22 Mar 2022
Sports Report: Common Time, Week 9

Sports Report: Common Time, Week 9

The month of March has seen a significant number of boys competing on the national stage in their sports with more tournaments and competitions to come before the end of this term. I have been fortunate to attend some of these events and have been hugely impressed with the effort and commitment on display which has resulted in some very strong performances. Nevertheless, winning or finishing in the top 10 of these events should not be the reason to praise the various individuals and teams. In many instances a significant number of these pupils are training and competing away from school and so are rarely watched or supported by their peers. In the incessant focus of life at school we can easily forget there are other things going on with many people balancing academic deadlines, music lessons and concerts, drama rehearsals whilst also quietly getting on with their sport. If you haven’t already done so perhaps the next week or so could be a time to say well done to some of your mates and ask them how they have been getting on.

Monday 14th March

Rowing: The Schools’ Head of the River Race

Monday the 16th saw a return of the Schools Head of the River race. Three hundred and thirteen crews from across the UK and Ireland raced from Chiswick Bridge to Putney. The weather was exceptionally kind, and the first VIII had a solid race, sticking to the race plan. They are a relatively inexperienced crew, who delivered a solid performance finishing 12th out of 26 in School 1st VIII’s. There is a lot more to come from this crew.

Our J15 VIII has had some success this year. Monday was a big test for them and an opportunity to see how they would stack up against crews over the gruelling Tideway course. The boys finished 8th out of 15, putting some forty seconds on a Pangbourne crew that had been nipping at their heels at recent events. This is a solid result for a crew which is very talented. I think they will have a very exciting summer ahead of them. (NJW)

Tuesday 15th March

Basketball v UTC Portsmouth

U16 W44-18

U15W54-20

Rackets v Radley College

This was the first time in 10 years that Winchester has played on the Radley court and it proved a successful outing. Radley is one of the great rackets’ schools and the Prince’s pair, Oli Gibbon and Archie Sillars, were playing their final match of the season. In recent months especially, they have bonded to form a well-integrated team with each backing the other up well in the rallies. In conjunction with Oli's highly proficient serving and returning plus Archie's adept all-round play, these factors all add up to form a particularly hard pair to beat. In this match they performed impressively. Oli, at one point, served through 13 points in a row to thwart any real chance of a Radley domination. Together with Archie's measured, mature approach, the pair sealed a comfortable 3 - 1 victory. Bearing in mind this was an away court, this was an admirable performance.

The Colts, Bertie Vallat and Henry Nicholls, took on the no. 3 seeds in the imminent National Schools championships. They also demonstrated fine rackets, with Henry proving a powerful precision and Bertie his usual, exceptional consistency. They won without losing a game.

The final match took place with our Junior Colts, the all Furleys pair of Jack Bristowe and Lukas Brunner. They managed to storm through their match with a conclusive 3-0 victory. Highlights included Lukas's improved returning and serving and Jack's proficient all-round play.

Inter-House Fives: Ellison Pot 2022:

1st Plate won by Ben Aubury and Percy Zhang for College

2nd Plate won by Jack Le Men and Maxwell Yu for Chawker’s

3rd Place play-off won by Ted Miers and Milo Hoffman for Toye’s 12-10 – an excellent contest against a Kenny’s pair, who are of course just 1st years

Ellison pot won by Jeffrey Chan and Luke Mallabone for Cook’s. They beat 1st years Zach Goulding and Rory McGregor, of Trant’s in a very closely-contested final (8-11, 11-9, 11-8)

15 pairs entered, which was a good showing considering that several good players were ill or otherwise occupied.

In addition to the final and 3rd place play-off, three of the four quarter-finals were decent contests. This was very much a mini feast of Fives and, I hop,e a very enjoyable afternoon for all. Thanks to GEM for all his contribution (clever spreadsheets and much more). (JM)

Tuesday 15th – Wednesday 16th March

Fencing: Public School’s Championship at Lea Valley Athletics Centre

On Tuesday 15th, Winchester College sent eight pupils to compete over two days in the annual Public Schools’ Fencing Championship (PSFC). There were fencers from every year group, and we had some success in all the categories we entered. PSFC is the biggest event in the fencing season at Wincoll, with our matches against Eton coming a distant second; it takes place after all our inter-school matches, so provides an amazing experience and a yardstick to measure how far we’ve come relative to others we fenced only a few short weeks ago.

