Craig, David Hit Top Note as U11s Are Back on Song!

It has been an impressive week for the U11 football team, who have travelled nearly 500 miles to play in three events! Following their qualification for the National ISA 5-a-side finals in Grimsby last Friday, the team have been to Southport and York this week for games. On Wednesday, an A and B team took on Scarisbrick Hall School in a now annual challenge match.

The B team game gave many of the boys who train with the first team an opportunity to get some much deserved game time. Jaydon was given the captaincy of the team and asked to control the midfield. Thomas was to be the rock in the heart of the defence alongside Moaed. Toby and Jake took up the wide positions with Kian and Henry the main strikers. With Bhargav in between the posts, the team set about their opponents with energy and enthusiasm. Driven on by Jaydon, Bridgewater forged a series of chances, but could not find a way past the Scarisbrick goalkeeper.

However, the pressure began to tell and following more good approach play from Jaydon, Jake scored to put Bridgewater ahead. Minutes later, a through ball from Kian found Henry in space and he made no mistake. With Bridgewater 2-0 up at half time, the boys were excited and eager to get back out on the pitch. In the second half, Jake hit the bar, Toby went close with a free- kick and Kian had a series of shots, as did Jake, but Bridgewater could not find another goal. At the other end, Thomas and Moaed repelled attack after attack and battled to keep Scarisbrick out. When they did get past, the opposition found Bhargav in magnificent form. With at least five vital saves to his name, Bhargav was instrumental in securing a clean sheet for the team. Bridgewater were delighted as the final whistle blew and can be proud of a hard fought 2-0 win.

On the adjacent pitch, the A team were in total control against Scarisbrick’s first team. Tobias made an impressive debut at the heart of the defence and even showed Harper how to defend at times. Matteo was physically imposing in midfield, whilst Craig, Regan and David were too hot for the Scarisbrick defence to handle. George had little to do in the Bridgewater goal, although he was beaten by a fiercely driven free kick midway through the second half.

Nevertheless, Scarisbrick only managed to breach the Bridgewater goal the once. On the other hand, Bridgewater found the back of the net ten times. Craig continued his fine form in front of goal and scored five goals. Harper scored a solid header from a corner and David lashed one in from an impossible angle for his goal. Regan scored the goal of the game with a delightful chip to complete his hattrick. The game underlined how far the team have grown and was the ideal preparation for the final game of the week at Queen Ethelburga’s in York.

A squad of 11 players set off to York on Thursday to tackle Queen Ethelburga’s in the quarter-final of the ISA Cup. On arrival, the boys ate what was left of their lunch in a heated bus stop, with a plasma tv, coffee machine and a table football game. The latter brought huge excitement to proceedings, as a competition to find the best players soon developed. Jaydon proudly took the individual honours and Matteo and Thomas took the pairs title. Unfortunately, the table football was the only football Thomas was to play as he hurt his ankle in the warm up.

The rest of the squad remained intact and faced off against QE with confidence. Bridgewater dominated possession early on, but despite a string of chances Craig and David could not score past an inspired keeper. Alfie was moved from the back and following a lovely run and cross from Josh, Alfie controlled and fired past the keeper to go 1-0 up. Minutes later, George played a quick ball out to Craig who passed down the line to Alfie. Alfie drifted past two defenders to cut the ball back for David to tap over the line to put Bridgewater 2-0 up. On the stroke of half time, Matteo put David in on goal and he fired the team into a 3-0 lead.

In the second half, Queen Ethelburga’s found more aggression and began to force Bridgewater back. Craig was caught in possession and there was nothing Luca could do to stop the ball nestling into the bottom corner. Briefly, Queen Ethelburga’s looked to be back in the game, but a calm run and finish from Alfie eased the Bridgewater nerves. Jaydon went close to extending the lead, as did Josh. Regan cleared two headers for the QE defence (!) and was unlucky was a couple of other chances at the far post. The final word went to Bridgewater, as David fired in a fantastic near post strike to complete his hattrick and a deserved 5-1 win.

