Sport will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It will leave you frustrated and in despair. It will puff out your chest with pride and make you want the ground to swallow you up with embarrassment. It provides shared experiences, both good and bad, that creates a bond between teammates that live with you forever. Sport is far from boring. We had the whole gamut of emotions this week.
The Year 11 boys basketball team played a friendly against Grey Court's 6th form team on Monday. This was a game of ebbs and flows where neither team could put a run together to deliver a knockout blow. RPA jumped to an early lead but were settling for outside shots, possibly intimidated by the fact the opposition were big (and had beards) and protected the paint well. The outside shot is fool's gold in basketball and this proved to be the case as Grey Court kept pace and trimmed the lead as the low percentage shots failed to fall. Yasin was the only real interior presence and he dominated his match up but RPA were one dimensional and could not get out and run on the break, which is their real strength. Grey Court briefly took the lead in the third before RPA had a six-minute surge of defensive energy which created 10 straight points going into the final minutes. As is the way in basketball, the team with the lead took their foot off the gas and Grey Court responded, bringing it back to a one-point deficit with under two minutes to play. Yasin got the ball inside and hit a clutch turnaround shot under pressure to stretch the lead to three. Both teams traded misses before a silly turnover gave Grey Court the ball with three seconds remaining. During the subsequent timeout the defence were instructed to follow their man and not to foul. It was clear that Grey Court would draw up a play for their captain to shoot a three for the tie. Surely we could defend it. On the inbounds, RPA's man coverage went haywire, leaving a WIDE open shot from the corner to send the game into overtime. It went up, we held our breath...... and the ball just rimmed out. Bullet dodged. Relief!
The Year 11 footballers faced a strong Glenthorne team for a quarter final birth in the Surrey Cup at Riverside Lands. My hackles were raised as the opposition turned up late and strode off their bus to reveal beautifully coiffed hair (including a man bun), surnames on the back of their jerseys and boot bags with three separate stud lengths. The writing was on the wall for an interesting encounter. The game started in a subdued and scrappy manner, with both teams struggling to get a (literal) foothold and keep the ball. Glenthorne created a few early chances, forcing good saves out of Kaine and despite RPA looking very dangerous on the counter the visitors took the lead after Jay was caught out after slipping and the resultant break lead to a tap in for their pacy striker. RPA responded well and dominated possession in the second half and deservedly took the lead when a mishit shot from Chris resulted in Mohamed beating the offside trap and slotting home. Glenthorne were shaken and started to unravel and it looked like there was only going to be one winner. RPA pressed and pressed and as Kyle came into the game RPA created several gilt-edged chances that were spurned. Glenthorne still posed a real threat as the game lost all shape but it stayed 1-1 and went into extra-time. With both teams tiring it looked for all money that the tie would be settled by the dreaded penalty shootout but a poor clearance led to Glenthorne's late, late winner. Man of the Match was Chris.
The Year 9 girls earned their first win with a fantastic team display hammering Christ's on Tuesday. They have shown an appetite for development although they need to work on their lay-ups!
The Year 9 and Year 10 girls rugby teams put up excellent performances against very strong and experienced opposition on Friday. They posted identical records, losing to both Waldegrave and Orlean's Park and beating Grey Court in very evenly matched fixtures. There were a few tears and some crunching hits but I really was impressed with the development within and between the games in both attack and defence. As always, both teams showed great sportsmanship and resilience. Well done girls!
The Year 8 boys finished the week with a nail biting 2-1 victory after extra time to secure their passage to the Surrey Cup quarter-finals. Mr Harrison reports a tight game in which Joseph opened the scoring and the opposition forced an equaliser after half time to force extra time. This game too was seemingly destined for penalties when Jamie beat the goalkeeper to a loose ball and bundled with virtually the final kick of the game!