13 Jan 2024
Sports Report – Common Time 2024 – Week 1

Sports Report – Common Time 2024 – Week 1

During the first and last week of the Christmas holidays a number of pupils were representing the school in some big competitions.

Sunday December 10th

Squash: Surrey Sports Park Invitational Schools’ Tournament

On Sunday 10th December, the Winchester 1st V travelled to Guildford to compete in the Surrey Sports Park Schools Invitational Tournament. Without our usual top players, Bertie Vallat (F) and Will Gladston (I), Zach Goulding (H) and Alex Fairmann (I) stepped up to play strings 4 and 5.

First up was Wellington, with 1st and 2nd strings Felix Cresswell (E) and Brian Chan (C) cruising through their matches with both 2-0 scores, showing dominance all over the court. Over on the other court, 3rd string Ivo Sawbridge (K) demonstrated resilience with his classic boasts and drops from the rear. This left Winchester victorious over Wellington by 3-2.

Next up was Surrey Sports Park's own team. Felix's shots were a masterful display of technical finesse and strategic brilliance, showcasing his arsenal of shots. Ivo's nicks, played with just enough force to make the ball kiss the joint between the front and side walls, added an element of unpredictability that secured his win. With unwavering tenacity, Zach relentlessly pursued every ball, outmanoeuvring his opponent and winning 2-0. Having narrowly won his first game by 15-13, a hopeful Brian was tossed around by his opponent in the second game, resulting in a 1-1 score halfway. With just 7 minutes to go, Brian started his 3rd game with a renewed focus, deploying lobs that sent his opponent retreating into the back corners; The front wall became a canvas for his artistry as he dropped with a strategic cunning that confused his opponent, finishing off with a 15-9 win, the cherry on top to bring Winchester into the semi-finals.

It was a well-fought battle between the Winchester squad against King’s School Canterbury, seeing some fantastic dedication from all players, especially Alex Fairmann, who played some rather impressive smashes against his formidable opponent. Despite all our efforts, Winchester was unable to overcome the much stronger King’s side, though all players found ways to develop and adapt to the game’s progression. Winchester finished with an overall 3rd place, a brilliant end to this term’s squash. (B Chan)

12th – 16th December

Rackets: National Schools’ Singles Championships

In the U15 competition the standout competitor was JP pupil Casper Wilson (E), who despite having only played the game since September, managed to compete well against the No.1 seed who had two years more experience than him. Initially, Casper suffered a nervous start losing game one decisively. However, he then showed what he could do and brought the game to his opponent in the next game, narrowly losing it 15 - 11, an impressive demonstration of things to come.

MP, Oscar O’Carroll (I) also came up against the same opponent later in the tournament and very nearly won. He took the first game decisively and could have easily won the match In game two when the score reached 13 all. Unluckily, he lost the resulting set and the following game despite competing well. His precise movement and technique are combining into forming a high class player.

Dima Kasumov, MP (I), began by storming through his early rounds winning his first two matches with the loss of only 19 points. In the next round he came up against an adept Harrovian. Dima, having won game one in the set, seemed to have the effect of enlivening his opponent who then stepped up a couple of gears and took the following two games and the match.

Bertie Vallat and Henry Nicholls were both selected for the elite Foster cup which is reserved for the top 16 players regardless of age or school. Unfortunately, they drew each other in round 1 but the match never took place as Henry had picked up a footballing injury on the last day of term. This gifted Bertie a walk-over and he made quick work of his next Etonian opponent and the following one from St. Paul’s. This put him into the final against an athletic Tonbridgian.

The match took place before a packed gallery, mainly filled with highly-charged Tonbridge supporters. Bertie never really reached the exceptionally high level of which he is capable. His biting serve which normally wins him long sequences of points did not appear to cut down as usual and his rally play lacked a slight aggression. His opponent competed well throughout and when the momentum passed equally between both players he never let go of his fighting spirit. Eventually, the Tonbridgian closed out all 3 games and the match, a formidable performance.

With Henry fit, the doubles at Easter is firmly within their sights. (TERC)

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th Jan

Fives: West of England Schools’ Tournament at Sherborne School

The annual Schools’ West of England Fives tournament took place last weekend with 10 players representing the school.

The tournament involves 4 competitions: U18 Singles, U18 Doubles, U15 Singles and U16 Doubles. I’m delighted to say that the Winchester squad enjoyed particular success in the U16 competitions. In the U16b Singles Zach Goulding (H) won the bowl competition as the best of the second-round losers; but, more significantly, the main competition final was an all-Winchester (and all-Kenny’s) affair between Arthur James-Duff (D) and James Kennedy (D). Both boys had to overcome good St. Paul’s players in their respective semi-finals to make it to the final. In the end, Arthur won the final against James relatively comfortably: 11-0, 11-4. However, Arthur made amends to James by teaming up with him for the U16 Doubles. They were far too strong for most opponents and, though St. Pauls 1 tried to make things awkward in the final, their class told with Winchester/Kenny’s 1 winning the final 11-3, 11-6.

Our senior squad found the going slightly tougher in the U18 Competitions but nevertheless gave excellent accounts of themselves. In the singles competition, JP Cheng (E) and Jeffrey Chan (C) both reached the semi-finals before losing to the top Alleynian and Pauline players respectively. In the doubles competition JP teamed up with Anthony Cloke Browne (B). Progress was relatively serene in the early rounds, but they had a real battle to win their semi-final against Alleyn’s 2 (11-7, 0-11, 11-2) and ran out of steam for the final against the even-harder hitting St. Paul’s 1 pair (losing 1-11, 5-11). (JM)

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

Sporting quote for the week:

“You may be better than the rest, but you are not a success until you have made the effort to become the best you can be. John Wooden former NCAA College basketball coach

M.S. Burley

Director of Sport

10th January 2024

X: @WinCollSports