13 Dec 2019
Christmas Term 2019 - Sports Report, Week 13

Christmas Term 2019 - Sports Report, Week 13

Wednesday 4th Dec: U16 England Hockey National Tier 1 Cup, 4th Round: v Millfield (h)

The U16As entertained a talented Millfield side in the last 16 of the National Tier 1 Cup on Wednesday. It was a much anticipated clash, and didn’t fail to deliver. We were on it from the outset, first to every ball and making good use possession, whilst also creating chances. Georgie Boon reacted first on the edge of the D to calmly pass the ball into the corner to give us a 1-0 half time lead. The message at half time was about recognising when the phases of the game might change and how best to manage that. Millfield started to apply pressure and equalised with a well finished backhand shot high into the net. The game was open, and we were still proving a handful on the break. One such effort saw Mia White on the end of a cross, only for it to be stopped by a Millfield body when goal bound. A penalty stroke was awarded, and Bella Hunter kept her nerve to brilliantly dispatch the ball into the bottom corner to give us a 2-1 lead. Bliss Billson was epic in goal, making some good saves and communicating well throughout, whilst the defensive unit held firm. Alicia Hudson denied them the ball in midfield, and when we pressed, Honoré Cutler intercepted before feeding Bella, who again remained calm to roll the ball past the keeper and put us 3-1 ahead. Millfield still had chances and we had to work exceptionally hard, but it was a fantastic team performance, in which everyone played their part, and a very satisfying win. We are now through to the last eight and await our opponents. One more win and we will go to the National Tier 1 Finals at the Olympic Park. Well done girls. (MDC/EJB)

Thursday 5th December Basketball v Gillingham

A satisfying win in a rather frustrating match. Neither side would have been pleased with their shot accuracy, but there was no doubting both teams’ effort and enthusiasm. Tommy Qian was our man of the match with most points and rebounds, but Lucas Au, Archie Smith, Jerry Hu and Henry Bailey also figured prominently on the stats sheet. Michael Ma was once again very positive in his role as stand-in coach. W25-22 (SLI)

Cross Country: PEDSSA Series, race 4 at Ferndown Upper School

The fourth and final race of the PEDSSA Cross Country series took place on Thursday at Ferndown. A depleted but strong team took on the flat course and Charlie Bird finished 1st to make it 3 wins in a row and win the series. Charlie was followed in by Jamie Barrington whose performance should see him finish in the top three for the series in the Inter Boys category pending confirmation of results. Strong runs from Rupert Peach and Finn Baker consolidated a strong team performance. (TH)

Rugby: Nat West Cup Round 4, U15s v Churcher’s College

The U15As travelled to Churcher’s College for their latest match in the National Cup. Having not played Churcher’s as a normal fixture before, the team was unsure what to expect. Conditions for the game were favourable, with the match taking place on their 1st team pitch. Churcher’s came out of the blocks hard, obviously well drilled, with purpose and drive, carrying hard, protecting their own ball, with pace, skill and footwork in the backs. Their first try felt inevitable, coming from a catch and drive inside our ‘22, followed by a hard line that scythed through the Canford defence. The U15s were not ready for this ferocity and lacked any line speed in defence. The home team’s second try came from pick and goes, close to our line, forwards doing the hard yards, recycling well and eventually going over. Canford seemed to wake up a little after this and managed to put together some phases in attack and defensive sets to stem the tide, but a further two tries were scored by the opposition before the half time whistle, the score 26-0.

The half time talk was interesting, with the team taking the lead, disappointed with their performance and wanting to make amends. As a result, the second half was a different story. Canford took the game to Churcher’s, unimpeded by the scoreline and slowly gained a foot hold, moving play up the pitch, playing territory, tenacious and organized in defence, hunting the ball and enabling a number of turn overs. The tackle count was high, with Mark Kosgei, Jack Janaway and Jack Robinson particularly notable, but all playing with heart. This resulted in some free play in attack; the ball started going to hand, off loads worked, breaks started to appear and resulted in Monty Hooker sliding through for a try. Churcher’s came back at Canford, eventually scoring, but having to work the play and go round the U15’s stalwart efforts. The second half was a draw on paper, but a moral victory to Canford from a spectator’s perspective. There is no doubt that the lads were able to leave the field with their heads held high, having been outdone by a professional team in the first half, but having held their own in the second. Final score – 5-31, man of the match falling to Mark Kosgei and Jack Robinson jointly. (BIHC)

