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Review of the Lent Half - Games

 Field Game
 
The  competitions once again were  disrupted  by two  substantial snowfalls early in the season.
 
Mr Harris’s and Mr Gregg’s dominated the senior and junior leagues respectively, but neither was to win their Ties competition. For the seniors, it was the 150th year since the “Eton Challenge Cup” for House Ties was first awarded in 1860 (i.e. 10 years older than the FA Cup), and Mr Warnes’s won a close tussle against Mr Roberts’s who, most unfortunately, were runners up for the third consecutive year. The cup for Junior Ties also has a long tradition and dates from 1865. This year Mr Oliphant-Callum’s were worthy winners after thoughtful and superior tactics consigned Mr Gregg’s juniors to their only defeat of the season.
 
The Whiteley Cup is awarded to the best house overall. Four houses were in contention, but the consistent performances from Mr Warnes’s (and arguably the vital points won by their 2nd Junior team) won the cup outright from Mr Gregg’s, Mr Oliphant-Callum’s and Mr Grenier’s. The Endeavour Cup was won by Mr McKee’s.
 
Up to Eight school Field sides have been out each Saturday playing hundreds of OEs over the half.  The fixture list has grown considerably in the last decade and it is excellent to see the game so enjoyed by current Etonians and OEs alike, the latter being mainly recent OEs, although a number of teams hail from the mid 1980s. 
 
Hockey
 
This season started on a difficult note. The snow and a lack of pre-season training meant that all teams had an uphill struggle right from the start. However, the ground staff worked tirelessly to enable six matches to be played on the first weekend against Radley.  The 1st XI lost a number of strong players last year and went into the season with a number of uncapped boys. These boys have developed during the season under the leadership of Archie Innes (JMN) and David Arwas (WFM). Their best performance of the season came when they qualified through the Berkshire Cup for the regional championships. 
 
The U16A team also progressed through the Berkshire Cup in their best performance of the season. Their record over the season was better than expected and there are some strong players making their way into the 1st XI next season. The U16 C team also posted a number of excellent results. The U15A team performed well on the back of their U14 season. The U14s have developed some strength in depth with some good results at A team level and some excellent ones at B and C team.
 
Mr McKee’s beat Mr Moore’s in a well-fought encounter in the Senior House Hockey Cup. In the junior competition, Mr Foster’s beat Mr McKee’s. 
 
Rowing
 
The highlight of this half for the Boat Club was The VIII retaining the headship at the Schools’ Head of the River Race, winning in even grander style than last year by a margin of 25 seconds.  Victories for the 2nd VIII (who came an impressive 6th overall) and Colts B, along with the retention of the Thames Team Trophy (for the fastest three aggregate times) meant that, in terms of pennants at least, it was an exact rerun of last year.
 
Earlier in the season there had been three wins at Peterborough for Upper Boats, with strong performances for the Colts group also.  Wind and stream put paid to Reading, but the season closed for most at Kingston with wins for The VIII, 2nd VIII and Colts A.  Junior Colts raced at Hampton and, as ever, spent the half closing some of the gap on their rivals before heading to Schools’ Head in matched top crews.  With four Junior Colts eights boating almost every session, there is the depth crucial to a successful programme.
 
Over the holidays The VIII will race at the Head of the River to test themselves against the best opposition.  Seven boys will then head to the GB programme’s Easter assessment before Upper Boats and Colts head to their usual haunt in Portugal for training camp.  Junior Colts boys will spend a week on home waters.
 
Football
 
In their off-season, the Association reached the final of the Elgin Capital Southern Independent Schools League at the end of February where they lost out to the only goal of the game.  
 
The Old Etonian Football Club has reached the final of the Arthur Dunn Cup which will be played on Saturday, 17 April at Imperial University Ground in Teddington.
 
Rugby
 
This season saw the school’s first senior tournament win.  This happened at the Middlesex Sevens, a strong result considering the quality of the opposition.  Our Senior VII also came away as emphatic winners of the Plate at the Windsor Sevens and won their groups at both the Surrey Sevens and Rosslyn Park.  The Colts VII reached the final at the Millfield Sevens and lost in the Plate final at Guildford, while the standard and numbers in E and F block are encouraging for the future.
 
This July forty boys from Eton College Rugby Football Club will be touring Argentina, playing games in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Santa Fe. Simon Halliday, ex-England and Bath RFC, will be hosting a fundraising dinner and auction on Monday 31st May in Eton. Should you be interested in attending the dinner or supporting the tour in any way, please contact the Master-in-Charge, Sean Lambert (s.lambert@etoncollege.org.uk).
 
Water Sports
 
Alex Farrell (GRP) has won the Victor Ludorum in the House Swimming Competition which I believe is the first time an F Blocker has ever achieved this.
 
Both the U16 and U18 Eton water polo teams have fought their way through to their respective finals of the English Schools (ESSA) water polo competition 2010. Both teams will play one Sunday in the Summer Half at a neutral West Midlands venue where they will take on representative schools from the North.
 
Tennis
 
Robin Drysdale and Jason Harrison will be running the annual Easter Tennis Camp at Willowbrook on 19th and 20th April from 10am - 3pm each day.  It is a very good opportunity to prepare for the start of the Summer Half. The Camp will cater for all ages and standards and boys are welcome to come with a friend (not necessarily Etonian).  The cost will be £70 for the two days, or £40 for one day to be charged to the school account; boys are requested to bring packed lunches.  If you are interested, please contact: Robindrysdale@btinternet.com
 
Rackets
 
Too late for my last newsletter, but back in December James Giddins (MAG) reached the final of the Ingledon-Webber Cup in the Public Schools Singles championships at The Queen’s Club.  Henry Faber (TEJN) reached the quarter-final in the prestigious Foster Cup and there was a record Eton entry across all four competitions. 
 
Just in time for this newsletter:  Eton's colts pair of James Giddins (MAG) and Robert Dashwood (MJP) have won the Eric Angus Cup for Colts pairs in the Doubles championships at Queen’s.  They defeated the top seeds Tonbridge in a thrilling final by four games to three.  The School Doubles for 2010 was won by Henry Faber (TEJN) and Archie Burgess (MJP).   Mr Polglase's pair finished as winners of a strong House Doubles competition.  James Watt (PJMcK) was the winner of the New Boy Singles.
 
Other Sports
 
Will Ryle-Hodges (RGGP) won the Senior Steeplechase, breaking the previous record by an astonishing 5 minutes and 14 seconds.
 
Henry Boteler (MAG) became the first Etonian for some 40 years to win a national Public Schools fencing title, in Sabre.  He is the first Etonian to be selected for a British team for a major championship whilst still at school (the cadet European Championships in Athens and the World Championships in Azerbaijan).
 
Archie Burgess (MJP) and Jamie Giddins (MAG) won the National Inter-Schools Real Tennis Championships.
 
The School badminton team has completed another very successful season, winning all inter-school matches as well as the prestigious Harrow Five Schools tournament.
 
DATE POSTED: 09 April 2010

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