21 Sep 2023
Christmas Term 2023 - Sports Report Week 3

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Christmas Term 2023 - Week 3 Sports Report

Hockey v KES Southampton

Last Saturday saw the first block fixture of the term, versus KES Southampton.

The 1st XI travelled away, and started very well, scoring in the first two minutes courtesy of a bullet drag flick into the top corner from the stock of Poppy White. However, some inexperience and nerves then surfaced, and we then had a nightmare 10-15 minute spell, where we struggled to keep the ball or make tackles and turned possession over. Consequently, this led to KES scoring twice and the momentum of the game shifting to the home side. To our credit, we rediscovered our shape and form and created some good chances, with Georgia Kenny going close. After the break, Layla Stannah made a couple of sharp saves and Eliza Miller was outstanding at the heart of the defence, whilst Emily Von Schirnding was positive and made good use of the ball from left back. On another day, the game could have ended 3-3, but on this occasion, we couldn’t find an equaliser, losing 2-1 to a well organised side. (MDC)

The 2nd XI had a great start to the season, winning 6-3! All 15 players contributed to this opening victory. Running, running, running was the order of the day, along with some excellent short passing and close control. Effective attacks were built, players communicated throughout and when mistakes were made, everyone was still supportive of each other. To improve we need to put more pace on the ball and try to work the ball away from busy areas of the pitch. Transferring the ball across the pitch is an area we will be working on. Meg Mowbray, Anouska Loveridge and Grace Cecil-Wright all weighed in with two goals apiece. (NRB/RHJH)

The Canford 3rd XI is made up of excellent players from the Fifth Form and the Lower Sixth, whilst the opposition were mostly U6th, and a few L6th. The teams had very different game plans. Ours involved our large number of midfielders playing some very pretty hockey in the middle of the pitch, spreading the ball from side to side and getting more adventurous and playing higher and higher up the pitch. Whereas KES relied on a very strong central four players who attacked very directly on the break. Whilst we dominated possession, we could have been a little more ruthless in the final third and more aware of being caught on the break. KES scored 2 great goals after we left their striker 1-1 with Kate Landale, who kept us in the game with some fine saves. And Kurumi scored 2 well taken goals after a great build-up. It looked like being a 2-2 draw until, in the final minute, a lapse in concentration from KES saw their defender pass straight to Kurumi, who completed her hattrick with style and won the game. Player of the match: Kurumi Hotta. Honourable mentions: Bea Woodward for her directness up front, Charlotte Parkin for her superb defence and Fran Hensher for controlling the midfield and distributing the ball sideways. (GRS)

After a very good week of training, the 15A girls were excited to get back out competing. The whistle went and to be honest within 3 minutes we were down a goal. KES managed to break through and caught our defence off guard and scored a good goal. My favourite thing about this happening, is the entire squad raised the head and attacked the next 10 minutes with a really positive attitude. We began to hold our shape and produced some lovely plays. 5 minutes before half time, after a fair amount of time in their D, Esme Kinch managed to get the ball over the line. Second half the girls seemed fitter, more determined and really wanted to work hard as a team. We spent majority of the time with the ball and getting in good positions. We had 5 shots on goal thanks to fantastic passes out the defence, but for 20 minutes we just couldn’t convert. Eventually Bella Jenkins produced a fantastic baseline run and Oriana Bowater managed to slip it passed the keeper. To add to the drama, last play was a short corner for them. The defence did brilliantly aided by the rest of the team really running back hard to help out. Overall this was a good performance which led to us producing positive outcomes. Looking forward to the next challenge. Player of the match split between - Willa Knatchbull and Poppy Young (EJB)

The 15B team had a tremendous game of hockey and one in which Canford came out on top 2-0 against KES. We had to endure significant amount of pressure in the first half with KES on top and our defenders were resolute and committed. Against the run of play we 'nicked' a goal a minute before half time (smart finish from a Short corner rebound from Cecily). After a small tweak of tactics we were much more direct and threatening in the second half - breaking through KES' defensive lines frequently with Josie, Millie and captain Zoe particularly effective. Julide, deservedly, scored our second goal after forging into the D with 5 mins left of the game. In particular, Leena and Matilda and both our goalkeepers (Bea and Ella) had tremendous games. There was a great attitude from the whole squad. It was a really positive way to start the season. Many thanks to Mrs Wilson for co-coaching. (IW)