D&WRFSU County Cup Finals, Chippenham Rugby Club, v Sherborne (U14) & Bishop Wordsworth’s School (U16)

Canford U14A played their best game of the year up at Chippenham in the Cup Final against a strong Sherborne team. Producing an incredibly bright start, Canford showed great effort and commitment, maintaining the ball and providing a strong defence from the outset. However, Sherborne took advantage of the wind on and forced Canford to play close to their try line, leading to a 12 point advantage at half time. The second half was challenging for the Canfordian side as they were playing great rugby but the score didn’t show it. If they wanted to win the match, they needed to reduce the handling mistakes and apply more pressure with their tackles. This was in evidence from an early score in the second half and then making a great effort to score in almost every minute of the half. With Jimmy Johnson lifting the ball in every scrum, gaining a large number of meters Canford got the chance to play for more than a quarter of the half deep in Sherborne’s ’22. Unfortunately, Sherborne answered with a great defensive effort to keep Canford away from their try line, becoming the Cup Champions with a 12-5 score.

Despite the loss, congratulations should go to the team for their great effort and huge resilience and for never giving up. (ML)

Playing under lights on the 4G surface at Chippenham RFC gave the U16 boys a new and special experience as they took on Bishop Wordsworth’s School for the second occasion this season, this time in the D&WRFSU cup. The first encounter saw a contrast of styles – Canford’s attacking ambitions against Bishop’s forward-orientated carrying and we anticipated a similar approach this time. Nevertheless, one always wants to start cup finals with a full complement of players but injuries had robbed the team of play-making centre Roman Gill, dynamic hooker Fergus van Der Flier, and versatile Harrison Hill. The commitments to the school play also meant that reliable squad members Hamish Ryan and Beau Gater were also unavailable so Jude Organ was called up to the squad for his debut.

The firm, hard surface of the 4G pitch certainly allowed our rapier like backs to start the game quickly and skipper Seb Gallego, playing at centre, used his explosive pace and power to open the scoring. BWS played as expected; one-out passes to big ball carriers looking to make dents in the Canford defensive line. This brought them back into the game with an equalising try and the first half remained a close affair. Strong carries from James Barker, Luke Zamoyski-Freitag and Ben Ashton were evident and creative back play from Tommy Davies and Joel Bibby kept probing.

The second half began in similar vein with Canford striving to play with width and pace whilst BWS continued to use their physical size to push Canford back. More scintillating back play saw the ball moved quickly and Tommy Jack finished off to double the lead. Once again, Bishop’s came back and one of their strong runners burst through to score in the corner. Canford re-grouped and counter-attacked with intent. Jude Organ saw his first action of the season in the cup final and his injection saw the ball moved on to winger Tommy Jack again who was finished off expertly in the corner to take the lead. A big shift in defence was needed and despite the brave tackling of Matt Kosgei, BWS built more pressure and scored again to tie things up.

The Colts needed composure and build pressure but unfortunately conceded straight from the kick off. To make matters worse the try was converted to open up a seven point lead. As time edged closer to full time Canford forced their way deep into the BWS ’22 but a turnover saw the opposition get hands on the ball and they hurriedly kicked the ball out to end the game.

Alas, the glory of a cup final win was narrowly missed by the Canford Colts but this in no way diminished the fantastic effort on show from all involved. L22-15 (MSB)

Squash v Bryanston

It is fair to say, this was a tough outing away at Bryanston, with the home side a dominant force in the middle to lower order. However, this is all useful team match experience for many of these players, who have developed in confidence throughout the year. I was particularly impressed with all their attitudes coming off court, discussing their matches and looking ahead to things they need to work on and develop to get to that next level.

Players of the day go to David Offer, who impressed at the top of the order and got our one big win of the day. Charlie Anstee, who had a marathon and four match points, but couldn't quite get over the line, losing 2-3 in a fantastic game and finally Rich Hare, excellent attitude throughout the day and even went and played again, narrowly losing the third 10/12! L14-1 (JRAR)

Saturday 7th December Rugby v Cranleigh School

The 1st XV went down on Saturday to a very strong Cranleigh outfit who were chasing a win to cement their place at the top of the Daily Mail Merit table. Skipper Tom Sykes was almost perfect with his attempts from the tee, which gave the boys from Dorset an initial lead and kept us in touch for large parts of the game. Ultimately, Cranleigh had a very good Lineout maul which they used to good effect and a very strong fly-half and centre partnership preventing us from generating enough quick ball to really stretch our opponents. The Cranleigh defence held firm and allowed them to sit three in the back field to make kicking to relieve pressure a real challenge and meaning our kick chase had its work cut out to deny opportunities for Cranleigh going forward.

