The weekend was kick started in the DHH Friday afternoon with the presentation of tour tops for the players to travel in. All very excited, we made our way to Warminster, where we were to play the first round of matches before the journey up to Cheltenham.

For the Netball Girls, the U13 A’s played first, kicking the weekend off with their first win of the season! Some excellent match play saw the girls fighting all through the match against a competitive side, with very level gameplay throughout. Really good shooting stats from both Evie and Lily, coupled with some dominant play through the court from Harriet, Amelia and Eleanor made this a really exciting game to watch, the girls worked really hard and took on feedback throughout the game, particularly in the defence, Robyn and Emily seemed to gel much better than they had previously, which was evident with our win 9-7!

Next up were the U13 Bs who also had a very evenly matched, fast game against Warminster. Lots of the girls really stepping up to the mark and proving their capabilities saw them fighting right until the last minutes, only narrowly losing out on the win by one goal, with a final score of 4-5.

The U13 A boys had a great game to start our 2 day tour up to Cheltenham College. Both sides played with intensity and gave very little away throughout the match. For the early part of the game FSM struggled to get hold of the ball and despite all the pressure early on, we only conceded one goal. Warminster hit back through short corners but again FSM got back on level terms by half-time. In second half FSM took a deserved lead after more great play down the right and we soon found ourselves 5-3 up. FSM had ran out of steam by the end but can be extremely proud of their efforts this evening. They put their bodies on the line throughout and deserved a least a draw if not the victory.
Final score 6-5.

The U13 Bs started with strong offensive play with the likes of Wilf on the right wing and Jack on the left. Tom P’s composure and skill on the ball on the middle of the field allowed him to exploit the spaces in behind the line of defence for Tom H and his clinical shooting. Our defence was also crucial in our match against Warminster dealing with some very skilled players and often outnumbered in counter attacks. Both Connor and Hayden managed to keep most of the shots out of the back of the net with Alex and Ollie covering on another to stop their skilful attacking play.

After the matches we enjoyed a hearty supper at Warminster before continuing our journey to Cheltenham. We arrived in the evening to a group of students and Mr Cook who then sorted and let the FSM students into their respective houses for the weekend. This gave the pupils an excellent opportunity to get a taste of senior school life.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast which we were lucky enough to enjoy in Cheltenham Colleges’ impressive dining hall. The students and staff were spoiled for choice with the breakfast options and it’s safe to say they were set up for the day ahead! We began our day with a grand tour of the College led by Mr Cook, followed by a crisp walk up Leckhampton hill, blessed with the weather we were able to see over the whole of Cheltenham, and with our expert tour guides Mr Hancock and Mr McEwan pointing out the notable landmarks drawing back on their memories of school and university. The children then let off some steam in the fields before we headed back for an afternoon of Squash and Rackets. This was an exciting opportunity for the pupils to experience sports they may not have played before and we saw a few hidden talents! We even got the chance to look at some photos of the old Rackets teams, featuring our very own Mr McEwan… with hair!

The children then had some free time in the pool, followed by the opportunity to spectate some of the College teams Hockey and Netball matches.

In the evening we headed out into the heart of Cheltenham town to enjoy an evening meal of Mexican delicacy’s, then some nice competitive games of bowling! Everyone also got the opportunity to spend some pocket money in the arcade and wind down before heading back to their houses for the night.

Another early start Sunday morning, we were fortunate enough to play against some local club sides, Old Chelts Netball Club and Cheltenham Hockey Club.

The U13 As had a very strong start, going 4-1 up in the first quarter. Old Chelts then stepped it up a bit more to take the lead but at the end of the third quarter we were back at 10 all. Everything to play for in the last quarter. Unfortunately we didn’t quite keep up to the side in the last quarter, and made a few too many silly mistakes which Old Chelts used to their advantage. Final score was 11-14. Another good game which we came out of with lots to work on.

The U13 Bs faced another fast team, who were able to play a fresh team each quarter which kept the FSM girls on their toes, but a very strong defence kept the ball out of our attacking circle, despite some promising efforts up the court. Two more quarters ended with similar results, though a really good experience for our girls to learn to read the game well, which was utilised in the final quarter. The girls became much more cohesive team, playing a tidier, smarter game, and managed win the quarter 4-2.

Both teams of boys played Cheltenham College Hockey Club on Sunday afternoon. These were not as tough a game as the one on Friday night but it did allow us to try a few things out like move the ball around the back. In the end FSM won 8-2 to finish the tour on a high!

After the mornings hard work, we once again headed to the dining hall to enjoy a well-deserved extravagant Sunday Brunch, before heading back to houses one last time, equipped with a Thank-You gift for each of the host Houseparents before we departed home.

A good time had by all. Now bring on the rest of the season!

Written by: Miss Corani and Mr Higgins