The U14A side played their first match of the season at home to KES. The Canford team made up of excellent players from different prep schools were up against a strong KES side that had been playing together for some time already. Their first match as a Canfordian and the nerves were definitely showing. As the match started KES seemed to control the game, especially in the middle of the field, and used this to their advantage and took an early lead but to the credit of our girls they did not back down from the challenge. The score line was not a true reflection of the game as we came out after half time and had more possession and territory than KES, we were just unable to put the ball into the net. KES eventually running away with a 5-0 win but one our girls can still be proud of.

Player of the match: Tilda Mowat. Honourable mentions: Amber Boldt for her directness up front, Georgie Williamson-Jones and Rosie Davis for their superb defence, Celyn Hopkirk and Onnalee Collison for working extra hard in the midfield, under a lot of pressure. (GJD/CDB)

The U14B team were raring to go for their first match at home in their Canford shirts. They worked together as a team, supporting each other and verbal encouragements were clearly heard. Goals were scored by Alice Humphries and two by Captain Liv Balasubramaniam. Josslin Hawkings had a strong performance as left defence and was voted by the opposition as defence player of the match, while Alice Humphries got the vote for attack player of the match. Strong performances were seen by Jasmine Kwan, Zana Stewart and Sofie Mazur. A positive and exciting start to the season, well done. (NXW)

This week sees the 1st XI in National Cup first round action away at Clayesmore, whilst the 2nds host Godolphin’s 1st team. In addition there are Senior and Intermediate House matches on Saturday, as well as the exciting prospect of the visit of Ring Pass HC, from Holland. Ring Pass are one of our host clubs when we go out to Holland at Easter, so it will be great to catch up with them as they visit Canford for the first time since pre-Covid times, playing several games against our U16s, U15s and U14s.

Rugby v Marlborough College

1st XV

Canford 1st XV travelled to Wiltshire this weekend for their first game of the season against a strong Marlborough. The starting XV was full of experience with every single player being an Upper Sixth with only four of them making their 1st XV debut. James Hatherley and Danny Chessher made up the bench, two lower 6th lads who would come on to make their debuts.

Canford started the game fast, taking a 7-0 lead. A scrum, just inside the 22 on the right touchline, held strong. Walster, starting at fly-half, fizzed a miss pass out to Firth who used Timberlake as a decoy on a hard line and played out the back to Okubanjo who timed his run perfectly and pierced the Marlborough defence and touched down by the posts. Marlborough answered back in quick fashion, after sustained pressure on the Canford try line eventually told and suddenly Marlborough were 10-7 up. However, Canford would not fold and fought back. Walster led the charge, probing the host’s defence with Fountain supplying outstanding service from 9. With the forwards doing the heavy lifting, the backs found space out wide, Walster played behind Firth who attracted multiple Marlborough defenders on a hard line, and found Timberlake. Timberlake cruised his way to the corner and dotted down making the score 12-10.

Marlborough came back once again, but Canford answered fire with fire. Fountain kicked into space and the Canford blue wall charged up the pitch, Kiff read the Marlborough attack like a book and intercepted a pass from halfway. He pushed himself to the line and managed to get there with multiple players chasing back. Canford were up 19-10 with halftime approaching. But Marlborough would not lie down, and a heavy defensive set was about to start. The boys put their bodies on the line, Henry Stear and Jansci Motsi at the forefront. Yet, the boys couldn’t quite hold on until the half time whistle and Marlborough answered back to make the score at the break 19-15.