The way the Canford boys finished this game is one they can be hugely proud of and one that sums up the amount they have progressed as a group over the last two seasons in particular. Cranleigh, searching for another try to improve their points difference continued to attack but Canford were dogged in the pressure and desire not to concede on the final possession that easily lasted 3 minutes of ball in play time. At the final whistle, Canford had pushed Cranleigh back into their own 22 metre line and it was our opponents who looked most relieved for the ref to blow his final whistle.

The boys have shown great togetherness on and off the field and have been a real joy to coach for both myself and Mr Leiper. We shall miss many of these boys next year as the Upper Sixth go off into the world but look forward to the challenge of shaping the next 1st XV squad of eager Canfordians. L48-20 (PTS)

It was always going to be a stiff test for the 2nd XV against a Cranleigh side on a good run of form, and so it proved. Credit must go to the Canford boys for scrapping to the end and for the pressure they put Cranleigh under, particularly in the 2nd half. However, with a classy 10, and some strong ball carriers, they had too much firepower for us to cope with, and they deserved their win.

Cranleigh got the early score that boosted their confidence, crashing over from close range after Canford failed to take several chances to exit. Canford hit back immediately though, gaining a foothold in the 22 after a good chase of the restart – Cranleigh were offside in midfield and Oli Taylor slotted home the 3 points. However, Cranleigh then did exactly the same, except this time with a 7 pointer, capitalising on a charge down as we tried to clear our lines.

At 14-3 down at half time, the lads felt they were still in the game, and with Rob Thomas and his young apprentice Ben Parkin chopping down everything that moved, and sniping around the fringes with ball in hand, they were right. Add into the mix the big hits and carries of Rory Jones and George Bilson, and Canford had a chance to get back into the game, but you felt they had to score first after the break. They got close to doing this, starting the half with plenty of possession and territory, eventually winning a lineout from a penalty just 5 metres out. However, it went pear shaped and within a minute, Cranleigh were scoring at the other end, as they hacked through, chased well and punished our errors. A 4th Cranleigh try put them out of sight at 24-3, but as has often been the case with the 2nd XV lads, they kept playing and were rewarded with a contender for try of the season. Finch Massam was the provider, producing a stunning arching and weaving run that took him from inside his own half with extraordinary pace around their midfield, before cutting back in to carve through the middle. Looking like he was going to score, he was hauled down agonisingly short of the line, but had the presence of mind to offload to the supporting Rory Jones who touched down. Will Hobden went close for Canford in the left corner, but Cranleigh had the last laugh and scored a well worked try of their own as spaces began to appear around the park.

It was a game that captured the season well – the result didn’t go our way, but the boys didn’t let that stop them enjoying the game, or working incredibly hard for each other. They have been a credit to the school, with Rob Thomas always leading from the front, and (as the season progressed), no one taking a backward step behind him. Thank you lads. L33-10 (Rev J and Mr Doherty).

After the disappointment of losing the County Cup Final less than 48 hours earlier the Colts faced a severe test against a Cranleigh team who had put BWS, Canford’s victors in the cup, to the sword back in September. To make matters worse two key players, Luke Zamoyski-Freitag and James Ashurst, were ruled out of this final match of the season due to concussions picked up in the final. Thankfully, Fergus van der Flier was returning to the fore after a three match absence, along with our two thespians Beau Gater and Hamish Ryan, but there were only 17 fit players available for the U16s.

The opening forays were fairly even with both teams seeking to play expansively and the tackle area was fiercely contested. Cranleigh opened the scoring after busting through the Canford defensive line following some sustained pressure, but the 7-0 lead was reduced by a five pointer, from no.8 James Barker who smashed over. The rest of the first half saw attacks from both teams challenge the respective try lines but it was skipper Seb Gallego, who grabbed the lead for Canford with a scintillating burst and power-fend to go over under the posts. Despite playing no.8 James Barker showed his fine footballing skills by slotting the conversion to give Canford a 12-7 lead but Cranleigh scored a late try to tie things up at half time.

