Match report: Girls’ U14B Rounders v Churcher’s College

By Chloe Nicklin, Head of Netball

A fantastic match that only got better as the game went on. The Junior B team was made up entirely of U14 players, meaning they were against a team a year older, who were extremely strong.

The fielding performance in the first innings was superb, seeing great barriers from Coco Witheridge fielding between 2nd and 3rd base, as well as great backstop to second base team work from Millie Kennedy and Millie Harris. In these first moments, the back-ups to second base Kamaya and Maya proved vital, ensuring the batter did not have the opportunity to score at second base.

Unfortunately, the brilliance demonstrated in the field did not translate to batting in the first innings, seeing only three batters left with ten balls to go! We ended the first inning down 7.5 – 4. The second innings showed a greater batting performance and phenomenal catches from Millie Kennedy at backstop and a heart-in-throat catch from Kamaya, where it dropped from her hands twice before she secured the catch.

The confidence in the batting also improved, with Bedales starting to think about placement. Coco and Millie K really took advantage of this and were able to score rounders for the team by dinking it to their right away from all the Churches fielders. This was an extremely close innings with Bedales winning the innings 10 – 9.5.

This improvement in performance and tactical play is extremely promising for future matches and I look forward to developing this with the U14 side. Unfortunately, even with such a brilliant come back, it was not enough to secure a victory and the final score ended 16.5 – 14. Kamaya Nelson-Clayton was selected as the batting Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Millie Kennedy was selected as the fielding MVP.

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Encouraging lifelong interest in sport

Gemma Klein PhotographyBy Spencer Leach, Director of Sport

In 2017 a survey by Women in Sport found that only 56% of girls in secondary school enjoyed participating in sport compared with 71% of boys, and only 45% of girls saw the relevance of PE to their lives against 60% of boys. The gender split is worrying, but in truth none of these figures are good enough – at Bedales, we want all students to leave the school having enjoyed sport in some way, and minded to continue some kind of participation in their adult lives. Something I think we’ve done particularly well at Bedales is to help students who have arrived feeling that sport isn’t for them to find something they enjoy. No matter the student, they will always get a warm reception from us, and we will try to find something for them that is suited to their abilities and preferences – for various reasons.

For example, sport brings distinctive opportunities for students to learn about themselves and others, and to develop confidence – although this needs careful management. In a classroom you can make three errors in, say, maths, and it is not immediately obvious. However, if you commit three howlers in the context of a team sport, everybody sees them and it may prompt disappointment and frustration. This requires staff to be alert to the dangers when mistakes happen, and to help students deal with them in an appropriate way. This requires some emotional maturity. It is interesting that some of our best athletes can find this difficult. In such cases, the coaches will be aware of it, and we are prepared for when students’ thought patterns are less than constructive. We encourage them to see that they are still in the game, that they haven’t blown it, and even if they don’t prevail on that occasion the world won’t end.

Of course, in all of this there is sometimes a tension to be managed between competing and ensuring everybody is involved, which is particularly evident in team fixtures against other schools. There may be the temptation to pursue a win at all costs, but I’m pleased to say over the last 10 to 15 years a more sensible approach has come to prevail, not least because national governing bodies have played a big part in making the experience of young people more central. So, in setting up a fixture I will have a conversation with my opposite number about our relative strengths and what we can do to make the encounter meaningful. Will the students enjoy it? Will they be inspired to practise and get better? The results will take care of themselves – in a well-planned season we’ll win some and lose some, and have some thrillers along the way. We enjoy success, and try to learn from things that didn’t go quite so well. And if we win 10-0 there will be some reflection on how we can make the next encounter between the teams a more challenging affair for the sake of both teams.

Although we are keen to find something enjoyable for all of our students, I like to think that we can also give our excellent athletes what they need from us. We work hard to find ways of challenging them that are meaningful and which they will appreciate. If we think they can cope, we find them opportunities with older year groups, and if we feel students might benefit from moving up to another representative level, we can make that happen. Our links with local clubs and regional representative structures are very strong.

We are not a big school and it is unlikely that we will have sustained national sporting success, but if we’ve got lots of children who have a positive attitude to being physically active, and will keep that attitude in their adult lives, then we do the subject justice – just so long as we make sure that we also stretch those students who really do have the appetite and aptitude for great things.

U16 Netball v Prior’s Field School, 27.02.2019

By Mariela Presnell, Teacher of Girls’ PE & Games

This week, on an unseasonably warm February afternoon, the U16 netball team travelled to Prior’s Field for their fixture. From the outset it was clear that Prior’s Field were going to be competitive, but despite their persistence, we managed to finish the first half 15-12.

Some excellent defending from Maddy Upton put pressure on their shooters and made the circle extremely competitive and congested. Alisia Leach worked extremely well in the Goal Attack position, providing support all through centre court and displaying excellent movement skills to allow her to lose her defender and feed the ball into Goal Shooter Grace Vernor-Miles. In centre court, Daisy Flint applied excellent pressure down the court and took a number of tips and interceptions to slow the game down and allow us to regain possession.

Bedales managed to maintain the lead in the third quarter but Prior’s Field came back in the final quarter and the game finished 24-24. Well done to Grace Vernor-Miles who was awarded MVP – her shooting was excellent and her movement in the circle was dynamic.