After a quick halftime breakdown, the boys entered the fray for the second-half. Marlborough started the brighter and found their reward, putting them back in front at 20-19. The match started to quieten down slightly as fatigue started to hit. Canford were still probing however with Walster, Timberlake and Schuster-Bruce controlling the attack, Jansci Motsi causing chaos with his feet and heavy ball carrying from both Janaways. However, Sam Janaway proved he is not just heavy ball carrying, doing his best Fountain impression, he picked from the ruck and burst through a gap with decent acceleration and escaped to the line, putting blues up 26-20.

Canford now had to defend, and defend they did, again putting their bodies on the line. However, on the 60th minute mark, Marlborough found a breakthrough from a driving maul and scored to make it 27-26. Canford would have half chances to get themselves back into the game but unfortunately, couldn’t muster up anything to alter the scoreline.

It was a strong first outing from the boys and something to build on. They can be more than proud of their performance. Now attention turns to KES Bath as the boys look to get their first victory on the board.

2nd XV

Score: L 0-29

POTM: Freddie Pearce

Special Mentions: Sam McGrath, Oscar Linekar-Bennett, Arthur Keen

It was a tough first outing for the 2nd XV against a well-organized Marlborough side that included some strong ball carriers that at times we struggled to contain. Canford got off to the worst possible start, conceding a try in the first couple of minutes that set the pattern for things to come. Turning the ball over in midfield having secured a good platform from the kick off, Marlborough retained the ball well for several phases before powering over from close range. As the game progressed it became clear that when the opposition entered our 22 we had trouble stemming the tide and keeping them out, and a key lesson for future weeks is to be less passive in the tackle, putting pressure back on to the opposition. Marlborough scored two more tries in the first half, whilst the boys in blue struggled to build momentum or get into the opposition half, with one notable exception being Oscar Linekar-Bennet who countered well from full back, and provided a strong last line of defence.

In the 2nd half we did well to restrict Marlborough to two tries, with POTM Freddie Pearce and Sam McGrath in the back row tackling and jackaling with real intensity, alongside Arthur Keen who made a positive impact from the bench. and began to find some shape in our attack, but without making dents or threatening the opposition line. There is plenty to work on, including working out how to get in behind the opposition and incorporating a kicking game that can help us play in the right part of the field. That said, the attitude of the boys was good – they never gave up and they made Marlborough work in the second half.


After a tremendous season last year the U16As were looking to open their account with a big win against Marlborough, which was always set to be a monumental challenge but one that they were certain to not shy away from.

With a delayed start due to transport issues on Marlborough’s end, the game was poised and both teams were eager to put their mark on each other. It was clear from the first few exchanges that it was set to be a hotly contested match, which would likely end in a narrow margin. The first half was arguably won by Marlborough who had the majority of the possession, however the key caveat to that was Canford’s relentless defence. Something that they pride themselves on was on show right from the first whistle. No matter what Marlborough threw at Canford it was resisted and brutally knocked backwards. Ultimately, leaving the first half scoreless but certainly not without excitement!

The second half finally saw the first points of the game with a try from Organ out wide after some wonderful interplay between forwards and backs – a real team try (5-0). The pressure continued to come from Canford, both in terms of attack and defence, which eventually culminated in several misdemeanours from the opposition – only worsening their hold on the game. After sustained pressure in the Marlborough 22m and consecutive penalties, Freddie Jackson bundled his way over the try line from a tap and go 5 metres out to increase the gap to a 10 point lead – much to the distaste of some ‘expert referees’ on the sideline. Unsurprisingly, Marlborough came hard on the offensive for the last 10 minutes of the game, managing to claw back a converted score of their own but it was too little too late. Canford secured their first win of the season (10-7). A colossal contest overcome by a huge collective effort from numbers 1-15. On to the next one…


Canford U16Bs experienced something of a baptism of fire in our first match of the season. The Marlborough team was well organised, with some big and powerful runners and good handling ability, and ran out comfortable 48-5 winners in the end. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though – we started brightly with ball in hand and caused them problems at scrum time. Our main issue was in defence, however, as Marlborough found it all too easy to put us on the back foot, drawing in defenders and then getting the ball wide enough to get around our outside defenders. Canford didn’t see much of the ball for the second quarter, while our opponents ran in 5 tries before the interval. The second half was better on the whole, as stand-out player of the match Jacob Royle piled over for our only try. We ended up losing the second half 3-1 in tries but the application was much improved.