The immense spirit and belief in each other has been evident amongst the Colts all year and there was a visible determination to see this game out and finish the season off on a real high. The second half was dominated both territorially and ball in hand by Canford and Gallego came to the fore again with another fantastic try outpacing the Cranleigh defenders. Barker once again converted which saw Canford race out to 19 points but Cranleigh were not going to lie down and they in turn came back with a converted try of their own to make the score 19-17. The Canford boys exhorted each other for more effort and didn’t disappoint. After sustained pressure, ferocious flanker Joe Bland went over and the lead was 24-17. There were more brilliant attacks and line breaks by Canford but handling errors saw gilt-edged scoring opportunities missed and so the last few minutes were far more nerve-racking then they needed to be. Nevertheless, Canford nullified Cranleigh’s last two set piece attacks to take the victory.

Only a small number of Colts boys committed to the 2019 rugby season but the heart, passion and commitment from the 23 boys involved at various points has been outstanding. It has created a bond and team spirit I have rarely seen in my 23 years of coaching rugby at Canford, and it has been an absolute pleasure to be part of this group’s progress. I am excited at the potential of this group of boys and wish them all the very best of luck in their rugby careers going forward. (MSB)

The U15As took on Cranleigh, away in the last match of the season. Canford took the game to the hosts for the first couple of minutes and the coaches thought the team might have got over their penchant for slow starts. Sadly, this wasn’t the case, with Cranleigh’s backs looking sharp, finding space out wide on two occasions, scoring two tries. The U15s then started to get control of the game, playing a good 2nd quarter, winning the breakdown battle, starting to make line breaks and dominating set piece forwards play. This included a lovely line break from Chris Litchfield, which would probably have resulted in a try, had the support managed to keep up. Points eventually came through a hard line from Felix Synott and a conversion from Chris Litchfield. The score at half time was 7-12, with Canford in the ascendency.

The team started brightly in the second half and for the first five minutes had Cranleigh pinned back in their half. Cranleigh then managed to get the ball back, unleashed their backline and got round us. A brilliant bit of back-tracking and scramble tackling from Tyndale Kwan, Jack Robinson and Chris Litchfield, slowed the play and Mark Kosgei managed to hold up the subsequent dive for the line. This was followed by a 5m scrum. Their 8 went blind, was stopped, but managed to recycle, going over from a pick and go. This phase of play from Cranleigh went against the run of play and Canford were soon back up the other end of the park, winning a penalty in front of the posts. The team chose to kick the points, with Chris Litchfield nudging the ball over to make the score 10-17 and Canford with the chance to draw the game with a try and conversion. Canford continued to hold sway in play, with Monty Hooker looking dangerous around the base of the rucks and Jack Janaway wreaking havoc at the breakdown. Mark Kosgei eventually went over in the right corner, with a minute left to play. The conversion a little too much of an angle. The final score was 15-17 to Cranleigh. Man of the match votes went to Felix Synott, Jack Janaway, Chris Litchfield, Monty Hooker and Mark Kosgei; with Jack Janaway taking the largest share. (BIHC)

A brilliant game to end the season. The U15Bs played like a true group of ‘Jedis’. Learnt well they have from Mr Parkin’s guidance.
True rugby values shone through in this match; teamwork, commitment and respect for the game. The first quarter saw Canford dominant in the rucks. Our strategy of big first tackles was again effective. Freddie Miller was notable in the number of tackles he made. This led to an early try from Tom Ling, converted by Eliot Eyre. Cranleigh came back after this and put up more resistance giving them more control of the ball. Canford were struggling with their line out and scrums, which gave Cranleigh, even more time on the ball. With ball in hand, Cranleigh tested out our full back with several kicks. Elliot Eyre responded well taking the ball confidently in hand and running with varied lines. Ultimately, though this strategy paid off for Cranleigh. A lucky bounce from a kick downfield led to a Cranleigh try. This left the score line at 7-7 at half time.

The second half saw both teams coming out wanting a win. Canford regained their dominance at the rucks and ran well with ball in hand. They took the ball from Cranleigh from their own twenty-two and ran with it, in four phases, the full length of the pitch. Elliot Eyre scored with a try in the corner. This was true ‘champagne rugby’. Canford then had a full ten minutes to defend against a strong Cranleigh side not content to lose on their home turf. A few penalties from Canford meant that they found themselves back on their own twenty-two trying to turn over the ball. Despite Cranleigh’s best efforts, the Canford defence was resilient. The game ended 12-7. A great end to the season. Man of the match - Freddie Miller (RJR & OTP)

After a tough cup final played on Thursday the U14As were excited about what would be the last fixture of the year against Cranleigh.
Weather was cold, but fortunately with no signs of rain ahead of the game. Starting full of confidence, the team showed great determination while contesting the breakdown and trying different set plays practiced during the year. However, after some good pressure from the visitors who managed to capitalize on Canford’s mistakes the first half score was 0-15 for Cranleigh.