U15 Netball v Prior’s Field School, 27.02.2019

By Chloe Nicklin, Head of Netball

Another highly competitive afternoon of netball. Due to some players not being able to play in the year above, some U15 players were moved up. This meant we gained Kamaya Nelson-Clayton, Millie Kennedy, Millie Harris and Lally Arengo-Jones from the U14 side to fill the gaps.

The first quarter saw a lot of congested play, with players driving into the same spaces. However, this settled and the play improved in the second and third quarters. The team started to trust each other more, which resulted in much stronger and accurate passes into the D. A fantastic defensive performance in the third quarter from Lally opened Bedales’ lead by five goals, ending the quarter 17-12.

However, the changes made in the final quarter made for a nail biting watch as Prior’s Field fought back, denying Bedales the chance to score any goals.

Some great performances throughout the game, especially Mathilda in Goal Attack driving onto the ball with great speed, some brilliant feeds into the circle from Mabel and some tips from Emma that broke the opposition’s flow. The final score was 17-15 to Bedales, with Kamaya selected as MVP.

U16 Boys’ Hockey v Churcher’s College U15, 27.02.2019

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

What an excellent match this was. The mixed age Bedales U16 side came across a talented Churcher’s U15 side and it made for an absolute thriller.

Churcher’s had most of the initial attacking play, but the plan was always to use the Bedales physical strength and speed to play direct and on the counter attack. This worked perfectly for the first goal as the ever present Arthur Lingham won the ball outside the Bedales circle, played a quick ball to Ed Marshall-Smith – who would go on to have one of his best performances in a Bedales shirt – followed by a release pass to Alec Grew, and as both teams thought the ball was going out on the bassline, Alec managed to swoop in and convert it with a superb one handed finish.

Deservedly, Churcher’s equalised soon after, but as half-time was approaching, Marshall-Smith once again influenced the game and neatly converted to make it 2-1.

Having worked incredibly hard with the bare 11, Bedales knew they were going to be up against it in the second half as Churcher’s rotated their squad of 16, keeping fresh legs on the pitch. Despite some solid goalkeeping from Laurence Johari and resolute defending from Charlie Abbott, Churcher’s deservedly drew level and were now having the bulk of the attacking play. The situation worsened for Bedales as they lost Marshall-Smith due to a calf injury with 10 minutes to go.

However, against all the odds, a powerful drive forward from Oscar Amis, followed by a penetrating reverse stick pass caused panic in the Churcher’s circle. Alec Grew positioned himself well and finished calmly to put Bedales 3-2 up and take the victory. A really enjoyable, competitive game that could have gone either way.

Boys’ 1st XI Hockey v Churcher’s College 2nd XI, 27.02.2019

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday the 1st XI travelled away to play Churcher’s 2nd XI and, having previously struggled in this fixture, were prepared for a tough game.

However, this was a week where everything just clicked for the Bedales team. They pressed high up the pitch and won a lot of the ‘second ball’, creating a number of attacking opportunities and winning a plethora of short corners, only to fail to convert any during the game.

Thankfully they were not made to rue these missed opportunities and set about creating and converting a number of open play goals. Goals came from Trumble Outhwaite (3), Loet Brouwer (2), Louis Beecham (1) and debutant Block 5 student Hugo Burnett-Armstrong.

While the plaudits often go to the goal scorers, it is also important to recognise the defensive contributions of Olly van Hoeken, Carter Clothier, Toby Fairs, Michael McQuirk and Finn Wilkins, who were quick to snuff out any Churcher’s attacking possession and allow the more advanced players to play with freedom.

An excellent team performance!

Boys’ 1st XI Hockey in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Competition, 30.01.2019

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday the Boys’ 1st XI travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Competition. In their first game the Bedales side got off to a good start, threatening with the pace and power of Loet Brouwer down the right hand side and deservedly went 1-0 up. Unfortunately, they then took their foot off the gas a little which allowed their opponents, HCS, to come back in to the game and earn a draw.

In the second match, Bedales once again took the lead but a freak deflected goal gave Peter Symonds College renewed hope, and as the game was nearing the final whistle, Peter Symonds scored a well worked short corner to take the game 2-1. This game appeared to knock the Bedales side, and in their third game against Ryde, they produced a rather lacklustre performance, deservedly losing 2-0.

The Bedales side used the break between games to revisit how they were trying to play hockey, and focused on more ‘stick to stick’ passing and better decision-making in the final third. This paid dividends, as in their fourth game they produced a hugely improved team performance that included some standout defending from Ollie van Hoeken and Finn Wilkins, which gave the team a platform to attack from. Two excellent individual goals from Jack Cecil and Loet Brouwer saw the Bedales side take the game 2-0.

The final game of the tournament came against a high scoring Barton Peveril side who had already won the competition. It was perhaps a bit of a surprise to the tournament winners that Bedales nearly took the lead, with the industrious Jack Cecil carving out another opportunity for himself. He was unlucky not to score as he calmly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper at the top of the circle only to see his effort roll agonisingly past the post.

As Barton Peveril moved through the gears, they were met with strong resistance from right half Carter Clothier and goalkeeper Anthony White. After a long period of resolute defending from the team, Loet Brouwer was ‘released’ at the other end of the pitch and left the Peveril defenders for dead, but having done the bulk of the hard work – beating three defenders and the keeper – he couldn’t quite add the finish. In the end, though, the Barton Peveril side were too strong and two superb finishes saw them win their final game 2-0.

On the whole, it was an excellent tournament for the Bedales side; the boys who took part were an absolute credit to the school and should be proud of their efforts – however, they may end up ruing some missed chances in the earlier games.