Another opportunity to go again against the more unknown quantity of KES Bath this Saturday.


The U15s came up short in their opening fixture of the season against a strong Marlborough side, losing 31-7, but a tightly contested first-half shows plenty of promise for the season ahead.

Canford went into the game full of confidence after a strong pre-season for a number of the players and this showed early on in the fixture. Defending Marlborough's big ball carriers for the opening ten minutes in their own 22, Canford went up to the other end to open the scoring. Lex V with the try after some strong work from the pack. Unfortunately, this was the only points Canford would score, despite many more encouraging attacking positions. After a couple of mistakes and some loss of structure it left us trailing 12-7 at half-time. The game was still in the balance, but Canford were unable to gain a foothold in the second period, with injuries in the pack disrupting their early dominance. Late tries meant the final score was a little harsh on the performance but there were very encouraging signs for the season ahead.

Notable mention to Charlie T and Kit for some very strong carries throughout the game.


Score: L 0-54

Despite the final uneven score line, the season started with some real promise. The boys showed true grit against a well-polished Marlborough side. Stand out performances from captain Will Trotter, Sam Ulyett and man of the match Seb Chapman.

The Canford side demonstrated some good rugby skills in tackling, the line out and in building pods to run crash ball. It is clear we need to work on our ability to win rucks and to move the ball through hands and into space in the backline. Some over-committing to the breakdown meant that we left gaps that Marlborough were able to exploit. Despite this though, heads did not go down. The Canford mighty Bs soldiered on, keen to put in practice the drills run earlier in the week.

A promising start to the season. If we can match the effort and determination, with a better developed game plan, we will see the scoreline improve week on week.


It was great to get the lads on the coach, travelling to a new school and playing their first game for Canford. The match was seen by us as the next stage in the progression, heading towards cup games later in the term and for the fixtures in coming weeks when players are fitter, back into rugby and a little more organised. Despite our lack of time together on the training pitch we still managed to compete really well against a strong Marlborough side. The lead we had at half time flattered us a little but there was no doubt that our defence was committed and full of energy. We did not however use the width of the narrow pitch and too often we were passing to team mates that were too close and running from a standing start.

The 2nd half saw Marlborough use their big pack to dominate the collisions and their positive field positions allowed then to bundle over a couple of times from close range. We had two good chances to score ourselves but we rushed a little knowing that opportunities were going to be few and far between. The final score of 24-10 was fair. We have all the makings of a really exciting running side and training will see the lads work on width both with passing and where we want to attack. Another week together before the next challenge of KES Bath is just what is required as there is a lot more to come, watch this space!!


After a lengthy bus journey, the hastily assembled B team took to the field to face Marlborough. Canford started brightly, attacking Marlborough with a real sense of purpose and this sustained pressure resulted in tries from Jasper Tilney and Thomas Taylor. This seemed to spark the hosts into action and, despite some tenacious tackling from Canford, Marlborough clawed themselves back into the match. The effort of defending started to take its toll on the visitors and an increasingly confident Marlborough began to exploit the gaps in Canford's defence. Canford were not without opportunities to narrow the deficit but sadly our efforts were thwarted by some resolute tackling. It was nonetheless a very encouraging first match and I am looking forward to seeing the team develop into a more cohesive unit as we prepare for the next match against King Edward’s.


This is a rite of passage … the first time you pull on your match shirt for your Canford debut and stride out onto the greensward with fourteen other ‘good men and true’. Well, twenty others … we were carrying quite a bench. You have now arrived, and are a bona fide member of the Canford School Rugby Club.

And so it was for our latest crop of Shells this Saturday just gone. A long coach ride to the Wiltshire Downs, and a challenging stroll up the long hill to the rudimentary changing rooms … but then to emerge into the sunshine, a quick warm up, boot and mouthguard check, and some final words of encouragement from some old bloke. Then the whistle blows, and the ball is launched into the air … let battle commence.