The second half was different though. Cranleigh still got to score a few times but Canford started working hard to move the ball forward, especially after some great momentum created by strong players such as Eddie Jack, Ed Shuster Bruce, George Burnell and captain Jimmy Johnson. The forwards realized there were potential spaces next to the rucks and therefore started to use more pick and go’s and great offloads so that ball stayed alive. Scoring four tries in the second half was a fantastic achievement and the boys just ran out of time to win the match. Man of the match went to Munashe Motsi, who carried hard, cleared out rucks well and tackled like a man possessed. L22-27

As the season ends, we want to recognize this young team, for not only their great achievements, but also their willingness to learn and enjoy this sport together, something that goes far beyond results. (ML & DFL)

The mighty U14Bs played against one of their toughest opponents of the season so far in Cranleigh, who arrived with a strong, large but agile team. As soon as the referee blew the whistle for kick off Cranleigh put the pressure on Canford’s attack, their defence was definitely superior to Canford’s, making for a good challenge. Canford truly had to band together and work as a team and whenever they did, there was a glimpse of a scoring opportunity however, unfortunate mistakes led to turnover balls and counter attacks form Cranleigh. Canford U14Bs have been working on their defence over the last few training sessions and the hard work they have put into those sessions were on show during the game. During Cranleigh’s phase play Canford defended them well, doing a great job to slow Cranleigh down in the rucks and even sometimes turning the ball over.

The game finished with a 41-0 win to Cranleigh, their ability to expose Canford during a quick counter attack led them to success however, their win was still hard-fought. Canford have developed well in the last term and I believe they have the ability to become a spectacular team to watch, all they need is time to finish developing their skills. (FS)

Hockey v Marlborough

The 1st XI played their final league match of the term against a resolute and determined Marlborough side. Though Marlborough’s chances of progressing from the league had gone, they did not make it easy for us. We started brightly, and could have scored twice in the early stages. As is often the case, the opposition then scored against the run of play from a penalty corner straight strike. Ten minutes later, Captain Martha Taylor fired a bullet reverse stick strike into the bottom corner to level the tie at 1-1. The second half played out in much the same way – we had a number of excellent chances to put the game to bed and should have done so, but we agonisingly saw shots squirm wide, hit the post, or be foiled by some persistence Marlborough defence. With the clock ticking towards the end, we were increasingly desperate to find a winner. Players’ Player of the Year, Martha then produced a moment of pure genius as she weaved her way majestically through at least half a dozen players, before rounding the keeper in a crowded D and diving to make the crucial contact as the ball found the net. Pandemonium followed, in what we thought was the winner with 90 seconds left. However, Marlborough charged at us and several moments contributed to the award of a penalty corner on the final whistle. With the last play, Marlborough smashed the ball direct into the goal to secure a 2-2 draw and leave our progression from the league into the National knockout quarter finals in the balance after Christmas. My thanks to the entire team and their parents for a very successful period of Canford Hockey, epitomised by the stellar efforts of such a talented group. (MDC)

Last match of the season for the 2nd XV! This one being on Brook, marked the last time Bella Brown and our 2nd XI captain Ella Heffner would wear the royal blue polo and boy they were up for it! We’ve always been a team that likes to keep the ball but considering Marlborough’s half court press style of play, we wanted to do it even more. For the first five minutes of the match Canford just kept the ball without giving the opposition a chance of winning it back until one inaccurate pass meant we were running back chasing a Marlborough player that after a few rebounds ended up putting the ball at the back of the net with a nice backhand flick. Player by player, it looked like a very even match but after Marlborough’s goal there was only one team in it. Canford’s first goal saw a side line hit taken by Lucy Norris in our own half, transferred to Maddie Lyles (via our CBs Molly and Rosie), who passed it inside to Charlotte. She turned her marker, looked up and made a really nice through pass to an open Alice on top of the D that was too easy for a player of her quality to miss. The rest of the match was a display of short corner routines from Canford; four goals, all from multiple short corner plays and scored by different players. One more goal just before the final whistle meant Canford won 6-1.