As for how we did, we entered in five categories (age group and number of fencers entered in brackets):

  • Boys Senior Foil (VI Book; 2)
  • Boys Senior Épée (VI Book; 3)
  • Boys Junior Foil (MP and V Book; 2)
  • Boys Mount-Haes Foil (JP; 2)
  • Boys Mount-Haes Épée (JP; 1)

The most successful boys in each category were:

Gleb Koval- placed 24th in the Boys Senior Foil

Adam Porter- placed 32nd in the Boys Senior Épée

Sebastian Yap- placed 34th in the Boys Junior Foil

John Carrell- placed an impressive 12th in the Boys Mount-Haes Foil

Anthony Kim- placed 41st in the Boys Mount-Haes Épée

Competitions are incredibly important because you can learn so much more than an ordinary school match. Firstly, you are guaranteed four matches against different opponents. Supporting your team is also a large part of the experience; as you progress, more of your teammates can watch and offer insight during the minute breaks between parts of a match. This can include tactics, encouragement, and general match awareness (as well as input from the coaches, who did a fantastic job). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they are hugely enjoyable events.

Adam Porter (H)

Wednesday 16th March

Rowing: Junior Sculling Head.

Wednesday took us to Dorney lake for the Junior Sculling Head. Here we raced our J16 quad, J15 quad, J14 quad and our J14 octuple. Unfortunately, Wednesday was not quite as nice as Monday, in fact it poured down with rain! Fortunately, there was no wind which made the racing fair. First to race was the J16 quad. This very talented crew have been working hard this year and finished 10th out of 35.

The J15 quad finished 54th out of 59 in an incredibly competitive field with very small margins between crews. The boys raced fantastically. They have been focusing on sweep oared rowing, so, to jump in the quad and race at this level was impressive.

We have a very strong group of J14 oarsmen this year led by Dr Clayton. The J14 quad finished 15th out of 42 which is a solid result for their first National event. The J14 Octuple finished 2nd out of 48 crews. This is a remarkable achievement for these young men. A silver medal so early in their rowing career is extremely exciting.

We look forward to seeing all of these crews continue to develop and racing hard next term. (NJW)

Thursday 17th March

Basketball v Marlborough College

This was a pleasing win for the U18s. The passing and teamwork showed at times during the game was exactly what we have been working towards. The size and aggression of the Marlborough team was neutralised, and Winchester matched their physicality too. Maybe the best performance of the year. W34-49

The U16 game should go down as a learning experience. Marlborough were huge, with several players over 6'4, and it took a while for the Winchester players to make the necessary adjustments to their style of play. Winchester made too many mistakes too, but there was also plenty to be pleased about - the adjustments in defence and some good individual moves. Marlborough are not usually the strongest basketball school, but this team definitely looks like the team to beat in the future. L48-15 (LNT)

Cross Country: Home Match

Our Seniors team came second out of five teams at our home fixture - well done to Jack Pascoe (5th), Mark Magura (6th), Georg Graepel (8th), and Miromon Tursonov (15th). There was a strong turn-out from the Inters, winning us second place out of five teams. Well done to Benedict Judge (6th), Felix Townend (9th), August Deeming (10th), William Brem (12th), Douglas Page (14th), Louis Jones (15th) and Louis Fell-Gagnere (16th). The U14 race turned into a head-to-head against Radley in which we came out on top. Well done to Issa Duggan (1st), Hugo Brett (2nd), Sasha Rich (3rd), Will Higgs (4th) and Alex de Vrieze (6th).