The game was split into four quarters, fifteen minutes each, to allow for multiple drinks breaks and plenty of rotation of players (they had thirty to our twenty-one). The first period saw our lads slightly reticent about getting stuck in, perhaps being rather too polite and wanting to play the deferential guests. The game was played very much in our half, even largely in our 22. We competed, and we tackled; but it was only a matter of time before they broke through and we conceded two tries in the period. However, with a few judicious words at the first break, the boys began to gain a little confidence. This allowed them to be a smidge more aggressive in the tackle and at the breakdown, to the extent that they boosted their share of possession significantly. And with the ball in hand, we had far more opportunities to attack. And, joy of joys, we communally thrilled to our FIRST SCORE of the year as Nick Leung demonstrated a healthy turn of pace to score in the corner. Unfortunately, this was countered by Marlborough’s third score.

In the third quarter, improvements to performance kept rolling in, evidenced by the fact that most of the final two quarters were played in their territory. We (mostly) out-rucked them, and although our running lines were a little confused (and sometimes we actually impeded ourselves), even when we ‘coughed’ the ball in contact or at a breakdown, it was never too long before we wrestled back possession. So in Quarter 3, when a penalty was awarded close to their line, whilst they meandered about to get in position, the quick-thinking George Seabrook grabbed the ball and darted over the line. Game on. OK, so they pulled another score back. Curses.

In the final quarter, again, lots of pressure and increasingly signs of people working together in twos and threes we were again camped in their 22. A nice reversal of direction around the back of a maul into the blind side channel, an intelligent delivery by the scrum half, and Monty Jackson skittered over in the corner.

But that was to be the end of our marauding. The clock was against us, and the ref blew the final whistle with the boys facing a 15-25 deficit (no conversions were taken).

Really pleasing was the palpable progress made by the boys through just a single hour of match time. Who knows where they will be by December!

Champagne moment? In the final quarter, having been pressurising our hosts for several phases, we dropped a ball in their 22, and it fell to a rather large and pacey lad who set off to go round the outside of our back line and then turn right to head down the pitch to our try line. Many of our boys dropped their heads, seeming to accept the inevitability of a Marlborough try. But, Luke Richards set off in hot pursuit. It took him fifty metres, but he refused to give up and, just as the pair entered our 22, Luke performed a very brave, and technically very impressive smother tackle from behind, Luckily a few of our lads had also been committed enough to try to keep up the chase, and with reinforcements arriving at the breakdown, we managed to regain possession. Moral of the story??? Never, NEVER give up.

‘I think I might be quite looking forward to this season’.

Football v Warminster and Sherborne

Acorns vs Warminster

In an exhilarating start to the season, Canford Acorns XI faced off against Warminster School at the Warminster Football pitch, kick-off precisely at 3:15 pm. The Canford team seized control early, with Kerry, our new captain, stealing the show in the 5th minute. He elegantly manoeuvred past defenders to slot the ball into the left corner.

Warminster School responded swiftly, capitalising on a defensive lapse and chaotic moments in our box. The first half ended in a thrilling 2-2 scoreline, with Zac's thunderous 20-yard strike providing a memorable highlight.

After a rousing halftime talk by Madame Saurel, both teams fought fiercely in the second half. Warminster sealed their victory with a well-taken goal, and the match concluded 3-2 in their favour.

In recognition of a remarkable performance, Will Vessey was named Man of the Match for his composure on the ball and precise clearances. The Canford Acorns showcased their skill, determination, and team spirit, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.

Oaks 2-1 Sherborne

Goals: Holden, Sparkhall

The Oaks lined up for their first game of the season on Saturday. A tough encounter away at Sherborne for the first league game of the season.

Sherborne started well enjoying a lot of the ball but created little. As the first half went on Canford grew into the game but similarly couldn't create anything of note. The deadlock was broken by a press, with the ball forced back to the Sherborne keeper, Jago Holden pressed him and nicked the ball off the keeper into the back of the net.

