The 2018/19 season has been a spectacular one for our young sporting athletes in a variety of sports and age groups. Without doubt, the stand out year group has been the U9 age group, who have had remarkable individual and collective success across the board.
The U9s are the ISA North Tag Rugby winners, ISA North Cross Country team winners, Premier Sports Basketball winners, ISA North 6-a-side Football winners, ISA North 7-a-side Cup winners and the AJIS Pairs Cricket finalists. Individually, Luca B represented the ISA North in the National Cross Country Championships, whilst having won the ISA North Cross-Country event, Alfie joined Luca in the Nationals in Rugby.
Ellen won the ISA North Long Jump event for the second successive year to represent the North in the Nationals, whilst Alfie capped an incredible year by taking gold in the ISA North Athletics Championships in the 60m Sprint and the 600m race. Alife then followed this up by taking gold in the Nationals in Birmingham as part of the ISA North 4 x 100m relay team and took bronze in the 600m.
Whilst we are undoubtedly proud of the U9’s achievements this year, we are equally proud of all our teams and how well they have represented Bridgewater School on and off the playing fields. There have been an impressive number of fixtures this year for Prep children and the extra-curricular programme of clubs has been well supported attended by many of our loyal and enthusiastic sports people. To give you a flavour of what has happened in sport this season, the following is a run-down of competitions and events month by month.
In September 2018, the U11 football team travelled to The Kings School, Chester and qualified for the main ISA Cup Competition. Captain Owen led the team by example on a blustery day, whilst the U10s and U9s were on residentials in Wales and the Lake District. The MCFC football tournament gave our youngest of eager footballers a chance to go to the magnificent Etihad facility, and for the U6s a first opportunity to represent Bridgewater. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, it was the U9s who stole the headlines in the tournament, reaching the semi-finals, only to crash out courtesy of the infamous penalty shoot-out. At the end of the month the U9 netball and football teams travelled to the Grange School and both put up outstanding performances in narrow 4-3 and 2-1 losses respectively.
In October, all the focus was on the Valencia FC football trip, as 35 lucky Prep boys and girls travelled to Spain. The six-day trip had so many highlights including games against the local Spanish teams, coaching with Valencia FC coaches at the state of the art Paterna Academy, a tour round the Mestella Stadium , watching a La Liga fixture in Villarreal, a trip to the Valencia beach and a night at Heion City for a meal and Laser Quest! It was so good, we are going back in October 2019 with another 39 footballers of all abilities for another taste of European football.
In November, the Salford Cross Country League began with four races held on Saturday for runners from Prep III to VI. We have had some fantastic support in the last couple of years from parents and children. Jessica was thrilled to secure a top 15 position in the final race to give her the honour of doing so in the last four seasons. Head girl Florence led by example completing all four races for the second year in a row, and she was joined by Sebastian, Anya, Luca , Maia, Tobias and Thomas in achieving this show of loyalty and commitment. The numbers have risen once more this year with a record 28 runners turning up at Buile Hill Park on a cold and wet winter’s morning.
November was topped by the U9 Tag Rugby team retaining the ISA North title at Manchester Rugby Club, and the same team followed this up with a comfortable win over Greenbank in the ISA Cup. The U11 netball team eased past Cransley in a challenge match, as did the football ‘A’ team. In the ISA U11 Basketball tournament Bridgewater were on course for another shot at the title and were unstoppable until an injury to Ellen (the top scorer), sending the team out of the semi-final stage.
December was a quiet month as the school performance of ‘Wind in the Willows’ gave our sports stars a chance to focus on their other talents.
In January, the U11 football team lost a thriller against Kirkham Grammar in the AJIS quarter finals. Meanwhile, the girls’ football team launched their season with a win over Bury Grammar and a draw with hosts St. Bedes. The U11 and U9 football teams travelled to the picturesque Scarisbrick Hall and played some beautiful football to win both games. Also in January we had some fabulous performances at the ISA Indoor Athletics Championships at Robin Park, Wigan. With nearly forty athletes in attendance from Bridgewater to compete against thirty other ISA schools, finishing in the top 10 of an event was going to be an achievement. Our athletes surpassed all expectation with 12 finishes inside the top six in various events, whilst we had Gold medals for Craig and Moaed and a Bronze for Tobias!
