasha 6-4, 6-7, 10-5. Grace Vernor-Miles, Lally Arengo-Jones, Sasha Arney and Alisia Leach played the girls doubles final. This was another close match where either side could have won, but Grace and Lally held their nerve to win for the second year running 6-4, 7-6.

The junior girls singles was played between Lola Mackay and Rebekah Leach. This was an outstanding match and both girls showed amazing grit and determination to compete through injuries. Rebekah was victorious after nearly two hours 6-4, 3-6, 10-6. The Junior Boys singles was contested between Nikolas Beecham and Hari Walton. Both players played very well with Hari winning in straight sets.

The final match of the day was the senior boys singles. This was played between Tobias Bonham Carter and Hari Walton. This was the best final I have seen since the introduction of the intra school tennis tournaments 12 years ago. Hari won his third title of the day 6-4, 7-6, but credit to both players who were absolutely outstanding. I could not have been more proud of all those involved. You were a huge credit to Bedales Tennis and Bedales School as a whole.

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. 

Celebrating the ‘head, hand and heart’ experience

By Laura Greene, Block 5 BPA Rep & BPA Gatherings

This week saw the third and final Bedales Parents’ Association (BPA) gathering of the school year with a talk entitled ‘Bedales Outside the Classroom: Delivering the Head, Hand and Heart Experience’ (watch a recording of the talk here).
 
Lead by Deputy Head (Operational and Co-Curricular) Phil Tattersall-King, we were also joined by Spencer Leach (Director of Sport), Doug McIlwraith (Director of Music) and Jess Warren (Head of Psychology and Enrichment), along with two current Bedales students, Kam Nelson-Clayton (Block 5) and Jess Asamoa (6.1).
 
We looked at what’s on offer across the unique and far-reaching Bedales landscape outside of the classroom curriculum, and why these activities form such a vital part of the holistic Bedales experience for students and their families. We also delved into the need to strike the right balance between the compulsory and optional provision of music, sport, theatre and the myriad other opportunities available during a student’s time at Bedales.
 
The BPA are grateful to the team for giving us their time and energy and we’re so looking forward to holding more events like this one in the coming school year. Some online gatherings for those who can’t make it into school will remain, but we’re thrilled to start planning to gather together in person once again too!
 
One of the best takeaways from this week’s talk for me was the prospect of so many exciting events already lined up on the imminent school calendar that showcase the richness of our school’s co-curricular programme, with orchestral concerts, plays and dance recitals, the Rock Show and of course Parents’ Day all coming up before the end of this Summer Term. We look forward to seeing you around the campus and enjoying all that makes Bedales such a special place to be, together.

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.

Match report: 6.1 Girls v Boys Hockey

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Last Thursday, the 6.1 girls played against the 6.1 boys in what has now become an annual fixture for this cohort, having originated in Block 3.

Having won the last three years, the boys approached the game with confidence, possibly neglecting some valuable preparation time and were caught on the hop as the girls came flying out the blocks. Goalkeeper Patrick Bell and the central defensive pairing of Bade George-Coker and Archie Tier were the saviours for the boys’ team. However, with relentless attacking pressure from the girls – in particular Alisia Leach, Sasha Arney and Mathilda Douglas – it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken, with Alisia flicking in a low, powerful shot from a short corner to the delight of a partisan crowd.

An inspirational half-time team talk from the managerial team of Joseph Thanki and Harry Hornsby saw the boys’ team start the second half with renewed vigour. Despite this, and the skilful, quick attacking exploits of Paddy Arrowsmith, Joe Withers and Jamie King, the girls remained resolute, with Esther Stewart and Shanklin Mackillop-Hall, as ever, providing a calming influence at the back. As the boys’ fitness levels began to drop the girls’ side came into the game more and more. Increasing influence from Gala Pearson and Fleur Donovan ensured the girls side retained more attacking possession. Despite one last breakaway attempt from the influential Cosmo Hurwitz, the girls’ team held their nerve to emerge victorious.

Once again a really enjoyable game. Bring on the final game in 6.2…!

