09 Nov 2019
Christmas Term 2019 - Sports Report, Week 8

Christmas Term 2019 - Sports Report, Week 8

Canford 1st XV squad tour Dublin 2019

Half term saw the 1st XV squad head back to Dublin to re-trace the steps of 2016’s cohort. With two fixtures scheduled over 5 days and 26 boys travelling it was going to be a good chance to keep the excellent momentum going that had been built up this season.
Despite the early start, spirits were high as we reached terminal 5, boosted further by England’s successful dispatching of Australia in RWC quarter-finals. After the game, it was just a case of herding the cats onto the plane for the short trip across the Irish Sea.

Once safely in Dublin it was just a case of negotiating arrivals and finding the affable Ken who would be our coach driver. Ken whisked us through to town to the Generator in the Smithfield area of the city a building that once housed part of the Jameson distillery. Fed, watered and changed into training gear Ken’s next job was to help us find a place to run off the travel and get a little prep for the following days match. Phoenix Park, is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. Larger than all of London’s parkland put together and home of the President of Ireland and the US ambassador to Ireland as well as Dublin zoo (providers of the MGM lion) so there was bound to be some space within the 1750 acres for some schoolboys to gambol about surely?

Maybe it was Ken breaking park protocol by driving us in on a coach, maybe it was the rugby shaped ball being used to play with but shortly after arriving and setting about a light training session, Brian O’ Brian, Phoenix Park’s erstwhile chief of grass protection tracked us down and asked us to vacate the area. Sadly, no facilities for rugby was the official reason, Irelands limp exit from RWC earlier in the day might not have helped our cause. So unable to use the vast open spaces we took our offensive shaped balls and jumpers for goal posts and vacated the area, opting for a light run with Mr & Mrs C whilst Mr Short heroically manned the kit with the sick notes.

With the plane journey out of the system and the rest of the afternoon to ourselves a walk back to the accommodation seemed like a good idea, allowing us to take in the sights of Dublin and a leisurely stroll along the Liffey back to the Generator. With Sunday being game day the evening was spent feet up in quiet contemplation.
Sunday game day 1 Starting XV vs Balbriggan Rugby Club: Archie VdF ©, Pat Taylor, Adam Phillips, Cam Powell, Sean Herrington, Toby Philpot, Rampaging Rob Thomas, Zach Fenwick, Sam Downey, Fred ‘Gator’ Charles, George Billson, Josh Davies, James Longrigg, Joba Agbedajobi, Giacomo Perin.

With Cam, Sean, Joba, all making debuts it was an exciting looking side that took the field. Balbriggan were a physical side but the forwards were in control with Cam Powell dominating the lineout and Sam, Fred and Josh pulling the strings behind we looked well set to control proceedings, particularly with James Longrigg running some nice direct lines, things were proceeding according to plan.
Balbriggan wouldn’t lie down and hit back with two well worked tries of their own before half time. The interval came and with it a chance to overrun Balbriggan with fresh legs off the bench. The plan nearly worked: James Longrigg continued to terrorise the opposition with his strong running and was brought down close the line. Stew Boyd capitalised for the first of his hat trick but it came at a cost to James, who injured his ankle in what would later be diagnosed as an avulsion fracture. We also lost JC to an ankle sprain not long after he had entered the fray.

With Tom Sykes putting the boys in the right areas of the field with a clever kicking game and Stew Boyd now taking up the mantle where James L. left off the dam began to crack and break. Canford ran out deserved 29-14 winners.

Our Balbriggan hosts were gracious off the field as they had been tough to break down on it. In the after match is was great to see boys mingling easily as they shared pizza and discussed upcoming opponents Blackrock. With the post-match formalities finished we said a fond farewell with promises to return once their new clubhouse was finished.

The coach journey back gave us a good chance to reflect on the game and in the true tradition of touring a chance to sing together. These informal moments are difficult to quantify as to how much of a part they play in the success of teams but they cannot be underestimated! Social cohesion has been a thread Eddie Jones has referred to consistently throughout England RWC campaign and
tours/pre-seasons are a way we can address this in our school environment.

