The Autumn term has been a busy one for pupils at Dunhurst. For some this kicked off in the summer, as following a tough selection process last year, they represented the Prep School Lions at the Gothia Youth World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden. Once term started, we were straight into action as our Wednesday afternoon fixture schedule got underway. With so many pupils eager to represent the school this term, just under 150 fixtures have been played, averaging at 13 teams playing each week. In addition to football, hockey and netball fixtures, pupils have impressed in a number of swimming galas and cross-country events.
We are fortunate to have fantastic sports facilities at Bedales and it wasn’t long before we made the most of these with our annual schedule of host tournaments. These began with our U9 and U11 football festivals for local state schools, before the annual ISFA U11 regional qualifier, which sees the top two teams progress to the national finals at St George’s Park. In early October a whopping 24 teams took part in the U13 football tournaments played across the site. The final event hosted by the school was our annual U13 hockey tournament in which we were delighted to see our girls team come home with silver medals.
House sport has taken off over the last two years and we often find pupils eagerly checking the leader board in the PE department to see how their House is faring against the others. This year’s competition began with a number of hotly contested dodgeball tournaments in year groups, before we moved onto football, hockey and netball. The final House event of the term was the Badley Run. Pupils took on the course with energy and determination, knowing that as a whole school event, double points were on offer, which always significantly impacts the running total.
On a personal level, it has been great to see some of our pupils excelling in sport outside of school as well. A huge congratulations to Miles, Leo and Albie in Group 2 (Year 5) for being selected to represent Hampshire at district level in cricket. Congratulations also to Martha for being selected to play for Southampton Football Academy. Finally, a big well done to Evie, Annie, Marlowe and Annabel for their efforts on the hockey pitch this term which has lead to them being put forward for Hampshire’s Junior Development Centre.
Whilst many core sports have seen some real successes this term, it has also been wonderful to see so many pupils taking up the opportunity to progress their skills in some more specialist sports such as fencing and karate, offered as part of our activities programme. We eagerly await the start of roller hockey and cheerleading in the Spring term!
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.
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…!
Wednesday was the first competitive hockey fixture of the season with the Block 3 side (pictured above) taking on Block 4. Both sides had started to show some good improvement during their training sessions, so this game arrived at a perfect time and the girls did not disappoint.
A competitive game in the best sense of the word saw both teams play with attacking intent and impressive levels of intensity, but ultimately it was the Block 4s’ ability to retain more possession and a better understanding of their team structure that saw them home as deserved winners. However, a re-match is in the pipeline, and with more exposure to the 11-a-side version of the game, it is likely that the Block 3s will pose an increasing level of challenge.
This Wednesday the second team faced PGS. Various illnesses meant we lost a couple of regular players, but it was great to be able to bring India Saunders into the side to make her debut for Bedales netball.
As the game started, Mimi Fowler was excellent at defending down the court and feeding the ball into the shooters, and we were able to take an early lead, ending the first two quarters ahead. Continue reading →
A well contested game of netball, playing against a strong Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS) team. With Maddie Jeffreys out due to Rock Show rehearsals, we recruited Alyssa Leach from Block 5 to set up as Goal Attack for the senior side. This meant the team had to adapt quickly to a new member of the team, which did see a few teething problems in the first half.
The score was tied in the first quarter, but as Bedales settled they were able to pull away with a two goal lead by half time. This Bedales side definitely has strength and numbers in defence, enabling the defensive end to be rotated regularly, bringing fresh legs and fresh energy to each quarter.
The team left early to start their first match of the Hampshire Trophy Tournament – against the Churcher’s B team – at 1.30pm. We quickly went 1-0 down, before having numerous opportunities to equalise, which we could just not convert. Despite Anthony White’s miraculous efforts in goal, we went 2-0 down, before Ed Marshall-Smith and Cartier Clothier combined for a brilliant breakaway goal that took everyone watching by surprise. Churcher’s closed the match out with another skilful effort, but Bedales were the moral victors, and we took confidence into the next match against Ryde.
This proved to be a dogged affair, with the play travelling from end to end without either team being able to break the deadlock. Big praise for Jamie Price and Arthur Lingham, who were resolute in defence ahead of the brilliant Anthony White.
This week, the girls’ first XI travelled to Christ’s Hospital for the final game of the season. Arriving with only ten players, we knew we were already on the back foot. After a quick warm-up, the game got underway. It was clear from the outset that Christ’s Hospital were a strong side, and their attack down the right was extremely threatening.
Despite some excellent defending from Hannah Mazas and Bella Doyle, Christ’s Hospital managed to get the first goal, with an outstanding shot from the top of the D. Bedales worked exceptionally hard for the first half; Alisia Leach was excellent, and she controlled the play in the centre of the pitch, and her relentless defence distributed the ball brilliantly. However, time was against us, and we finished the first half 1-0 down.
On 20 November, the girls’ U16 hockey team travelled away to play Christ’s Hospital. The first half was a very one-sided affair, with Christ’s Hospital dominating the attacking possession and only the occasional individual run from Nell Freeborough providing any respite for the Bedales defence.
However, at half time, Bedales were very much still in the game, finding themselves only 1-0 down thanks to some fantastic saves from goalkeeper Tilda Gellatly and some last ditch tackles and interceptions from Emma Nelson and Shanklin Mackillop-Hall.
On 8 November, the girls’ U14 hockey side took part in the Hampshire Trophy Tournament. A bumper crop of schools entering this year meant that the level of competition had increased and the Bedales girls responded well, winning five games and drawing two, only conceding four goals. Unfortunately, this performance wasn’t quite enough to progress to the semi-finals, missing out by a goal difference of two.
The Bedales side performed exceptionally well across the afternoon. It was so pleasing to see the side perform using equal pitch time and steeping up to the challenge of playing in different positions. It would be unfair to highlight any ‘players of the tournament’, as every single player contributed and was incredibly valuable. However, it is worth mentioning Phoebe Kane-Moss, who has only been playing hockey since joining Bedales in September, and has now experienced her first county tournament and coped with it admirably.
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