21 Oct 2020
Short Half - Sports Report 4

Short Half - Sports Report 4

The penultimate week of the first half of term had a sense of normality to it from a sporting perspective. Some house competitions reached their climax and we had our first real block fixture as the soccer club played 8 matches against Bradfield College.

Clay Pigeon Shooting – The Goaman Pot & Chute Pot

The winning team was Toye’s and the individual winner was Rigby Swarovski-Adams (Phil’s)

Inter-house basketball 4v4 competition

The junior competition was very well-supported and hotly contested. Considering this was the first experience of basketball for many players, the commitment, teamwork and competitiveness was great to see and the standard of play improved every week. Phil’s kept things simple on play-off day, played to their strengths and were deserved winners, but there was a lot of potential on display from all houses throughout the tournament.

The standard of the senior competition became more impressive with every week. Most houses had experienced players to call upon and this instantly added organisation and pace, but the others developed to create close matches of the play-offs. Cook’s were hot favourites going into the tournament, but were robbed of one of their main players for play-off day. Trant’s seized their chance and looked more determined with every match before scooping top spot with an exciting overtime victory in what was effectively the final. (LNT)

Inter-House Ultimate Frisbee competition

The Sunday afternoon programme continues to find suitable sporting encounters for the boys to get their teeth into and this past weekend saw several houses battle it out with ultimate frisbee. A close final encounter saw Furley’s claim the win against College.

Inter-House Tennis Pots

As many boys had missed the opportunity to play tennis back in the summer an Autumn inter-house doubles competition has been running these past few weeks. The Senior Pot went to the Furley’s pair of Axel Blakey and Archie Sillars, in an epic 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 tie break decider over the Freddie’s pair of Chris Lee and Christopher Redfern. The senior plate final is to be contested between Toye’s and Cook’s. In the Junior competition the Pot went to Freddie’s pairing of Xingchen Cao and Zach Lees whilst Furley’s took home the plate.

Soccer V Bradfield College

Winchester 1st XI travelled to Bradfield College on a beautiful sunny afternoon.History tells us that this is one of hardest fixtures in the football calendar so the boys had worked hard this week on team shape and togetherness. We started strongly and although Bradfield created a few chances we held firm until a slice of luck put the hosts in front with a cross that flew into the top corner in the 30th minute. I felt it was a bit of a sucker punch as the boys had worked so hard.

The start of the second half brought our best period of the game, where for 20 minutes we matched Bradfield. Fred Falk did well, driving into the box and created a chance where the defender made a last gap challenge to block the ball. Sadly, in the last 20 minutes we conceded 3 goals, which disappointed the boys in the post-match reflection as they recognised these goals came from our own mistakes. There were some fantastic individual performances and I was really proud of the effort put in by the boys. L4-0 (JRD)

The 3rd XI played away agains a talented and confident Bradfield side. Challenged to play with discipline and shape, the midfielders played too deeply initially which allowed Bradfield too much time on the ball. Winchester scrambled hard, but a couple of pressured errors resulted in two well-taken early goals for Bradfield. The 3rd XI were learning fast though, and a period of pressure resulted in a corner, from which Tom Burkhill rose above the defenders to head the ball masterfully past the ‘keeper. 2-1, and the match was on. The rest of the first half was fairly even, but Bradfield did manage to slice through for another goal to make it 3-1 at the break.

At the half-time team talk it was clear that the Winchester needed to take a few steps forward and rob the opponents of space. Relentless chasing from the forwards, commitment and communication amongst the defenders and intelligent passing from midfield made the second half a very different spectacle than the first twenty minutes. Although neither team could score, Winchester showed repeatedly that on another day the 3-1 score-line might easily be reversed. I could not be happier with the manner in which the team pushed themselves, supported each other and ultimately transformed themselves into an organised, stylish and formidable team. Who knows when the next match will be, but with such rapid progress the 3rd XI should walk onto the pitch with confidence. L3-1 (LNT)

The Senior Colts welcomed Bradfield knowing this would be a real test of their progress so far. From the outset the visitors applied a great deal of pressure and it was from one such driving run which led to Winchester conceding a penalty from a slightly clumsy challenge. The spot kick was coolly dispatched and although the 16As began to edge into back into the game no clear-cut chances were created. From a quick counter-attack Bradfield raced upfield and grabbed their second of the game. They were very much on top and were afforded far too much space to play in. The usual tenacity in our tackles was missing allowing the opposition to dictate and from another dangerous through ball a second penalty was conceded. As with the first decision a clumsy challenge in the box is always liable to be seen as a penalty and Bradfield made it count.

Three-nil down at half time the boys identified areas for improvement and set about their task. There was a definite step up in focus as Bradfield were closed down far more effectively and we began to see more of the ball. A change in formation produced a far more even contest and we produced some shots on target and crosses into the box. George Batt began to exert more influence in midfield and Barnes and Ritchie up front also grew in confidence. Although we weren’t able to score in the second half the performance was far more assured. Importantly, the boys recognised the need to worry less about the opposition and refereeing decisions and concentrate more on their own performance. L0-3 (MSB)

The U16Bs fielded a strong side with Rufus Bowder taking captaincy. The game was very close in the first half with Bradfield managing to steal a goal from a well worked set play from the Bradfield captain. The boys continued to maintain a high press and just before half time Anthony Oshai volleyed home from a deep-set piece from Rufus Bowder. The second half was very tight with Bradfield having the majority of the possession but Winchester continued to counter attack and with only 10 minutes left in the game Robert Butenko managed to get a shot away with a quick turn and it flew in over the Bradfield keeper to end the game 2-1. (WBDT)

The U15As travelled to Bradfield with excitement and cautious optimism that we could hold our own against one of the best schoolboy sides in the country for our first game in many months. This optimism was quickly replaced by realism, as Bradfield scored 4 within the first 10 minutes.