With a week off ahead, thoughts can turn to an exciting end to the football season and to other events too. Next up is a rugby 7s tournament on Saturday 29th February at Terra Nova School at 9.30am. In the meantime, well done to all the players who have represented Bridgewater so very well in the last week. You have deserved the rest!

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A day in the life of the Tudors at Ordsall Hall


What better way to start a visit to Ordsall Hall than with a full wedding feast – celebrating the nuptials of Lord and Lady Buxton (Hamza and Elissa), our servants brought out a succession of delicious (if you were a noble) treats and fancies for the assembled guests.  A few merchants made it to the wedding table, but they were treated only to helpings of vegetable and horse bread.  Most were relieved to find out that they were only to be served beer to drink – after all, who wants to drink the foul potion carried in from the local river?

Once the feast was cleared away, we learned that some of the workers of the house required replacing and went to see if we could get ourselves jobs.  Water to be fetched from the river half a mile away (all for a penny a day), meat to be turned on the open fire (the last poor meat turner fell into the fire! – the risk meant you might earn two pennies a day and get a day off each week), spices to be ground, fresh game to be plucked and skinned.  We saw a cockentrice that had been prepared – the torso of a turkey sewn to the head and body of a pig.  The main idea of the dish was to use parts of regular animals to create an impression of a mythical beast, which would surprise the guests both with its unusual appearance and impressive taste.  Being mere servants, there was no chance we would get a taste.

We visited our potential sleeping quarters at the top of the house – surprise at the lack of beds and the cold for the forty servants who would be sleeping up here, and disgust at the potential unpleasant sounds and smells we would experience whilst there.

Time to see how the other half lived: we visited the Star Chamber where we saw the Radclyffe Bed, the only piece of furniture original to the house.  Tommy-Jack and Frankie were summoned by the Queen to hustle to London with their Salford army to repel the Spanish Armada, and thus we saw the two knights don their fighting garb in readiness for battle.  Seeing how fierce they looked, it was no surprise the Armada were unsuccessful in their invasion plans!

Upstairs, we visited our Lady’s chamber, and saw some of the elegant clothing of the period.  No one was tempted to use her bath, but we did make our own potpourri to mask the smells – what would you expect when the Lord and Lady only bathe once a year?

Our day was finished with a spot of Tudor dancing – simple yet elegant.  A great day – thanks to the staff at Ordsall for welcoming us and making history come alive for us.

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Bridgewater Left To Rue Missed Chances!

Bridgewater went close to emulating last year’s U9 team, but crashed out in the semi- final of the Premier Sport Basketball Tournament on Monday evening. The team got off to a confident start, dominating the ball and creating a host of scoring opportunities. However, many of these changes went begging and this was to be the downfall for Bridgewater ultimately.

In the opening game against Lightoaks B, the team ran out 6-0 comfortable winners. Anton scored two and Frankie one, but Tommy and Kian could not convert further chances in the game. A good start was made even better in game two, as Bridgewater found more accuracy under the basket and defeated St Johns 8-2. Anton was once more the coolest at the basket adding another three to his tally, with Tommy scoring one to secure the win.

In game three, Lightoaks A used the height advantage of some of their players to good effect. Sam and Raj struggles for rebounds and Kian and Tommy could not retain possession in key areas. Alex scored a nice basket for Bridgewater, but the opponents netted four times for a deserved 8-2 win. This meant that in the final game of the group, Bridgewater needed a win to qualify for the semi-finals. Despite a late reply from Grosvenor School, another basket from Anton and Frankie was enough to put Bridgewater through in runners up spot in the league.

In the semi-final, Bridgewater went up against Lightoaks B, for the right to play Lightoaks A in the final. The boys started well and took an early lead courtesy of Anton once more. Bridgewater continued to dominate the ball but failed to convert chance after chance. A fantastic long range shot put the teams level as the game moved into “golden basket” time. Despite having the bulk of possession and being the better team, Bridgewater could not score any of their fifteen shots! Inevitably, Lightoaks had one chance and scored to give them a shock 4-2 win and a place in the final.

It is back to the drawing board and some more practice for the team in front of the basket. The boys will bounce back in the near future and can now turn their attention to a game of tag rugby against Pownall Hall Prep after half term.