Monday was a down day with a chance to visit Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Games in the morning. We all enjoyed the skyline tour, up on the roof of the stadium and given an excellent view of the city as well as getting the chance to learn a little about the Anglo-Irish past and the part Gaelic games play as hubs for many of the Irish towns and villages. The message strongly reinforced the notion of community and cohesion and highlighted the part Gaelic clubs play performing this role in binding communities and generations. It didn’t hurt that the sun was cracking the flags, bathing Dublin in some sunshine and giving us great views out over the Irish Sea and up to the Wicklow mountains.
The afternoon was spent at leisure in the city itself with boys free to roam and see some of the sites pointed out form the Croke Park rooftop. It seems that most of the party managed to make the most of Dublin in the sunshine where they found some lovely sunny spots where they could unwind and watch the Liffey and the world meander by.

Tuesday and Game day 2 started nice and leisurely with a slow build up to the late afternoon kick off at Blackrock. Lunch was followed by a light walkthrough, then bags onto the bus for the trip through town to the College. We arrived a little early which gave the boys a good chance to familiarise themselves with the ‘top lawn’ it is an impressive setting to be able to play a game of rugby. With pre-match formalities and warm-up over the team to take the field was:
Archie VdF, Pat Taylor, Adam Phillips, Joe Nalbantoglu, Archie Hunter, Toby Philpot, Stef Perry, Will Jones, Fred Charles, Tom Sykes © George Billson, Stew Boyd, Sammy Smith, Thomas Matthews, Josh Davies.
Bench; Rob Thomas, Zach Fenwick, Cam Powell, Sean Herrington, Sam Downey, Joba Agbedajobi, Ollie Taylor, Giacomo Perin.

The game started at a frenetic pace, any thoughts that we might physically steamroller this U17 side Blackrock put out against us were instantly quashed. The Blackrock defence was making their tackles well and doing a good job of slowing the ball available to Canford from the ruck. This meant Canford were rarely able to attack against a disorganised defence.

Canford were beginning to build some phases but each time it looked like something promising was developing Blackrock were able to thwart the attack or force and error from the Canford side. Worse was to come, 15 minutes into the match Blackrock were able to break, following concerted pressure they forced their way over for a converted try.

This stung the Canford boys into life with Tom Sykes probing the back field with good use of the boot Canford grabbed a foothold of their own in the Blackrock 22m. a series of lineouts and drives followed with Archie VdF launching a sneak attack down the blindside and forced his way over for the first try for the boys from Dorset and his 5th of the season. Pressure was now building, with Stew Boyd now getting himself into the game with some impressive runs through the middle of the field the quick ball that Canford needed was beginning to come. Excellent use of the ball through the hands from Sykes, Smith and Davies found Matthews on the wing, where he demonstrated electric pace to skin his man, and dot down to put Canford 10-7 ahead. The tries went unconverted, and with a penalty attempt missed the gap at half time remained 3 points.

The game remained intensely well contested with momentum building and shifting from one side to the other before Blackrock again managed to find themselves once more in the Canford 22 where they were able to muscle their way over for another score close to the sticks. Once again converted the pendulum swung back in their favour 14-10. This is how the score remained despite Canford throwing the kitchen sink at the Blackrock boys in a final effort to get across the line and win the match. This was a fine game of schoolboy rugby, well reffed and hotly contested, played right up to the edge of control on both sides, a fine advert for how far this group of boys have come as a team and for the game itself. The group left the field with pride and confidence intact, beaten by a good side on the day playing on their home pitch, seeking to pull one back from our first encounter in 2016.

A convivial post-match was enjoyed with boys once again mixing well with their counterparts and staff re-acquainting themselves with opposite numbers from 2016. Following exchange of gifts and a few words we once again headed back into Dublin enjoying another singalong on the coach ride home. With kit stashed safely back at the accommodation there was just the business of a reflective but enjoyable post match meal together, where we were able to mark the occasion of Stew Boyd’s 18th birthday, a landmark for Stewart, it was great to be able to celebrate this as a group. Once again the boys were marvellous ambassadors for themselves and the school.
Wednesday came and with it the end of tour, with just a trip around the Guinness storehouse and trip to the airport it gave all touring members some downtime following the exertions of the previous few days.