Although we weren't at our best, we were able to double our lead in the second half. A clearance from Leo was charged down by Sparky who beat his man and finished past the keeper. Sherborne got one back from a corner later on, with an unfortunate own goal. Canford should've had a third from Harry S but the offside flag went up.

Player of the Match – Thomas Sparkhall

Netball v Shebbear College and Wellington College

Last week saw a brilliant start to the 2023/24 netball season, with our U15As kicking things off with a tremendous 48-2 win against Shebbear College, in the first round of the Independent Schools Netball Competition. The girls will now progress to the next round, which will see them face Exeter School for another Southwest battle, and another opportunity to display some more impressive netball.

Saturday provided the first senior fixtures of the term with our performance group facing a strong Wellington College side. Both squads made great progress throughout their games and, despite two losses, ended up with a very respectable 42 goals collectively.

We look ahead this week to our first U14 cup fixture against Churcher’s College and are excited for some of our Shells to have the opportunity to represent Canford netball for the first time!

Lacrosse v Marlborough

Both sides were equally as competitive on the ball with some powerful runs through the midfield that opened up chances for each side. Marlborough opened the scoring with the only goal in the first quarter with a well-placed finish.

The second and third quarters could have gone either way with possession moving between teams quickly, but on the basis of the score sheet Canford looked to be running away with it by accelerating to a 5-1 lead through some great ball carrying and passing with some exceptional off ball movement to find space and score the goals.

On the flip side, Marlborough kept knocking on the door with a few chances of their own thanks to their quick fast breaks. However, the defence of Canford stayed solid to deny clear opportunities and the goalies ensured the lead was maintained with some fine saves.

The last quarter shifted back towards Marlborough with them scoring two goals, but it wasn't enough as Canford secured the win 5-3 in what was a close but extremely fun game to watch.

Big shout out to Clemmie and Isobel for stepping in goals and making some great saves throughout!

MVPs were Lottie and Laura.

Badminton v Sherborne Girls

1st Team

The Canford team were friendly, welcoming and sporting both in defeat and victory. Ably led by Summer, we began and ended with a series of doubles matches. Although Sherborne’s first pair, both national level players, proved to be tough opposition, Canford acquitted themselves well and in total won 10 of the 12 matches. Joey and James fought bravely and even challenged Sherborne’s top pair to a rematch, this time proving to be victorious! Decisive victories were also achieved by Summer and Sam, as well as Phillip and Jerry. In the singles Canford won a total of 16 of their 24 matches. Special mention to Cammy who won both games by a wide margin, as did Jerry and man of the match James Yuan.

2nd Team

The badminton players that travelled to Sherborne were a credit to Canford School, their behaviour and sportsmanship was exemplary and I was proud to be with them. It is a shame we were two players down and I hope the players who missed the fixture for various reasons will see that they missed a real opportunity.

Sherborne were kind enough to lend us a player so there was much juggling of players to ensure as many games as possible were played.

We won the fixture convincingly and there were some tight games and excellent examples of players playing because of their love of an underrated sports.

Thank you to SGS for being superb hosts.

Singles played 24 won 22

Doubles played 12 won 12

Player of the match Tianwen for her competitiveness and grace in victory.

Running / X-Country

A busy couple of weeks for Canford’s runners as they blow out the cobwebs following the long summer break. It is great to see so many old faces but also many new. With our first race of the season coming up this week on home soil, our runners have been getting the miles in; long runs along the beach front at Hengistbury Head and flying down the Castleman Trailway. Their training has been supplemented with team games, relays and time trials to spin up the motor to max revs. Keep an eye out for the PEDSSA race on Thursday as hundreds of runners decent on Canford Park to enjoy our beautiful grounds. Do come to support your fellow pupils or cheer on a sibling/friend at local school or prep school. First race starts at approx. 1430.


Basketball has started out with a bang in this first term. First session with good numbers and a regular 12 coming to sessions.

There is some good talent this year with all willing to learn new skills.

First half of term is focused on the fundamentals which the students have really engaged with and it shows when we play matches against each other. Looking forward to our first fixtures!

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