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The Indoor Athletics Magnificent Seven (plus others…)

Attached are the results from the AJIS Indoor Athletics held recently at Robin Park, Wigan.  A special mention to Craig and Moaed who retained their title from last year in the Standing Vertical Jump and the Standing Long Jump; Tobias who took bronze having won gold last year; and Eloise, who almost broke the Championship record in winning gold in the Chest Push. Also, well done to Jackson for his bronze in the Soft Javelin event and another bronze for Alfie in the 3 lap race. Finally, a brilliant combined run from Alfie and Luca saw them take silver in the physically and tactically demanding 6 lap Paarlauf race. In all Bridgewater took 32 Prep V and VI competitors and the behaviour, attitude and performance in events on the day was of the highest standard. With 27 AJIS schools competing in each event, winning a medal is a tremendous achievement. Well done to all our athletes and we are looking forward to the outdoor athletics events in the summer.

Results Indoor athletics Results


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In The Footsteps Of Giants!

Last month, the Bridgewater U16 team won the National 6-a-side football competition, an undoubtedly fantastic achievement. With this as an inspiration for the Prep U11 squad, two teams set off on Friday to the north-east coast to participate in the ISA Northern 5-a-side football tournament. The competition has been held at St James School in Grimsby for the last 17 years and this was Bridgewater’s first foray into the competition. The event is the first step on the ladder to reaching the National Final in May, with the top four schools qualifying. With 16 schools entering, there was a total of 24 teams competing for the Northern title and reaching the last four was going to take resilience, passion and determination to battle through the group stages.

Bridgewater entered an A and a B team, with both teams having strengths and hoping to go far in the competition. The A team started off with a brilliant move in the opening seconds that saw Craig strike the post when it looked easier to score. Bridgewater dominated the game against Queen Ethelburga’s B, but in the end a solitary goal from Craig was enough to secure a 1-0 win. In game two, the match followed a similar pattern, with Bridgewater controlling possession but struggling to score on a difficult pitch and a stubborn Abbey Gate defence. Matteo went close early on and moments later fired in a sweet shot from distance to put Bridgewater ahead. Once again chances came and went for the team with Craig and Josh having opportunities to win the game. However, with the last kick of the game, Abbey Gate cleared a Bridgewater corner and a powerful drive from the striker flew past Luca in goal. A 1-1 draw felt like a defeat, but the team had no time to wallow as the next game up was The Grange B team.

Immediately from the kick off Bridgewater struck as Craig found the bottom of the net from close range. Luca in goal was protected admirably by Harper and Matteo, leaving Josh and Craig to benefit up front. Josh added two more before Luca B went close twice in a minute. The game finished 3-0 to Bridgewater and next up were the unbeaten Hale Prep. The game was to be a pivotal one as a defeat would leave qualification on a knife edge. Unfortunately, a momentary hesitation from Luca in goal led to Hale taking a 1-0 lead at half time. Bridgewater pressed for an equaliser throughout the second half but could not find a way past the opposition defence. Matteo hit a thunder bolt that crashed off the bar late on but the game ended in a 1-0 win to Hale.

In the final game of the group stage, the team knew that only a win and a win by a large margin would put Bridgewater back in the hunt. To their credit, the team were incredible in their pursuit of goals. Josh scores a delightful solo goal following a jinking run, but Craig stole the show with an amazing five goals! A 6-0 win meant Bridgewater could do more but hope for results to go their way…. and that is exactly what happened. In the last game of the group, Queen Ethelburga’s B shocked group leaders with a 1-0 win to put them through and leave Bridgewater as group winners.

Meanwhile, it is over to Coach Jessica to tell the tale of the B team fortunes. In the first match, Bridgewater beat Argdale with a 1-0 win. The last minute goal was from Jaydon which built from a great run from David and a header from Regan. The boys’ confidence was boosted by their first win in the tournament.

In the second match against Cundall Manor things didn’t get off to a great start with George having to make some great saves to keep the team in the game. A half time switch led to Jackson coming on to save the day with a great goal to win the game 1-0, another assist from David!

