Sport Round-Up, 2022-23
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Looking back over the year always gives us so much pleasure, thinking of all the training sessions, matches and of course the smiling NCS faces. Win, lose or draw, the NCS boys give their all and show true sportsmanship. Every boy in Years 3 to 8 has once again represented the school this year with dedication and determination to make all of the coaches really proud.
Back in September when the ground was still hard and we were longing to be able to get back onto the cricket pitches, we began the football season. Long hard training sessions in the wonderful sunshine saw the teams get ready for the upcoming season. The boys were really keen to get going, with the new U8 boys of Year 3 more excited than we’ve ever seen. The U8 and U9 teams kicked things off with some very exciting games against MCS and Cothill, and after two weeks of games the wins had started to flow. A dominant performance against Cothill in particular was really pleasing and saw the boys score lots of goals. Throughout the season we enjoyed some superb results on the U8 and U9 pitches including some special performances from Olly L, Noah S and Chris N. As the season wound its way down towards the end of term, the boys continued to put in hard work, and this was evident in the house matches which saw Wykeham emerge the winners after some exciting and hard-fought games. To conclude the season the boys enjoyed a clean sweep of wins against Christ Church, with a number of NCS hattricks scored.
On the U11 pitches the season got off to a slightly sticky start with the opening games against Cothill and Elstree School extremely competitive. Showing real dedication to the cause, the boys worked extremely hard in their Friday afternoon training sessions. They were determined to improve and improve they did. A turn-around of fortunes was building and after another round of games against Cothill, it was clear the boys’ hard work was beginning to bear fruit. As we approached half term the games against Bruern Abbey and Cranford House saw the boys really click into gear with Noah S, Henry T and Max L-L in particular putting in really strong performances. These wins across the board saw the five NCS teams record some excellent results and a much-needed boost of confidence as we reached the half term break. As the boys began to talk about pre-season hockey training the last few games of the football season were against Christ Church and Sibford. Across the board we once again enjoyed some great results with most teams winning in some really exciting games. Ollie B, Charlie S from Year 5 and Laurence K, Alex M and Hugo C from Year 6 were particularly brilliant in the B and C teams.
The three U13 teams also got in on the act with some superb games across the season. The A team kicked things off with a fantastic couple of games away to Elstree. A 1-0 loss and a 1-0-win against their first and second teams gave us a glimpse of what was to come. To manage three teams at U13 we were selecting every last boy and playing some schools with two or even three times our numbers meant we were fighting hard to compete. This challenge was always met with a steely resolve from the NCS boys and it meant we recorded some brilliant wins in all three teams. After a run of games that saw the teams win at home to D’Overbroeck’s and away to Cothill the boys were then away to Cranford House for what turned out to be the game of the season. One of our toughest games, played on the full-size pitch of Wallingford Town FC saw the NCS boys take the lead thanks to a genius free kick from Dan C to Rishaan C who slotted home the ball. After half time the hosts had taken the lead at 2-1 but again Dan stepped up to take control of the game and ensure we levelled the game at 2-2 with only minutes left on the clock. The determination of the boys was at a level I’d seldom seen and, with literally only seconds left, Dan punted a long-range pass forwards, only to find George W high up on the left wing. Our fantastic left back took the ball down with a deft touch, rounded the defender, attacked the goal line and at such acute angle he slotted the ball home with such calmness it was a joy to behold. Such a win was amazing to be a part of and will live long in all our memories.
