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Monkton punches above its weight in sport again

Friday, 23 November 2018

As we always say “Monktonians play sport” and never was this truer than during the first half of the Michaelmas Term, when as a relatively small school, we once again punched above our weight in terms of success, locally and nationally, in many different sports.

In equestrian Tom Griffiths and his horse Kenny, along with their Pony club team mates, enjoyed a success at the National Pony Club Championships in Intermediate Eventing at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire in August. They all had brilliant double clears on the day and went on to win as a team overall and are now National Champions. Tom and Kenny were placed 5th individually in their section and Tom won a special commendation for horsemanship at cross country - only one of 5 under 18s to be awarded this on the day. Tom also qualified for the National Schools (NSEA) Championships where he represented Monkton and had a double clear and dressage score of 30.0, the best in his section.

Our GB Skeleton Bobsleigh team member Ashleigh Pittaway, from Year 12, made a strong start to the season. Firstly, she was in Austria where she competed in a double race of the highest quality with five competitors from this year’s Olympic Games, including British Team mate Laura Deas who was the Bronze Medallist. From 20 finalists Ashleigh finished in 7th place just 0.11 hundredths of a second behind Anna Fernstaedt (Germany) who gained 6th place at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.  In the second race Ashleigh picked up where she left off on the previous day by once again finishing in 7th place. Her two runs were consistent enough to bring Ashleigh within striking distance of the world’s best. Again Ashleigh was just 0.15 hundredths of a second behind Anna Fernstaedt and Marina Gilardoni (Switzerland) who was 11th placed at the Olympic Games 2018. Ashleigh then travelled to Winterberg, Germany where she won a GB selection race and became the current second fastest slider in Britain. She is now hoping to qualify to compete at the World Cup.

At the Bushido Junior National Championships Eliza Davies from Year 7 at the Prep School represented the Bath club on her first ever competitive outing and showed great courage to win two of her contests to take the bronze medal in the girls under 52 kilo category.

In tennis our Year 10 pupil and Team Bath tennis player Zara Burney won the G3 18U Junior Open at Oxstalls. 0-6,1-5 down with a match point against her in her semi-final, Zara showed the most awe-inspiring determination and raised her game to an astonishing level playing winner after winner to eventually win 0-6, 7-6,(7-3), 10-8. She then beat the no 1 seed in the final 7-5, 6-0 having been 2-5 down in the first set. Her win takes her UK junior ranking to 39.

In cross country Year 9 pupil Jack Webb won the BaNES Years 8 and 9 Junior Boys event for the second year running and will go on to Avon County trials in January. He was part of a team of Y8/9 boys from Prep and Senior who, courtesy of 6 finishers inside the top 23 runners (out of over 120), won the team competition at this age group. Jack won this event last year too and then went on to represent Avon County and then the South West at the Cross Country Nationals in Leeds.

Monkton’s proud rowing tradition has continued with a strong start to the year. In the Bluefriars Head Race at Saltford we had some very good results with our two pairs winning J18 and J17 events. Our top J18 pair recorded the 4th fastest time of the day, including 4's and quads as well.  George Shaw and Victoria Brown both sculled as well, with George winning J18 and Victoria winning both J16 and J18.

George was invited by British Rowing to attend a camp in Nottingham which was great news and reward for all his hard training last year and so far this term. Over 4 days George worked with various coaches and learnt many new techniques to improve his performance on and off the water. On the final day there was a time trial and George came a very creditable 7th out of 40. George, Sam Ford and Nick Pritchard also competed at the GB trials in Boston Lincolnshire where George came 39th , Nick came 100th and Sam came 138th. Considering this was against every other Junior 18 sculler in the country it shows they are still in with a chance of selection.

In their most successful season since 1989, our 1st XV rugby team recently completed their home fixtures with a 100% record and have so far won 6 out of their 7 games overall, with 2 away games and a tour to the Netherlands to come. Their success has come whilst playing the free flowing and exciting brand of rugby that has been developing at Monkton in recent years and their victories include matches against Kingswood, 31-12, and Prior Park, 18-10. For a number of the team who started playing rugby in the Prep School and are now in Years 12 and 13, this was the first time they had beaten them in their whole time at the school.Their only loss came in a match against a strong Downside team 12-42 in a game where the boys learned valuable lessons, which they have applied to their other matches.

In the Hockey West UK Avon U13 competition our girls were unbeaten in 6 matches and didn’t concede a single goal, narrowly missing qualification for the West Finals by one goal and finishing third overall. They had even beaten the eventual winners during the rounds.

Meanwhile our U16 Hockey Girls finished as runners-up in the Avon County Hockey Competition and qualified for the West Finals.

These are just a few of the highlights of what has been a great term of sport so far. Alongside these there has been so much spirit, determination, sportsmanship and personal achievement shown every time one of our teams or pupils compete that we could not possibly list them all, but at the same time have not gone unnoticed by everyone at Monkton.

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