In the third game against hosts St James School, spirits were high for the B team and they attacked the game with confidence. Regan scored his first goal of the tournament within a minute of the match beginning, followed by two more from David before half time! In the second half the boys sat back to make for a more even game for the hosts. However, with George’s goal keeping skills and another great goal from David the boys won the game 4-0!

The fourth game against Hipperholme was an important one, as we needed a win or a draw in order to secure a place in the quarter finals. The boys worked hard once again, however goal keeping skills from both sides and some great defensive work from Thomas at the back, meant the game finished 0-0 at full time. However, the draw was all we needed and win, lose or draw in the last game… we were through!

The final game saw Bridgewater B face their strongest opponents yet, The Grange A. The game got off to an even start until one of The Grange boys went down in a tackle. Two of our boys showed great sportsmanship as they went over to see if their opponent was not hurt. However, the referee did not stop the game and this left Bridgewater two players down and The Grange took advantage to score. The boys continued to show great determination to look for an equaliser, but it was not to be and The Grange scored again ending the game 2-0. Although the boys were disheartened at their first loss all day, they were still through to the quarter finals where they would face a team very close to home… Bridgewater A!

With 24 teams now down to 8, the quarterfinals beckoned, and Bridgewater A found themselves up against Bridgewater B. The upside of the draw was that Bridgewater would have a representative in the semi-finals and by doing so, also the National Finals in May! The respective coaches of both teams – Mr Altdorf and Miss Altdorf shook hands before the game and wished both teams the best of luck. The A team dominated the first half and a headed goal from Harper and another from Craig put them 2-0 up at half time. However, the B team were not going out without a fight and they bossed the second half. Jaydon scored a lovely goal to reduce the arrears, before Regan forced a fantastic save out of Luca.  The game finished 2-1 to the A team and the B team sunk to their knees and tears flowed. However, they should feel very proud of their performance and they have all put themselves, along with the returning Alfie, in line for selection in May.

The A team went into the semi-final with extra determination to do it for themselves and the B team. Their opponents were the unbeaten Lady Barn Prep, who had brushed aside all challenges in their group. A physically bigger side, with strong and quick players, Lady Barn forced Bridgewater back and took a deserved 1-0 lead at half time. A quick team talk and a tactical re-shuffle and the team went out in the second half to throw the “kitchen sink” at Lady Barn. Harper was left on solo defensive duties as Matteo pushed into midfield to add depth to the attacks. The pressing game worked brilliantly as Josh was played through to deftly level the tie at 1-1. Moments later, Josh robbed the opposition centre – back on the halfway line to race through a fire the ball into the roof of the net. Lady Barn were stunned and never really recovered, leaving Bridgewater to hold out for a fabulous 2-1 win and a place in the ISA Final.

In the final, the holders of the title and the only team with a 100% winning record lay in wait … The Grange School. The game was never a classic, with both teams cancelling each other out in defence and midfield. Neither side created any real opportunities in the entire game and it came down to two half chances, one taken and one not. Early in the second half, a Grange player found a rare moment of time to deliver a cross to the far post that was bundled over the line by the striker. Bridgewater had one chance to force extra time when Craig was put in on goal, but went with the wrong foot and the keeper smothered the ball to safety. The final blast of the whistle went to the delight of The Grange and the despair of both Bridgewater teams. However, the boys can be extremely proud of their achievement and can look forward to competing in the National Final in May. It was a long nine hour day of travel and football, but it was definitely worth it. From the evidence of the singing on the bus on the return journey, the Bridgewater Choir is also one worth seeing in the near future. Well done team!

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Recreating a Viking Long Ship

It’s always exciting for a teacher to see class projects brought in from home that have been set for homework.  What is not always appreciated is the amount of effort that goes into these projects.  Take Prep IV’s Blake, who had a very professional approach to the building of his very own Viking long ship.

How I made my Viking boat…

I made my Viking boat in my Dad’s workshop. First the template for my Viking boat was uploaded to the CNC from the computer. The CNC cut out the template in the wood. Next I sealed the wood by painting on a sealer so it would be ready to sand. I sanded the parts using an electric sander, so they were ready to paint. I used spray cans to paint all the parts of the boat. I put it together with wood glue and then left it overnight to set.