As we moved into the hockey season Michaelmas concluded with some really productive pre-season training sessions. The boys ended the term having enjoyed four sessions of quality hockey in preparation for the new season. As the term began the games kicked off with an amazing set of games for the U9s away to MCS. These games saw a set of results that kept everybody happy: three games, one win, one loss and one draw. In the same week the older boys of the U11 and U13 teams played out some excellent but extremely wet games against Cranford House. In the eight games that were played the NCS boys recorded five wins, two draws and only one loss. After two weeks of hockey the boys were really hitting the spot. As half term approached the County Cup events were looming, The U13 boys played on a late January evening at the Oxford Hawks pitches on a cold, wet night. Unfortunately, illness had struck our team leading to a fourth place finish, missing out on qualification to the next round by two goals. We could not have been prouder of the boys that night. They re-grouped and put in a great set of games on the way to the IAPS championships at Cheltenham College including wins at Hatherop Castle and Summer Fields. The championships saw us end up at the quarter final stages again and gave us a wonderful platform to take to the annual seven-a-side tournament at Stowe. The Stowe festival once again saw the boys put in a brilliant performance; following last year’s second place we again found ourselves in the latter stages having not lost a game in the round robin stages. Rishaan C kept up his reputation as a ruthless striker scoring nine goals, including four in one game. In the play-offs we ended up joint third with The Dragon.
The U11 team also got in on the act and proceeded to go one better. They managed to achieve what no other team in NCS history has managed before. After a delay due to frozen pitches the U11 IAPS qualifier at Abingdon finally got underway. At the end of the day the boys had made it to the final and on the way had managed to beat Warwick Prep, Abingdon Prep, and Cranford House, facing last year’s winners Ashfold in the final. A fantastic game ensued with NCS returning with the gold medals! Qualification for the National Finals had been achieved before but never as regional winners. The boys followed this up with winning the Oxfordshire County Championships, also qualifying for the South-Eastern regional finals. The team ended the season attending two major finals and at both they ended the day at the quarter final stages in the plate competitions. NCS is therefore in the top twenty hockey-playing schools in the country at U11. Not too bad at all!
The cricket and tennis seasons entertained us through the summer months. After what was possibly one of the wettest starts to any cricket season we were struggling to train due to rain and wind upsetting our training sessions. However, the clouds eventually dispersed and the games came thick and fast. On the tennis courts the U11 and U12/13 teams faced off against Cranford House and MCS. Some superb games were played out with Tolly D, Max J, Josh C and Max A-B putting in great individual performances in helping the team to victories away at MCS. In the U11 team Thomas H, Tristan B and Peter K were fantastic and Mr Collins was extremely proud of their achievements this term.
On the cricket pitch the U9 boys managed to achieve a magnificent win in the opening game of the season against Ashfold. They backed this up with another fantastic round of games against Christ Church which saw all four of the NCS emerge victorious. The bowling in particular was most impressive with Felix T putting down some brilliant deliveries. Olly L, Emil S and Gianni V were all fantastic with the bat, with all three boys hitting maximums over the rope. After the half term break we saw the boys enjoy some excellent matches in the house matches in which Wykeham completed a clean sweep of wins in taking the cricket title along with the hockey and football. The U8 boys enjoyed three great games against Summer Fields and then the U8 and U9 teams played out their final round of games against MCS. It was amazing to see so many boys out enjoying the sun as once again all of Years 3 and 4 were representing the school so well.
The U11 team enjoyed some mixed results and managed to enjoy wins against MCS and Bruern Abbey before the half term break. After the break the boys competed in the Oxon County Cup and ended as runners up. They followed this up with a great day at Oundle in the U11 IAPS regional qualifiers. As the season progressed the U13 team built on their skills and were narrowly beaten in their IAPS qualifier against Cranford House. Needing to score 142 we fell just short, managing 120 runs from our 20 overs. The next few games saw the boys win against Bruern Abbey thanks to a brilliant bowling display, restricting our hosts to 47 runs for their 20 overs, then the NCS pair of Didrik and Rishaan scored the required runs inside 8 overs. In the second half of term they enjoyed fantastic games away at Winchester House and at home to Christ Church. The final round of games for these boys was the comprehensive win at home to Bruern in the return fixture and the ever-eventful old boys’ game on Wykeham Day: an amazing day to cap a wonderful season.