Onto the season awards; Most Improved Player (voted by the players themselves) was taken almost unanimously, by Maddie Lyles. She has worked as hard as anybody, but also smartly; she has always been asking questions trying to improve her game and it worked to perfection. Players’ Player of The Year was voted (deservedly so) to the skipper Ella Heffner who has played multiple positions throughout the year and always made an impact in all phases of the game while also leading the team with her imaginary armband. Molly Taylor took Coaches’ Player. As coaches we could always trust her when she had the ball at the back and we knew she would always make the right decision. Defensively she has been a force to be reckoned with, appearing out of nowhere to stop a counter or to save a sure goal. As coaches, we were very happy about how everyone contributed and anybody could have taken these awards on a very successful season for the 2nd XI. (RHJH/RJCG)

An impressive start to the 3rd XI game saw Canford go close on a number of occasions and really controlled play in the midfield. Tessa Marley was imperious at the back snuffing out all opposing attacks and Captain Connie Doxat once again silky skilled on the left, helping to create a beautifully taken goal by Serena Blake. Marlborough came back strongly in the second half and unfortunately an error led to their first score. Continuous Canford pressure failed to get results despite some well taken short corners and when Marlborough scored a second time it was against the run of play, to lead 2-1. A final attack went just wide in the dying seconds as we searched for an equaliser, but all round it was an impressive final performance to round off the term. (RMBS)

By far the 4th XI’s best performance, winning 3-1! The team were dominant for most of the match and looked like scoring 4 or 5 goals at one stage. Marlborough were threatening at times and deserved a goal, but the defence were fantastic, in particular, Jess Fry, Amber Howard and Sophie Alcock - all very effective at critical moments in the game. What was unique about this performance was the forwards who were able to find combinations that caused the Marlborough defence all sorts of problems. India Rose on right wing was very effective linking well with Jessie Shuttleworth, who put away two great goals. The second was a tap in at the left post and if it wasn’t for her commitment to chasing down every ball, she would have missed it. No surprises that Bella Stanley picked up a goal either. The Marlborough coach commended the girls for their performance against a side which up until then had not conceded a goal. (CHJ/NEI)

The last game of the season no matter who you are playing always feels very special. The U15A girls have been surrounded by each other all term in the highs and lows of our fixture list, worked hard for each other and now it all comes down to this last match. They all seemed a little nervous at the start and our camp was not at full strength with a few injuries. The girls started very well; calm and under control and looking for opportunities when we could. The game got tighter and a few miss passes here and there caused Marlborough to break score a goal out of nothing really. For the rest of the half Marlborough were aggressive, attacked well and any time we had the ball seemed to always have two girls trying to get the ball back.

The half time whistle came at a good time as we needed to rest and take stock of what was happening. Not long in to the second half they broke again with players high up the pitch and Mia Ashby-Rudd did all she could, but with an overload of players it was always going to be a tall ask. The girls started again to play in the wider areas, moving the ball quicker, looking to go forward. After an attacking short corner, we managed to keep the ball and get back inside the D, the ball was passed around and eventually Varya Darling managed to slot the ball in the goal. This sent a real bolt of energy into the team as they knew the fight was on and it was possible. For the last 11 minutes the ball was mainly with us, we had many chances and performed really well but we just couldn’t convert the ball into the back of the net!

I just would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the girls for all of their commitment to each other. They have been a joy to work with and I have really enjoyed many hours on the hockey pitch! Also to all of the parents who have travelled around to come and watch this girls play. L1-2 (EJB/IW)

The U15Bs’ excellent season unfortunately finished with a tight 2-0 defeat to a very strong Marlborough side. We started the game well, keeping our shape and moving the ball down the sidelines. However, as the half progressed the Marlborough side started to see more and more of the ball. The game became very crowded which seemed to suit Marlborough’s physical style of play. Thanks to some last ditch tackling and some incredible shot stopping from Ruby we made it through to half time without conceding. The second half saw the game open up much more, but unfortunately Marlborough were finally rewarded with a goal for all their pressure. We continued to work very hard off the ball and tried to catch them on the break, but we struggled to penetrate their D. With 5 minutes to go having committed lots of players forward, Marlborough managed to catch us on the break with a very well worked goal, leaving the final score 2-0. Despite the result, the girls put in an amazing effort. They have been brilliant all season and I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work. (JRM/CEI)