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Girls Go Close in Football Festival

It was with some excitement that ten Prep V and VI girls departed Bridgewater this morning for their first competitive football fixture since the Valencia tour last October at AJIS U11s Girls’ Football Festival hosted by St. Bede’s College.  Indeed, for some it was to be their fix competitive fixture ever: on the bus to the tournament, Eloise was heard to mutter, “I don’t know why I’m here, I’ve never played football before.  I hope I don’t try to pick the ball up and run down the pitch with it.”

With strict instructions not to pick the ball up, Eloise started her footballing career in defence, very quickly forming a solid defensive partnership with Molly in our first game against Manchester High.  From the first whistle, our girls’ enthusiasm was plain to see, and a Leeds style high press put early pressure on the Manchester defence – after a break down the left by Nyla and a well saved shot from Evie B, Allegra pounced on the loose ball in the box to poke home Bridgewater’s opener.  Of course, a high press leaves a team open to the counterattack, and despite constant Bridgewater pressure, Manchester High broke away to score an equaliser, notwithstanding the best efforts of Emma in goal to scramble across.  From the restart and the introduction of Mia in attack to make a nuisance of herself, Manchester High were reduced to desperate defending – one clearance fell to Molly 30 yards out who struck the ball first time, only to see the ball ricochet away to safety off the cross bar.  It wasn’t to be – a draw to open our account.

In the second game, Bridgewater came up against The Grange.  Once again, the girls played a high pressing game – 90% of the game was played in the Grange half.  The introduction of Darcy and Juliette gave the girls – not that they needed it! – a lift and their energy helped keep the pressure on The Grange.  However, it was perhaps the girls’ exuberance that prevented them converting from the possession they had – a little more composure in front of goal would surely have led to the opener.  Unfortunately, on only their second foray into the Bridgewater half, The Grange earned a corner.  Emma tipped the first corner away, but the second was drilled into the Bridgewater penalty area – no problem, seemingly, as Eloise got to the ball first and attempted to clear it, only to see it hit a retreating Grange player and bounce past the stranded Emma in the Bridgewater goal.  A really unlucky end to the game, as there was no time even for the restart.

And so it was through to the Plate competition semi-final, and a match up against Stockport.  And so began the Evie O show – we think it was the chocolate orange cookie that she snuck in before the game started that gave her the energy to cover the amount of the pitch that she did.  Her effort and determination drove Bridgewater on and it was her own pressure on the Stockport defence that allowed her to break into the box and rifle a shot past the helpless Stockport keeper.  The lead never looked in trouble as the girls snapped at the Stockport players every time they got the ball – indeed, but for a truly outstanding save from another ferocious Molly long distance shot Bridgewater might have doubled their lead.  But it was enough – it was through to Plate final for the girls.

Our opponents in the final were Bury, and once again the effort and determination of the girls was a joy to watch.  However, Bury had a secret weapon: a goalkeeper who was able, with a bit of wind assistance, to kick the ball the length of the field.  Not only that, but she also made several good saves from Bridgewater pressure, which she was immediately able to turn into attack for Bury.  Molly and Eloise coped well with this, but it was from a Bridgewater corner taken by Molly that the keeper saved well from Allegra, before launching the ball upfield for the Bury player to slot home, via a miss hit shot, past Emma for the opener.  Undeterred, the girls pushed on but were unable to make their pressure pay and it was as they were pressing for the equaliser in the final minute of the game that the keeper again saved, launched the ball long for the Bury striker to latch on to and slot home to make the final score 2-0 to Bury.

Many of these girls began playing football two years ago on the Valencia tour; their improvement through a second tour to today has been incredible.  Those girls that have come into the squad have also shown enthusiasm and no little skill.  From never playing football before, Eloise was actually awarded Player of the Match by the opposition coach for her efforts in the final.  These girls show huge potential, and have been a credit to the school today as they all played with sportsmanship, passion and smiles on their faces all day.  Roll on the next game!

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