OCA Spring Sports Afternoon 2022
Wall to wall sunshine welcomed recent leavers and Old Cats of all generations back to school for the Spring Term Old Cats sports weekend. A wonderful day of sport across netball, basketball, football and hockey brought familiar faces and plenty of smiles all round. A really super day of sport and friendship – and it was particularly good to welcome former parents back to school to cheer on the sides. Wins to the School were secured in basketball and netball with the Old Cats winning the hockey and football. See photos and match reports below.
This year it wasn’t just the recent leavers playing we fielded two Old Cats Netball teams spanning Classes of 2005-2021. We’d love to see more Old Cats of all ages returning to join in the Old Cats Sports Days, so do get in touch if you would like to join in the fun next year.
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School 23 v 18 Recent Leavers
School 21 v 6 OCs
On a bright and sunny Sunday morning the First VII took to the courts to play two teams of Old Cats. It was lovely to catch up with some of the recent leavers and “old Old Cats” and enjoy playing some competitive netball in the sunshine. Despite missing a couple of players due to injury (Ronnie) and a half marathon effort (Joani) the first team won both matches. It was great to play against Miss Bucket who was my first form tutor and is an amazing netballer. There were some stand out goals from Katie Hudson who left a couple of years ago and Amelia Watson also shone in defence.
Highlights for our team was the versatility and watching Sharon have a turn at shooter – using her height and skills at the opposite end of the court from where she usually plays. All in all a great morning of netball and I look forward to this years leavers being able to return for the challenge next year.
Match Report by P Oliver, 2021/22 Captain (Upper Sixth)
School Team: L-R Back Row: Nicola F, Rianna R, Poppy O, Sharon G, Olivia E; Front Row: Rosie H, Imogen L, Julianne G, Ellie S, Willow P
School 49 – 44 OCs
We were delighted to once again go against the old boarders who we used to play. The game itself was competitive but enjoyable. With the current ability of the Upper Sixth squad, we took control of the rhythm and flow of the game, which eventually led us to victory. The Old Cats put up a great fight, with Jack Wang and Max Hristov leading the OC team in scoring. It was a memorable event and the highlight of the day was definitely when we all played 1v1 against Jack afterwards.
Match Report by Jeremy Chan, 2021/22 Captain (Upper Sixth)
School & OC teams below, also a special thank you to our table officials Ivan C and Jerry T (Fifth Years).
OCs 6 v 5 School
The 1st XI stepped out for the penultimate time this term, this time facing a formidable line up of ex 1st XI Old Cats. Superstars from previous years littered the OCs team, with “brick wall” Dom Wells donning the kit again in goal, ex England U18 international Ollie Hamilton bossing the midfield and Alex Criscuolo’s sculpted arms providing some intimidation in the forward line. However the current 1st XI had firepower of their own; captain, leader legend Fraser B. leading the team out, the hugely athletic Austin T. providing cover at the back and the ever energetic Will S. providing some spark in attack.
The anticipation in the crowd was palpable, and the first half didn’t disappoint. Some slick attacking hockey and some loose defending made for an entertaining half with the teams going in to half time 2-2. The second half saw much of the same, chances at both ends, some unbelievable saves from both goalkeepers and some very expressive counter attacking hockey played. It all built to a crescendo, 5-5 as the game entered the final minute. The current 1st XI, after some exceptional team defence, had the ball on the counter attack. Driving down the right hand side and with numbers committed forward in search of the winner, they turned the ball over as a result of a fantastic backhand tackle, and as the seconds ticked away the Old Cats burst forward. They entered the circle and a stretching Andrew J. in goal agonisingly couldn’t keep out the deflection. The Old Cats wheeled away in celebration, taking the game 6-5 and along with it, the bragging rights for another year.
OCs 4 v 1 School
Old Cats weekend always delivers exciting sporting events and the Old Cats vs School football match certainly did not disappoint. With a side containing leavers from 2018 right through to 2020, a competitive first half saw the Old Cats emerge 1-0 up having absorbed some heavy pressure from the school team, Old Cat Theo Boutell the goal scorer. Nonetheless, the Old Cats looked dangerous each time they went forward. The School team was aided by the abilities of three staff, Mr Ware, Mr Salem and Mr Friend. A combination of the latter’s introduction and the resumption of the high possession, intense pressure from the School team finally made the Old Cats pay. The winger on the school side cut into the penalty area from the right hand side and placed a low shot on goal. The shot then fell kindly into the path of Mr Friend via a deflection, levelling the game with the keeper stranded.
It now looked as if the game was only headed in one direction. Following this, a ball played through from the school landed at the feet of Josh B placing him one on one with the goalkeeper. It looked as if there was only going to be one outcome however a smart smothering save from the keeper appeared to turn the game on its head. As from the resulting clearance the Old Cats sprung to life on the attacking front. A flurry of good chances eventually meant that it was that man again, Theo Boutell, whose stinging shot proved just too much for the keeper to handle. The score 2-1 to the Old Cats with time quickly running out. Naturally hints of desperation began to seep into the School team. Inevitably, the School were left open for the counter attack and having almost scored an amazing solo goal moments before, up steps Dylan Page to slot in the crucial 3rd goal.
With the game decided, as the School pressed for a consolation, it was 2018 leaver Tom Larsson who neatly tucked away a 4th at the death. Full time Old Cats 4, the School 1. Special mention to Old Cat Vice Captain Caelan Thomas who was crucial to keeping the midfield battle alive even when under intense pressure and to Fraser B on the school side who, after the game, a (potentially mis-informed) parent described as the best player on the pitch. A gripping game in beautiful weather. What more could one hope for?
Match Report by Isaac Salem (OC 2020)