Headmaster’s Autumn Message
To a happy and successful school a group of vibrant and talented pupils have joined this September, refreshing the pupil body and giving everyone a true sense of optimism and opportunity for the academic year ahead.
To the broad Renaissance tableau of richly varied King’s activities will be added a great emphasis on our sports programme this cycle. We do this to celebrate our current sporting achievements and to counter any flagging of the nation’s post-London Olympics legacy!
Here is an update on what has been happening over the summer:
Cricket: The County U17 one day National Final was held in Kibworth, Leicestershire. James Meddings and Piers Richardson played for Kent U17 against Warwickshire. Kent elected to bat first and we made a total of 230-5 from our 50 overs in which James scored 60 not out. In reply, Warwickshire were 200 all out in the final over which meant James had the pleasure of taking the final wicket leaving him with figures 2-18.
Hockey: Of our 2013 graduates, Eliza Brett has represented England at U16, U18 and most recently U21 at the Junior World Cup, where the team narrowly missed out on a Bronze medal on sudden death penalties. She will read English and Journalism at Cardiff University. Dominique Masters who was accepted on a hockey scholarship to Northwestern University, USA also progressed from The Junior King's School, and through Senior King's, and was the Captain of Hockey in her final year. This year saw her lead the school team to the National Schools Finals for the first time in 14 years. She also was selected to represent England at U18 level.
Rowing: It was a proud time for the Boat Club, being present in the form of the 1st VIII after a hiatus of some years at Henley Royal Regatta and a Girls VIII at Women’s Henley. A season with 56 wins at Heads and Regattas and topping it all a strong presence of OKS at the World Rowing Championships in South Korea, where Tom Ransley (MR 99-04) won an historic gold medal in the GB Men’s VIII on Sunday, 1st September; Frances Houghton and Vicki Meyer-Laker coming 4th in the women’s double; and Nick Strange coaching the women’s quad.
A brochure is currently being finalised supporting a project for the King’s School Boat Club. The KSC 1st VIII are going to row 1 million metres during the Autumn half term break, to raise funds for further improvement to rowing facilities. The idea was the inspiration of current pupil, George Edwards, and once the funds are raised, the pupils will also get involved with the improvements during the Easter holidays.
Riding: Poppy Arvidsson finished in the top 10 in the South of England competition and is now heading for Hartpury Equine College in Gloucestershire. She hopes eventually to compete for Great Britain - or maybe Sweden! In a few weeks we will also send some pupils to try to qualify for the 36th HAC International Uniformed Services Show Jumping Competition which Poppy won last year with three pupils from other schools. With more riders taking part each week in lessons, King’s riding is in very good spirits.
Rugby: 28 boys left London Heathrow on 1st August for a 17-day tour of South Africa. We firmly believe that sport both reveals and develops character, with such tours allowing young men to make errors (both on and off the field) and learn from them. They will also provide experiences and memories and form bonds that will last the test of time.
Matches were played against Cambridge High School, Victoria Park High School, Wittedrift and Fairmont High School. Unfortunately the game against Paarl Boys High School had to be cancelled because of the weather. For details of the matches, see: Sports News.
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Langa township on the day that exam results were received, very much putting things into perspective. Boys that stood out on the trip both on and off the field were George Maughan, Charles Barrois and Peter Chiana with a number of the 6bs also making excellent tourists.
Other holiday rugby activity saw Charlie Kingsman (OKS) take up his professional contract at Saracens, with James Read and James King (see photo) playing for the club’s U16 side after training in their Elite Player Development Squad over the summer.
Sailing: Breaking new ground as a RYA Sail and Power Boat Training Centre, King’s SC ran courses on Westbere lake for local children in the holidays, has set up weekly sail training sessions for Junior King’s pupils in term, is promoting OKS activity on the water with a team of 12 OKS entered for the Arrow Trophy Regatta to be sailed in Cowes. In addition, two pupils, Henry Cross (Captain of Sailing) and Helen Woodward, successfully completed courses to become fully qualified RYA Dinghy Instructors.
Swimming: Patrick macLachlan became the third ever King's pupil to qualify for the British National Open Individual Swimming Championships which took place in August at Sheffield. He moved from 40th seed in the 50m freestyle to reach semi-finals and then the final, to 9th position - a first for the School - and giving him an overall British Age group ranking of 7th.
As regards the year ahead, the recent news of James Meddings and Piers Richardson’s success for Kent Under 17 in the National County final points the way……as does the following message from Richard Singfield, Director of King’s Sport:
“King's Sport is for everyone: whether as part of a team, individual competitor, for recreational enjoyment or even as a supporter.”
For me, as an enthusiastic sportsman who might miss a difficult cross court volley, the important thing is how King’s pupils play sport, their attitude and their enjoyment of it - as well as how generously we host our fixtures and events at Birley’s, Blore’s and Westbere lakes.
Peter Roberts, Headmaster