Golf v Canford ISGA Regional Final at Broadstone GC - Lost

Hockey 1st XI v Dauntsey’s 1st XI

The Hockey 1st XI faced Dauntsey's at Bar End for their final game of the season. Eager to end the season on a high, the squad attacked with energy and put pressure on the opposition. Winchester's large squad (including players from MP through to VIbkI) allowed frequent substitutions to take place, and the team's work rate was very high as a result. The early pressure and desire to score led to several chances to open the scoring, one of which was taken by David Monahan after a series of ricochets in Dauntsey's D. A few minutes later, an intercepted misplaced pass at the back led to a fast break from Winchester which ended in a short corner. Caspar Hall left the keeper no chance with a well-placed drag flick.

With just eight minutes of the game gone, Winchester had a comfortable 2-0 lead thanks to excellent energetic play and clinical finishing. However, the Dauntsey's side began to wake up and cause problems for our defence. After several attempts to penetrate our defence, a solo run from the opposition inside forward led to a simple goal, despite Mario Gianni Garcia's initial save. The momentum swung in Dauntsey's favour and chances kept coming, but our organisation in defence, together with Mario's great goalkeeping, made sure we secured a lead at half-time.

Dauntsey's started the second half much like we did the first - with power, intent and energy. Just a few minutes after the restart, a well-taken drag flick from one of several short corners produced an unstoppable equalising drag flick. Despite the setback, Winchester's heads did not drop; on the other hand, the scores being levelled up seemed to wake the team up. We moved the ball with more efficiency and defended tightly; after several attempted through balls and forward runs, David found himself in the D surrounded by opposition defenders. He managed to hold on to the ball and approach the near post, where he was fouled aggressively by Dauntsey's keeper. The team hoped for a penalty stroke, but the umpire's decision was a short corner, which we didn't manage to make the most of. However, just a minute later, another moment of individual brilliance from David won us another penalty corner, and this time, the routine worked perfectly. Caspar Hall's powerful drag flick went through the keeper's pad and into the back of the net; the lead was restored with around 20 minutes to play.

As the squad began to tire, it became harder and harder to defend against the technical Dauntsey's forwards. A short corner routine led to an initial strike saved by Mario, but the Dauntsey's striker was first to follow up the rebound and restore equality. This acted as a mental boost for Dauntsey's who wouldn't settle for a draw and kept pushing forward. We marked well and cleared the incoming danger until the turning point of the game - a stunning reverse-stick strike into the top corner from the edge of our D. Behind for the first time, Winchester's heads temporarily dropped, and Dauntsey's followed up this goal with a well-worked short-corner routine. 5-3. Despite our frustration, we didn't fall apart as a team; we kept fighting until the end and tried to find a chance to get back into the game. However, there wasn't enough time for Winchester to find an opportunity to reduce the two-goal deficit.

Despite the loss, a lot of positives can be taken from this game. Dauntsey's was probably our best opposition of the season, and yet the result was far from our worst. Unlike other games where we were outplayed by individual skill, we kept our shape and were able to find opportunities throughout the course of the match. Compared to the start of the season, we moved the ball much quicker and more intelligently, found more chances in attack and communicated better on the pitch. We didn't lose focus and make costly mistakes, and we took our chances well. The team's understanding of the game and chemistry improved hugely, which gives a good reason to be optimistic about the future of this (relatively) young 1st XI.

Thank you to everyone who played a part in the 1st XI this season, and in particular, thank you and good luck to David Monahan and Ollie Winter, who will leave at the end of the year. Their leadership and skill will be very difficult to replace, and they will be greatly missed. David has tortured other teams (when he has remembered we have a fixture) with his tireless efforts and immense talent in the D, Ollie, whilst only having played in a handful of matches due to injury has really shown the squad what they missed and added real skill across the pitch. Thanks, as ever, to the dons, pupils and parents who came to support. The lessons learned this year will no doubt lead to a successful and fun season for next year's team, which is full of motivated and talented hockey players - best of luck, I shall be keeping one eye on your results. Ivan Shatrov (X)

Thanks must also go to Ivan who has led the team excellently this year, setting the tone when training and in matches, as well as offering advice to the younger players where he can. It truly has been like having an additional coach and myself and Mr Conolly cannot thank him enough. Best of luck for the future Ivan. (JPT)

Rugby: Hampshire Schools U16 7s Tournament at KES Southampton

Due to some late drop-outs only seven players made the short journey to KES Southampton’s playing fields to compete in the Hampshire Schools Rugby 7s tournament. The competition saw the major rugby playing schools in the county present along with several state schools with strong club rugby links.