Moving into February, the ISA North Cross Country Championships took place at Beech House, Rochdale. The U9 boys team excelled by winning the team event, with Luca finishing fourth overall and Alfie winning the individual event. In all, 43 Prep III to VI runners represented the school and demonstrating the popularity of the event and the commitment of our children in wanting to represent the school. A special thank you to the Prep Cross Country Club staff in helping prepare runners for the competition of a Friday lunchtime throughout the year.
The U9 team were at it again in February, winning the Premier Sports Basketball Tournament at Bridgewater. However, the joy of winning this event was surpassed by the U6 football team, who absolutely loved participating in the Bury Grammar Football Festival.
As we moved towards March, the U9 football team dispatched The Firs to reach the finals, but the U11 team lost 3-2 at the same stage of the competition, also to The Firs. A fighting 2-2 draw with St. Mary’s, Crosby softened the blow the next day to finish their football season with pride. The U9 team won again and followed this up by winning their side of the AJIS U9 Football Festival at Cheadle Hulme. The netball team returned to action with a tournament at Hulme Hall and were rewarded with a Fair Play Award. The girls also competed admirably in the High 5s event and the AJIS tournament later in the month.
In a change of focus, the U11 Rugby team moved from tag to contact and made their mark in the Daniel Davies Tournament in Liverpool. A touch nervous at first, the boys soon got to grips with the physical side of the game, especially Matteo in the tackle and Lukee flying down the wing. Comment of the year must go to Alfie who, to the delight of Mr Rooney, described “Rugby Union as a man’s game, and league as a game for softies”. He soon began to wish he was playing League after the first minute as a Manchester Grammar giant ran him and one or two others over for a try!
In April, Alfie and Luca ran for the ISA North of England team in the National Cross Country Championships at the Illustrious Rugby School. Following the Easter break, someone had forgotten to tell the weather that Spring had arrived! In torrential wind and rain, fifteen biathletes ran and swam in the AJIS Biathlon at Rossall School. Hari was the top performer for Bridgewater in the boy’s event, closely followed by Matteo and Harrison. In the girl’s event, it was Ellen and Jessica who got the closest to the leaders for the Bridgewater U11 team.
On May 1st, the U9 football team became ISA North Cup winners, a first for the school at this age group. The boys, and Molly, followed this up by winning the ISA North 6-a-side Cup on a wonderful day in York, at the magnificent Queen Ethelburga College. The football season closed with the U6 team almost reaching the final of the Premier Sports 6-a-side competition.
With summer finally arriving, the U11 rounders team beat Lightoaks in a warm up game before competing both the ISA tournament at Alderley Edge and the AJIS event in Lytham. Two Prep VI boys, Lukee and Oliver B, were entered into the AJIS Tennis Tournament at The Kings School, Chester, and Lukee went on to actually win the Plate Competition. Both the U11 cricket teams and rounders teams defeated Pownhall Prep, whilst the U9 cricket team comfortably beat St. Bedes, Manchester. In athletics, almost half of Prep III-VI were selected to represent Bridgewater in the ISA Athletics Championships, at Sport City. Jessica made the final of the 150m, Matteo came fourth in the cricket throw, both the U9 boys and girls relay teams made the finals, and as mentioned previously Ellen and Alfie proved to be the champion performers.
With the academic year almost at an end, there was just enough time for one more final. The U11 cricket team made their debuts in the AJIS Pairs Cricket Competition and managed to reach the final. Ironically, the year started with an event at The Kings School, Chester and we ended our sporting year back at Kings with a spirited performance in the final before losing to the Cheshire School. EYFS melted hearts in their Sports Day and demonstrated that there will be many more moments to be proud of our youngsters sporting endeavours in the years to come. The sun came out on the Prep Sports Day to celebrate the most enjoyable year of sport, with many parents in attendance once again.
Thank you to everyone who has given their all in PE lessons, committed to clubs and taken pride in representing teams this year. Have a great summer and with the Olympics on the horizon, 2019-20 promises to be another exciting year of sport in every possible way.