We battled well, with Jayden Lu pulling off some good saves to prevent double figures before half time! We battled and kept a much better shape in the second half, with Claisse marshalling the defence well. They still scored regularly, but were having to work much harder for their goals, including a 30-yard top-corner screamer and a passing play that Arsenal would have been proud of, even at their peak. A tough first fixture, but some promising positional play and heart shown by the boys. L12-0 (BMG)

In the last 25 minutes, Winchester U15B’s two banks of four continually thwarted the talented Bradfield side’s attacks. Captain Park (F), hassled the opposition, made interceptions and started breaks. When Ormond (G) forced a poor back pass from one of the Bradfield centre backs he appeared ready to pounce and score a potentially match-changing goal, only for the keeper to handle and concede an indirect free kick from which Kawada Williams (F) nearly bundled home. In the Winchester goal Kulkarni (E) produced a series of superb saves, including one reaction save from close range that the opposition coach immediately rated a ‘worldie’. Unfortunately, the rear-guard action was in vain as a fortunate ricochet, a questionable offside decision and a precise finish added polish to the Bradfield win. On reflection, the game was perhaps lost in the first 35 minutes, but we could take solace in the opportunities we had to practise kick offs. L10-0 (MJR)

We were under pressure early in the game against a pacey U14A Bradfield side who began moving the ball around quickly. Our scramble defence did well to protect Anthony Cloke-Browne in goal who was left to deal with long shots straight at him. In amongst numerous efforts from our guests, a long ball from Anthony found its way to Tim Oluwabusola, through on goal with just one man chasing him. The last-ditch challenge seemed to bounce off Tim and past their keeper to give us the lead. Bradfield responded with further pressure and equalised from a corner. As we tired towards the end of the first half, we conceded again when we failed to push up having cleared our lines, allowing a cross to the back post to be tapped in with ease.

We began the second half far more positively, allowing our opponents less time on the ball and winning far more of the 50-50 challenges. The back 3 of Garlick, Bristowe and Baxendale stepped higher up the pitch and began to apply pressure to the Bradfield midfielders. Following a perfectly timed challenge from Bristowe, who then collected the ball and initiated a forward move down the left flank, we won a corner. Ma’s delivery found Garlick who flicked on to the back post where Sam arrived to pass the ball into the net.

Our third goal came from a save by Seb Morgan, who blocked from close range, collected the ball and launched a kick at their centre backs which was not dealt with. Laolu Agunbiade worked across from the left-hand side, collected the loose ball inside the Bradfield penalty area and, having held of a challenge from the keeper, calmly placed it into the far corner.

Our lead was short lived as Bradfield collected the ball in midfield, drove towards the top of the box and smashed it home from 20 yards to level it a 3 a-piece. Both sides exchanged chances, with Agunbiade coming closest and hitting the far post from the top of the box. We also needed a finger-tip save from Morgan to prevent Bradfield taking the lead, alongside some timely challenges from Tomo Ohata.

With the final few minutes remaining, we won a free-kick on the right-side of the box, which led to an Agunbiade shot being blocked behind for a corner. Ma once more delivered and found the free head of Garlick from 8 yards out. His header drifted to the far post and bounced in off the upright. The boys calmly saw out the final moments of the game to seal the 4-3 win.

The U14Bs lost 3-1 at home to Bradfield. Outclassed, the mighty Bs never gave up after going a goal down and pulled one back before half time with a superb strike by Sacha Gens (G). A fluke goal straight after half time put the Bs under pressure, but they looked threatening until a third Bradfield goal decided things. 10/10 for effort. The loss is possibly less important than the joy of playing a competitive match for the first time this season. (PAH)

Other Result

2nd XI L2-1

…and finally

The sport programme in the first period of Short Half has been unlike anything we have ever experienced. Cricket and tennis were played throughout September and touch rugby making its debut at the school was certainly something out of the ordinary. Covid restrictions, combined with facility limitations, have also impacted upon the range of our sporting menu with sports such as swimming, water polo and judo unavailable. Nevertheless, even though much of the offering has been internally focused with house competitions intermingling with training and practices the uptake has been extensive across the school. Last weekend we saw something akin to normal, with eight soccer matches taking place against an opposition school. We are still seeking competitive inter-school opportunities for our outdoor based teams in the second half of term but will obviously be impacted by whatever government regulations emerge in the next couple of weeks.

Leave-out brings with it an opportunity to take stock and catch up on rest and recuperation. This is important from a mental health perspective but I would also urge all boys to maintain some sort of physical activity over this period. It has taken a while for some boys to get to a reasonable level of fitness and it would be shame to see that progress wasted. Moreover, for those boysaspiring to make or remain an ‘A’ team player in football for example, there is a real need to return to school in shape and ready to commit to the remaining fixtures, cup matches included. Don’t forget that during November the much-vaunted Steeplechases take place, across all age groups, so don’t neglect your running fitness either.

Sporting quote for the week:

“Never be the player whose body language is louder than your voice” (Tom Crean, University of Georgia Men’s Basketball Coach)

M.S. Burley

Director of Sport, Winchester College

20th October 2020