It seems the recurring theme in many – if not all – of the match reports I write for the U15Cs of problems we usually endure prior to the game, and of course it is fitting that our final match of the season was no different. Due to rearranged timings and the Chicago musical, we found ourselves limited to 14 players we could take with us away to Marlborough. On the day, we lost two more, leaving us with a 12 player strong squad. The final score, 6-0, does in no way reflect the performance of the team that day. Losing Louisa A’barrow early on to a finger injury threw the team for six (literally, we were later to learn). Some standout performances from Lucy Fitzgerald and Hanna Neill kept us in the game until the final whistle, and two-time 15C’s goalie Tash Pettifer walked away with player of the match, which was hugely deserved considering the Marlborough side had 11 attempts on goal in total – a fantastic statistic for a goalie with little training. Coaching the 15C’s this year has been a pleasure for Jenny and I, and we have been so proud of the improvements made throughout the term. Keep it up girls! (MRW)

Canford U14As were at the races from the very first whistle today, first to the ball, confident to move the ball on, with some lovely fluent passing moves. In the first five minutes, Frances powered into the D from the right mid channel and hit a superb rising shot across the keeper. It had “goal” written all over it but the Marlborough defender covering back on the line somehow managed to swat the ball out of the air - it was a thousand to one clearance and tough on Francie who has worked so hard on her game this term and deserved to score. Not to be denied within five minutes we were ahead. A lovely sweeping move this down the left which released Elle in front of goal, who swept the ball home powerfully for 1.0. So good to see Elle playing with the wind in her sails and confidence high. On her day she is such a handful for her oppo and today she ran the Marlborough defence ragged down the centre and right channels. We played some lovely stuff in the first half - for the first time our link up play looked composed and we drove powerfully into the Marlborough half on repeated forays. Very much against the run of play Marlborough scored an equaliser; we gave the ball away trying to transfer out of defence when that particular option wasn't on, and Marlborough squeezed in a shot from a bit of a gift. Tough on Jorgia this who has worked so hard this term to improve her technique, and so often has been unflappable under enormous pressure.

In the second half our lack of numbers on the bench started to tell. Francie was carrying a knock and we were down to the bare bones. As legs tired we lost a bit of our edge, but still looked pretty comfortable in all areas of the pitch. With ten to go, we poured forwards, nicked the ball from the Marlborough defence, and there was Bell with yet another trademark poach at the back post to put us ahead. It was no more than we deserved! The last five minutes got a bit ragged: we got a bit over-excited and poured forwards when a hockey head would have saved energy and contained. Marlborough withdrew their keeper to have a go with eleven outfield players and we had chances to roll in a third to make matters safe. At the death Marlborough had a chance for a tap on at the far post but thankfully missed the ball - it would have been an undeserved point for them. W2-1 (PDAR/JDL)

The U14B’s have worked hard all season and we’re excited to have their final match against a strong side. However, a long bus journey, coupled with only a short warm up meant we were slow out the blocks. Sadly, Canford never quite got going and we lost 7-0 despite Bibi Rogers producing numerous saves in goal. None the less, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable season and the team has improved week in, week out. Thank you to the parents for their support throughout the season, it has been invaluable. (CJK)

The mighty U14C’s knew they were going to be up against it when they spied that the opposition had beaten good sides this season. BUT, undeterred, they took on the challenge. We managed to start well, despite the 2 hour coach journey and held it to 0-0 for the majority of the first half. Emily Li in the midfield worked very hard and the defence, especially Allegra Gamett-Griggs as sweeper and Amelia Spicer, Lara Edsall and Zara Holt as backs were kept busy throughout. Francesca Baillieu was the coaches’ player of the match, wowing the crowd with her sliding saves and belting clearances from Goal. Mia Ulyett as Captain kept a cool head and there were moments when Ellie Paget and Rose Baldwin stormed our goal and looked dangerous! There was only so much that we could do (dropping Molly Peacock into the defence as an extra, slowed things for a while!) ; we have to admit to being a little out gunned. Did we give up? Never! Did we lose? Yes just fractionally by 6 goals to 0. (CDB/BS)

Many thanks to all staff and players for their fantastic efforts this term, representing our Canford teams in such fine style.

Football: 1st XI v Sherborne 1st XI

A sudden deluge of late-notice meant we departed for Wells Cathedral with only 11 players on the minibus. Ah, we thought, though not ideal, our boys’ fitness levels should ensure competitiveness.

Alas, it was not so. Upon stepping off the minibus, our midfield dynamo announced that he was ill – but had travelled as he didn’t want to let the team down. This, of course, is noble and evidence of the fantastic team spirit in the group – but also perhaps more useful if delivered before departure. Though the colour of a glow-in-the-dark ghost, he made it to the field – but was naturally less mobile than Jan Molby would be if playing today.