The overall reflection of this few days is one of great pride with how well these young men conducted themselves on and off the field and rose to the challenge posed by playing unknown opponents, all whilst living in close proximity with one another. New faces were blooded and older heads showed great leadership and character on the field. It leaves the squad in an excellent place to face down the opponents coming in all the exciting derby matches that are going to be upon us in the second half of term. It is one that the boys can look forward to with lip smacking anticipation. (Report by PTS)

Hockey 1st XI Girls’ tour to Barcelona

The 1st XI enjoyed a very successful five day tour of Barcelona during half term in nearly 25 degree heat. Three excellent matches against talented U18 club sides in the form of Club De Terrassa, Club Egara and Club Junior resulted in three narrow victories, and four goals for Players’ Player of the Tour, Sophie Saunders. Holly Hazzard was the Coaches’ Player of the Tour for several stellar performances and vice-captain Lizzy Balls was Top Tourist. It was a great trip in which the team conducted themselves brilliantly on and off the field. Full report to follow online.

Saturday 2nd November Rugby v Marlborough College

The 1st XV picked up where they left off from the first half of term, buoyed by an excellent tour to Dublin over half term. There was only ever really one side in this contest and as soon as Tom Sykes started using the wind at his back from the receipt of the first kick off there was a certain inevitability about the result of this fixture. Canford built pressure and spent time in the Marlborough half almost exclusively for the first 35 minutes. Filthy conditions meant scores were a little hard to come by, but Josh Davies took his chance to add to his season’s tally and dive over in the corner. Sykes added the extras with an excellent conversion from out wide to add to his two penalties.

Despite a commanding first half, with the score only 13-0, a strong wind in their faces and with the large Marlborough playing surface to cover the second half could have been tricky. Instead Canford continued to take the game by the scruff of the neck and were the only team to score points in the 2nd half, putting the game to bed as Archie VdF went over for his 6th of the season after strong forward play. Marlborough rallied late on and had a series of lineout mauls but Canford were resolute and “nilling” their hosts should give the boys great satisfaction. Next test is an away fixture to Bryanston to look forward to. W0-18 (PTS)

Once again Canford 2nd XV went down in a game where they promised much, competed well and were let down by gifting the opposition soft tries.

It was a miserable day up at Marlborough, with wind and driving rain the backdrop to most of the game. The first half reflected the conditions, with plenty of kick chases and tackling to be done, along with scrums and lineouts aplenty. Marlborough dominated the opening quarter and deservedly went ahead, having had one score scratched off for a forward pass. When the try came, it was a little soft, with no guard in place at the ruck leaving a gaping hole for one of their forwards to run in unopposed to the line from 20 yards out. Canford responded brilliantly, eventually establishing field position, through some good kicking and an outstanding line out, lead well by Cam Powell. Marlborough could not deal with the driving line out, and after a penalty kicked to the corner, Woody Millhouse burrowed over to bring the score to 5-7 at half time.

Sadly, Canford lost the territory game in the second half, and Marlborough began to grow in confidence, becoming more expansive with ball in hand (credit to them for this in the conditions). In a mirror of the first half, 10-15 minutes of Marlborough pressure resulted in a well-deserved try, but not without some staunch defence from the 2nds, with Will Hobden pulling off a couple of try saving tackles at full back and Rob Thomas at his relentless best.

However, Canford’s response to the try was another of those dispiriting and deadly defensive lapses. Straight from the kick off, one of their big runners carved through from the kick off as the ‘Blue Wall’ turned into the Red Sea, and this was repeated on the 2nd phase ball for another score. A good cross field kick from their 10 lead to another score for Marlborough, exposing our lack of specialist manpower out wide (we finished with a hooker on the wing and a flanker in the centre), and by this time the game was over. There was time for Woody Millhouse to dive over again before the end, before another soft try was given to Marlborough to result in a slightly flattering scoreline for them.