The pool stage saw matches against Salesian College, Churcher’s College and KES Southampton. A narrow 12-10 loss against Salesian gave us confidence but sloppy mistakes and poor decision making resulted in a 21-0 loss to Churcher’s. The final game saw us give KES a scare as we lead 12-7 at the break but they bolstered their squad with numerous replacements and we ran out of steam to lose 31-7. Tries were scored in the pool stages by Gus Bowden, Inigo House and Laolu Agubniande.

Our finishing position meant we entered the Bowl knock-out stages and as the boys waited to commence this stage they set their stall out to come away with some silverware. The semi-final match against Eggers saw some superb rugby being played. The MP boys of House and Agunbiande got on the scoresheet again and their year group teammates of Jad Garlick and Henry Baxendale were tireless in their defensive play. Alex Harker came to the fore in this match and bagged a brace of tries, just reward for his intelligent support play.

The final of the Bowl saw us go 7-0 down in the opening minute to Crofton School. We responded quickly through House before conceding another. Heads never dropped though and after Bowden had tied things up Agunbiande exploited space down the blind-side of a scrum to take the lead at half time. Another score from Agunbiande extended the lead to 28-14 and although Crofton scored two late tries enough defensive pressure was imposed to force the scores out wide making the conversions too difficult. The whistle blew and all seven players, having played every minute of five games, deservedly secured the Bowl trophy. Skipper Hugh Williamson-Jones accepted Winchester College’s first piece of rugby silverware in the school’s history. (MSB)

Sunday 19th March: Squash: Roehampton Invitation (a)

The Winchester College Squash VI of Oliver Coulcher-Porter, Harris Faizi, Shiloh Wu , Tom Burge (Captain), Rigby Swarovski-Adams and Freddy Fisher started the Roehampton Invitation tournament hoping to successfully retain the trophy that they won when the tournament was last played in 2020. Their first match was against Harrow, a side that is now being managed by an Old Wykehamist! The games were very close and with Winchester's 3rd string Shiloh Wu winning a very important final rally to claim a very important win for his side and 5th Freddy Fisher winning his match it looked as if Winchester was going to start their campaign well. Unfortunately, it was not to be as Harris Faizi, Tom Burge and Oliver Coulcher-Porter were all beaten and the team were defeated 3-2. Oliver Coulcher-Porter was playing with an ankle injury and a discussion took place on him having to pull out of the tournament but he very valiantly decided to continue.

Next opponents in Winchester's league were Wellington and having been defeated in their first match the Winchester team played with great fortitude to score a 5-0 win and put themselves in a position where they could still get into the play-off to retain their trophy. Having defeated Wellington Winchester's next opponents were St. Pauls who proved to be very good with only Oliver Coulcher-Porter playing controlled accurate squash winning his match. Without having a 5th string player the games that Harris Faizi and Shiloh Wu won in their very close matches meant that Winchester had accrued enough points to take 2nd place in their table and play Epsom in the play-off being the winners of the other group.

In the play-off to see who was going into the final the Winchester team played very well against Epsom who had a number of nationally ranked players in their side and with only Oliver Coulcher-Porter, continuing to play with great control and accuracy, winning and Harris Faizi drawing, the team were defeated by the stronger side 4-1. Unfortunately, they had lost the trophy but were still in the play off for 3rd/4th place. Once again recoiling from their defeat Winchester played very well and defeated Charterhouse 4-1. In the circumstances not the victory that Winchester would have preferred but the team left Roehampton proud that they had played their best and coming 3rd had retained their position in the top division. (RAA)

All fixtures details can be found on: https://sportsfixtures.winchestercollege.org/

Sporting quote for the week:

“There is a common misconception that you have to be on the field to help your team. Playing time does not determine your impact on your team, it’s as much to do with what you do off the field that matters.” (NCAA College Basketball Coach, Geno Auriemma)

M.S. Burley

Director of Sport

22nd March 2022

Twitter: @WinCollSports