Match report: First XI v ‘All-Stars’ girls’ hockey

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the much anticipated hockey fixture between the first XI and ‘all-stars’ took place. The all-stars squad was made up of a number of the top performers across Blocks 3, 4 and 5, and was assembled to deliberately challenge a talented and hard-working first team.

As anticipated, the first team came out firing on all cylinders and looking to take advantage of the new look opposition, who were trying to find their feet. However, the all-stars managed to survive the initial onslaught, much owed to England trialist goalkeeper Josh Baty, who had kindly stepped in to fill that position to ramp the game up another notch. Despite the bulk of the attacking possession falling to the first team it was the all-stars who took the lead, through a fine individual goal from Kamaya Nelson-Clayton.

As the game progressed, Rebekah Leach began to have more and more influence for the all-stars, winning numerous tackles, interceptions and displaying an excellent range of passing. The final 10 minutes of the half saw a thoroughly entertaining battle between Rebekah and her equally impressive sister Alisia, who was driving the first team forward. However, no more goals were added and the first team went in 1-0 down.

The second half saw a further ramp up in intensity from the first team, driven by the tireless Mathilda Douglas, who was constant threat. But 15 minutes in and the all-stars defence had stood firm: with Block 3 Eliza Hayward in outstanding form. The all-stars team were now reduced to breakaways and counter-attacks but with the skilful Clara Stannah and pacey Rosy Riley they were always a threat.

However, a mature and calm approach from Esther Stewart and Shanklin Mackillop-Hall ensured nothing came from these breakaways and this calmness began to spread through the first team, firstly,with Gala Pearson cooly converting the equalizer after a melee in the D and then finally with Mathilda Douglas drilling home a deserved goal for her and a deserved winner for the first team. The final result was 2-1 in a competitive and enjoyable fixture. I am sure there will be calls for a replay (and hopefully so!)

Match report: Block 3 v Block 4 girls’ hockey

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday afternoon saw the rematch of the Block 3 v Block 4 Hockey match. With both teams making improvements as the season has progressed, it was incredibly pleasing to see them transfer these in to a match scenario.

The game started at a great pace and huge credit to both teams who managed to maintain this pace for the duration of the match, highlighting not only their fitness levels but increasing technical ability. There was very little to choose between the two sides and it was deep in to the second half before the deadlock was eventually broken as Ottilie Douglas managed to sneak a goal past the incredibly impressive debutante goalkeeper, Mila Lloyd-Stevens, to put the Block 4 team 1-0 up.

The Block 3 side were always a threat going forward with the skilful Clara Stannah consistently linking with the impressive forward running trio of Evie Donovan, Rosy Riley and Lucy Standish. However, the Block 4 side remained defensively strong, much of this owed to the work of Greta Stillwell, who made an impressive dash from an appointment to make the game in time and Rebekah Leach, who alongside her excellent work rate, stood out for her composure on her ball.

There was one final piece of goalmouth action as the Block 4 side converted a final minute penalty corner to win the game 2-0.

Match report: 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the Mem Pitch played host to the inaugural 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football match. Despite some tough playing conditions, both teams approached the game with tremendous enthusiasm and spirits certainly weren’t dampened by the weather!

The Block 5 team got off to a flying start, finding themselves 4-0 up inside 12 minutes. The fourth goal was particularly special, with a superb cross in from the right from Mary Whiteley that was met with an even better header from captain Romilly White, sending the ball into the top corner. The Block 5 side were a constant threat, with Kamaya Nelson-Clayton and Ava Sender Logan regularly making bursts forward, and Skylar Cazac a potent threat up-front.

Half-time was productive for the 6.1 side who regrouped and the second half saw the emergence of the influential Lila Levingston and more space opened down the right channel for the excellent Dora Wooldridge and Martha Clough. It was clear the relatively inexperienced 6.1 side were improving and starting to get used to playing as a team and creating more chances for the ever threatening Phoebe Esdaile.

However, as the final whistle blew, the Block 5 team had comfortably and deservedly picked up the victory.  A really enjoyable game with both teams eager to get back out on the pitch.