Once again, the challenge for the lads is to play for the full 70 minutes – when that comes, we should record another victory. Player of the match: Rob Thomas; L10-29 (PAJ & WMD)

One of the key aims of the junior age group rugby squads is to develop and progress as the boys move through the school. Over the last two years, the current U16As have succumbed to Marlborough, losing by margins of 24 points when in the Shells and 28 points last year as U15s. The time and effort this age group have invested in the last two years in developing their physical and technical abilities is a lesson to other year groups of what can be achieved if you are willing to work hard. A tight knit group of boys have developed great team spirit and significant improvements in self-confidence and this manifested itself with a comfortable 15-5 victory in atrocious conditions away last Saturday. Numerous try scoring opportunities were created but a lack of precision at key moments allowed Marlborough to stay in the game. Nevertheless a strong ‘pick and go’ from Tom Amy opened the scoring in the first half and Max Paget went over for another well-worked team try in the second period. Roman Gill knocked over a fine conversion from close to the touchline as well as a straightforward penalty goal and even though Marlborough bagged a five pointer, they didn’t really threaten again. An added bonus to this victory came from the fact that the game also operated as the semi-final for the Dorset & Wilts Cup and the boys now move onto the final later this month. W5-15 (MSB)

The U15As faced the stiff opposition of Marlborough on their return from half term, getting to play their first ever match on the Canford 1st XV pitch; Higher Park. The game started fairly evenly, with a period of back and forth, before Canford aiming to clear their lines, were charged down and turned over. This led to a series of phases from Marlborough, who eventually chipped over, recovered the ball and went on to score. Following this, Canford went through a period of strong defence, before Tyndall Kwan managed to scoop a loose ball and out run the opposition, running over half the pitch to score. Just before the break, Marlborough managed to go over for their second try in the corner, putting the ball through the hands and getting round the edge of the Canford defence. The score at half time, 7-12 in Marlborough’s favour.

Following a change of ends, Canford kicked off into the wind. Their game picked up, with a number of periods where multiple phases were put together, but all too often they ended in a handling error, often as a result of good defence from the opposition. Marlborough also managed strong periods, turning this into points by going over for their third try, bringing the score to 7-19. This held till the end of the game.

Nominations for man of the match fell to nine different players, showing the team effort that went into this performance but the recipient was Jack Robinson, who worked really well at the back, whether under the high ball, tackling, or joining the line. L7-19 (BIHC)

An even battle for the U15Bs not best reflected by the final score line. Both sides played some good rugby. Canford dominated the game for the first ten minutes with some excellent running with ball in hand. A few early errors turned it in Marlborough’s favour leading to a converted try. This put Canford on the back foot and led them to play very defensively. Tackling was impressive from the team but perhaps at the expense of the numbers committed in the rucks. This allowed Marlborough to dominate the second part of the first half scoring a further two tries.

Individually, Frederick Homer played very well showing great commitment in his tackles, sometimes stopping Marlborough even when it was three on one. Oscar Berridge was a welcome addition to the ‘B’ side providing fast ball for Rupert Hutton at fly half. Oscar and Rupert were put under a lot of pressure from the line speed of Marlborough but kept trying a variety of different approaches kicking, running and passing when they had the ball. Rowan Ford also played well in the backs. In the forwards, Alex Hu showed a good level of energy making key yards for the team. Ultimately, Canford didn’t get the ball enough to play their game because of Marlborough’s dominance in the rucks. Whilst they showed more spirit in the second half, we will be looking at competing at the break down in the next training session. Marlborough ended the game five tries up, scoring a further two in the second half. L0-27 (RR)

OK, so the 7-58 score line is not a very flattering one; it might appear that the U15Cs took a massive pounding from a much better team. Yet this was not at all the case. For significant periods of this game - five minutes here, eight minutes there - we were very competitive. In fact, in some areas, we were palpably the better team. Our lineout once again was a magnificently well-oiled machine; our set scrum was strong and dependable, and our rucking at the breakdown was aggressive and productive. So many good things to warm the cockles of this coach's ancient heart. However, if first-up tackles are missed, and strong, direct and fast (FAST) runners are allowed to break through to get behind our defensive line, then the try count is soon going to mount. And so it was.