The Oaks conceded three goals in the opening ten minutes – and three soft goals at that. A fourth followed towards the end of the first 40 minutes. Heads could be hanging at this point, but the boys were still very much up for it, buoyed by the fact that they’d created chances and been a little unlucky to be this harshly punished. They went out all guns blazing in the second half and actually managed to be the dominant team – despite playing with ten men – but another own goal (the second of the day) following a pinball clearance – was a setback. The Oaks got a goal back, though, and left the pitch with a 6-1 deficit.

Still, it has been a great term, and the boys have every reason to be proud of their endeavour, spirit and top level. (SV)

2nd XI v Milton Abbey 1st XI

The much strengthened Acorns went into their last game of the season looking for their first win of the campaign against a strong Milton Abbey side who beat us well earlier in the season. Canford started brightly with a high press from Max Anand and the new signing Charlie Peplow putting constant pressure on the Abbey’s backline. This pressure soon paid off when Anand managed to catch their centre back napping, robbing the ball off him and slotting it home calmly to give the Acorns a much deserved lead. With a good structure throughout the first half, the Acorns could not have done much more, nullifying the talented midfield of Milton Abbey. With a couple of good chances the Acorns could have put the game to bed before halftime, only to go into the break one goal to the good.

Canford’s discipline and patience was finally breached early on in the second half, when the midfield were caught out of position, giving MA’s best player the chance to shoot and unfortunately he buried it into the bottom corner. Canford continued to push for the win and created good opportunities down the flanks. With ten minutes to go, Milton Abbey had a corner and their centre back rose the highest to head home to give Abbey the lead. The Acorns did not drop their heads and continued to push hard and Charlie Peplow almost grabbed a late equaliser, only for the ball to whistle past the post. An unfortunate result but a brilliant effort from the team ensured we finished the season on a high after our best performance of the season. L1-2 (Billy Pocock)

Lacrosse v St Swithun’s School 3rd team

Canford faced tough opposition from St Swithun’s’ 3rds on Saturday. The two sides were well matched and in the first two quarters the two teams were just one goal apart. Unfortunately, in the third quarter some strong drives from St Swithun’s left Canford on a three goal deficit. However, all credit to the girls as they responded with determination and managed to close the gap but had still left themselves too much to do to secure a win. Yasmin Chadwick was a strong presence in the defence and brought the ball safely through transition up to the attack time and time again, while Millie Edwards and Georgina Litchfield were also key in bringing the ball through to the attack. Canford's shots unfortunately were consistently thwarted by a very competent opposition goal keeper. It was Canford' s goalkeeper, Lily Clarke, however who was one of the busiest players on the pitch and she managed to keep the score respectable and gave the team their chance to catch up as she leapt around the cage to save a barrage of shots from the St Swithuns' attack. L5-8 (MXB)

Badminton v Sherborne Girls

With the exception of Mary Sorokina and Charles Allen who were making their debuts for Canford’s Badminton team, the team was largely unchanged from our previous encounter vs Sherborne Girls. The singles were very close as expected, with Canford winning 7 of the 12 matches. The pick of the bunch was Harry Zheng’s game, which he just lost out on 19-21.

In doubles, our first pair of Tamara and Izzy won all their games without playing their best badminton. They struggled in the first game, just winning it 21-19, but slowly gained their form back winning the other matches more comfortably. Amelia and Alex were involved in some serious marathon games which included a 26-28 loss followed by a 25-23 victory! Ollie and Doug started slowly, losing their first game heavily, but improved as the day went on, beating their top seed 21-17. Our pairs of Jack and Joe as well as Harry and Thomas showed good understanding of each other’s games as they put in solid performances. Finally, Mary and Charles enjoyed their first match, but were very unlucky in their matches as they just lost out on many of their matches including 21-23 and 18-21. We are really pleased to see how much some of us have improved over the term! Well done everyone! (OSL & CLF)

Finally, this last sports round-up of the term provides me with an opportunity to thank you and all the other pupils who have featured in the 118 previous sports reports. Receiving detailed accounts of your amazing efforts and contributions has been fantastic for me, my colleagues and your peers and I hope you have enjoyed seeing your name mentioned in dispatches.

Enjoy your Christmas but make sure you keep yourself in a reasonable state of fitness in readiness for the start of next term?

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

Photographs ready to view and download from Canford Media

House Rugby Part One, House Rugby Part Two, House Cross Country

Sporting quote of the week:

“ If you’re not humble, it’s hard to be coached. If you can’t be coached, it’s hard to get better. “

Mark Burley

Director of Sport

Twitter: @CanfordSport

12th December 2019