Page 34 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Independent Schools Football Association’s National Finals were held at St George’s Park in Burton- on-Trent last month. Over 160 independent schools from across the country originally entered
this tournament. After a gruelling groups stage and some thrilling knock-out games, St George’s School, Berkshire, secured the trophy with a 2-0 win over Whitgift in the  nal. This was a sensational achievement for the school.
St George’s Director of Sport Henry Mitchell reports:
Any one of 8 or 9 schools looked like possible contenders and the likes of Westbrook Hay, Dulwich Prep and St. Joseph’s in the Park all impressed before, surprisingly, failing to reach the quarter- nals.
Surprise quarter- nalists were Perse Prep, coming from the East of the country where there is little football in independent schools, and Claremont Fan Court who looked like strong contenders until running out of luck in a quarter- nal penalty shoot-out. Cumnor House succumbed in a Croydon “derby” against Whitgift. Whitgift, reigning champions for the last two years, yet again showed their ability to get the job done, recovering from
a poor start, just a draw from their  rst two games, to qualify from Group B. Everybody knew they were the team to beat if the title was to be won.
In the semi- nals, Whitgift were soon 2-0 up against Altrincham Prep but the northerners fought
Hertfordshire’s Edge Grove School, hosted the IAPS National Under 13s and Under 11s Table Tennis Finals for the second year in a row. Edge Grove pupils  elded a strong team, which yielded success as pupils collected a fantastic four trophies with two of its pupils being named as National Champions.
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back impressively, pulled a goal back and then pressed strongly before going down to a narrow defeat. How they must have regretted that bad start. Meanwhile, in the other semi- nal, Foremarke Hall went ahead against St. George’s, Windsor, and looked to be heading for victory before a late equaliser led to penalties and St. George’s won through.
St. George’s provide the choristers for Windsor Castle so their priorities are often there rather than on the football  eld and therefore they had perhaps been overlooked as potential winners. However, they played  ne football throughout the day and the Final turned out to
be an absolute cracker – certainly the best game of the day. Whitgift pressed from the start, hitting the post and looking in dominant form but, with almost their  rst serious attack, Elliot Dudko opened the scoring for St. George’s with a wonderful individual goal,  t to grace any Cup Final.
In a thrilling second half, Whitgift threw everything at the St. George’s goal but St. George’s
were always dangerous, hitting
the woodwork three times. In the closing moments, Whitgift looked set for a certain equaliser but somehow Nicholas Pierce produced a miraculous goal-line clearance and, moments later, the ball was played through to Dudko who lobbed the goalkeeper to score a second goal for St. George’s, clinch the victory and cue delirious scenes of celebration”.
A busy and memorable day, the championships saw 103 players compete from 17 different schools across 13 tables. The  rst stage of the competition took the form of mini-leagues before progressing to the knockout and playoff phase. All children played at least  ve matches each.
A Derby High School teacher represented Team GB in the ETU Sprint Distance Duathlon European Championships.
Sarah Martin-Smith ran 5km, cycled 20km and  nished with a 2.5km run at the event in Soria, Spain.
The 38-year-old, who is Head of Art at Derby High School, in Hillsway, Littleover, was competing with
22 entrants in the 35 to 39 age category and  nished in one hour 20 minutes.
She said: “I quali ed at events last year after achieving a top four time for my age group.
“I  nished in 14th place and I was really pleased with that; to have come 14th in Europe.
“It was a dif cult course as it was very hilly and the weather was awful. There was torrential rain and gusts of wind at up to 50mph which was hard when I was on my bike.
Bolton School’s water polo teams have made School and national history with their ‘triple triple’
win of English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) Water Polo titles. For the third year in a row, the U18, U15 and U13 teams have won all three ESSA National Championships in the sport.
In early March, the U18 team successfully defended their age group title for the fourth year running, defeating Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School 8-1 after dominating the  nals day. The U15s were equally strong later the same month, winning their  nal against Trinity School 6-2 and holding their national title for a third consecutive year.
That left just the U13s to maintain the winning streak and the pressure was on as the team travelled to Northampton for the  nals.
Opening wins against King Edwards School Birmingham 8-1 and Whitgift 6-2 gave the Bolton School team great con dence
as they progressed to the semi-  nal. There they faced local rivals Manchester Grammar School. On their only previous encounter this year, the two teams had drawn, so there was everything to play for in this match. After a strong start, Bolton won 5-4, scoring the winning goal with 17 seconds left in the game!
I saw a couple of people come off their bikes.
“Overall, it was an amazing experience. There was a big opening ceremony and there was a para- triathlon going on which was great to see.
“It was very well organised and it was also great to go up against so many athletes from all over Europe.”
The  nal was against strong favourites Trinity School, who had previously defeated Manchester Grammar School 6-0 in the
group. A fantastic attitude and performance led to a 3-1 lead, but after being pinned back to 3-3 the game was eventually decided by penalties. However, Joel Male’s two exceptional saves won Bolton the third ESSA title 3-1!
The defence of all three titles for
a third consecutive year, and in particular inspiring the youngest School team to victory against very tough opponents, is arguably Mr McGinty’s  nest hour. Last year,
he was named British Swimming’s Water Polo Coach of the Year for his work at Bolton School, with the Manchester City team, with the ESSA national side and with the GB U19 Squad. His successes have recently been recognised by ESSA, and following on from this he has been appointed the Head Water Polo Coach for English Schools.
Pictured: The U13 water polo team with coaches Mr David Teasdale (left) and Mr Andy McGinty (right) and the trophies

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