Special mention to go to Elliot Eyre, who made numerous brave last-line-of-defence tackles at full back. Freddie Miller at the base of the scrum, who made significant inroads into the Marlborough defences with leg-pumping ball-carrying drives. And Hugh Blake who gave one of the best impressions I have ever seen of an African Hunting Dog on the plains of the Serengeti, in never giving up the chase of a Marlborough centre from the half way line and finally bringing down his quarry five metres short of our try line. I was half expecting to hear the sound of teeth on bones. L7-58 (JPST)

The U14As encountered a tough game last weekend against Marlborough. The muddy pitch made it hard for both teams from the very beginning, and unsurprisingly it was mainly played out as a battle between the two packs.

The first score came from the opposition, who dominated the territory with their strong forwards around the ruck area whilst Canford made great efforts to stop them. Later on in the half, Canford woke up and Ed Jack managed to break the defensive line in order to score straight under the posts which he went on to convert. The rest of the first half saw Marlborough score two more tries and retained most of the possession. With a much stronger second half display, Canford stepped up and scored two more tries. The first saw Luca Freeman run in a long-distance sprint, followed by Ed Shuster Bruce maintaining a beautiful low body position despite numerous defenders on him for a good number of meters before scoring. One of these tries produced an outstanding conversion by Eddie Jack despite the angle and wind making it seem an impossible task. With one minute left the score was 19-17 to Canford. Marlborough got a penalty straight after we scored and decided to go to the touch line for a line out five yards from Canford’s try line. Despite a huge effort from the whole team the opposition managed to build a powerful maul, scoring one unconverted try and winning the game 19-22. Special mention goes to Ed Shuster Bruce showing great strength in contact and impressive footwork to move forwards. Also, to Frederick Bowater; entering in the second half and showing some good quality tackles in his first ‘A’ team match. (ML)

Hockey v King’s Bruton

Somewhat back to reality with a bump then on Saturday, in typically English wet and windy weather conditions at home versus Bruton! The 1st XI started well, pressing high and denying the opposition any time on the ball or space to outlet. Numerous chances were spurned as we failed to execute the final touch to some sweeping moves. Goalless at the break, we finally broke the deadlock when Saunders, true to form, reacted quickest to her own deflection off the foot of a post to bury the ball high into the net on the backhand. We continued to control proceedings without adding to our lead, and the classic counter punch ensued when Bruton struck a (deflected) short corner ofc their own past Sasha Witter in goal. The resilience though is a real strength of this playing group, and Saunders was at it again as she rifled a drag flick into the corner to secure a 2-1 victory. We made hard work of it, but given the travelling miles in the legs and the exertions of three games and training in the Spanish heat, the team found a way to get the job done. (MDC)

The fizz is back!! Undoubtedly this was the best hockey the 2nd XI have played to date; the confidence on the ball, the passing and the energy was a real step up and a perfect way to start this half of term. A few strategic changes of position also paid off, so we made better choices and kept possession more successfully. Mention must go to Flora Lingafelter for scoring five goals! There were also two for Charlotte Brook and a good slap finish by Alice Milton. Well done girls we're both very proud coaches! (RHJH/RJCG) W8-0

The 3rd XI won 5-0 in some Baltic conditions away at Bruton. We passed the ball well and scored when we had opportunities, meaning the result was never in doubt. (RMBS)

Despite horrendous weather conditions, which included driving rain and gale force winds, the 4th team fought valiantly to win 2-1. 0-0 at halftime did not show the high possession that Canford had. The team would really like to thank the fantastic support from the parents and dog, who were out in numbers to spur them on. Goal scorers were Tabby Fuery and Lottie Speers. (CHJ/NEI)

The 15As were a little slow to get going in wet and windy conditions. Leading by a single goal at half time, we then found our form and went through the gears after the break, winning 7-1. A very complete team showing. (EJB/IW)

The U15Bs put in another very strong performance against Bruton on Saturday. We started the game very quickly and found ourselves two goals up within 10 minutes through Freya Brash and Daisy Askew. Jemima Carrell, on her Birthday, then managed to score her first goal of the season with a great run down the right wing. Next up Nuala Binnion, within minutes of coming on to the pitch, managed to grab her first goal of the season too. 4-0 up at half time and in a very commanding position, we mixed up positions in the second half giving some of our defenders a chance to have a go in front of goal. However, despite moving our forwards further back, Daisy Askew, Jemima Carrell and Nuala Binnion all managed to score again in the second half, leaving the final score at 7-0. (JRM/CEI)

Brutal Bruton! On a day that would have seen hardened mountain trekkers thinking seriously about turning back, the U14As ventured across the county border to Bruton. We arrived to find the 3rd XI looking glacial in colour, but just about still able to move. Our game descended rather quickly into a session of close armed combat - we were guilty of carrying the ball into contact far too often, when the occasion and opposition demanded a more expansive passing game. After a fairly even opening five minutes we eventually stamped ourselves on the game which was played very largely at the Bruton end. Bella Rose opened the scoring with a well-executed touch in front of the keeper. Despite territorial domination we struggled to capitalise on a number of balls played across the D, guilty of snatching at shots when a cooler head would have seen us score. A fine run into the D by Millie Davey led to the second - the umpire awarded a penalty stroke for some fairly agricultural hacking at Millie's stick. She stepped up to take the stroke and dispatched it unerringly past the GK’s left pad - before the umpire had blown the whistle for her to take it! VAR called for a retake - full credit to Millie this time for pinging the thing high past the GK’s right shoulder. Quality stuff! 2-0 at HT was comfortable.

Although we didn't score any more goals the second half was very much better. Our pass selection was much crisper and you could see the girls really working to move the ball on quickly. We created a dozen good chances, won some penalty corners, and did everything except put the ball in the goal. On the occasions that Bruton worked the ball up field, the defence held firm. They won the ball high up the pitch and switched it around well allowing them to work it back through open channels. My moment of the game came five minutes from the end when Jorgia Holtby showed us just how far she has progressed over these past few weeks making a superb smother save when faced with a 1 on 1 breakaway by a pacy Bruton forward. She and the girls in front of her were fiercely determined to keep a clean sheet, and their cohesive display was one of the features of our game. (PDAR/JDL) W0-2

A quick and concise warm up due to cold, wet and windy conditions meant the U14B girls were raring to go after the half term break. Quick early ball speed led to a succession of early short corners being awarded to Canford; one effort being saved by the opposition GK and another effort narrowly missing the near post. Despite the near misses, we continued to flood forward in attack, overloading the opposition which lead to Daisy Cullinan tapping the ball past the GK after good work from Millie Jeffries down the right. Canford came out for the second half in the same positive mood despite the bad weather, creating chance after chance. Our defence also stood firm when called upon which allowed our attacking play to flourish. An excellent performance from an ever improving team, hopefully a real turning point in the season. Thanks to all the parents who continue to support week in, week out! W0-1(CK)

Other news

Fourth Form pupil Robbie Hemmings competed at the South West Short Course swimming regionals last weekend and started the season in fine form. He took gold medals in the 50m, 100m & 200m backstroke as well as a hatful of silver and bronzes across other events (one of which was a senior age group 200m backstroke race!). Based on Robbie’s performances over the last twelve months he has been invited to an England Swimming National talent camp in December and we wish him all the best for that event.

Martha Taylor, Molly Fairbairn and Will Whitmore attended the England Hockey National Age Group Squad sessions last weekend and all are hoping to make the full U18 training squads when selection is made later this week. Our fingers are crossed!

For all this term’s sports reports and future fixtures please head to www.canfordsports.com

Sporting quote of the week:

“ The athletes who improve most all have self - awareness to understand their weakness and the humility to accept and do something about it”
Mark Burley

Director of Sport

Twitter: @CanfordSport

8th November 2019