End of Season Match Reports
Cross Country: 2021-2022 Season Report
After last year’s events were nearly all cancelled due to Covid it was a real pleasure to get a nearly-complete season this time around. This is especially so, as we have some phenomenally talented young runners in the school just now and it has been such a shame that they haven’t all had their chance to shine due to circumstances outside their control in the past two years.
Although the Thursday Run itself didn’t produce any records this year, some pupils came mighty close – Alfie and Eck coming within 20 seconds of the Form 3 record and George a frustrating one second off Harry B.’s all-time Form One record of 10m 24s.
The Patrol Cross-Country Relay continued the habit formed in the last five years of managing to include every single (fit) pupil in the school. Running the 4.5-mile course from school to the far end of John Muir Country Park, over the seven legs and four teams for each of the four patrols the Wolves eventually won out, with the Lions and Owls tied for second and Woodpeckers in fourth.
Sadly, in November Storm Arwen blew in from the sea and knocked over roughly 80-90% of the trees in John Muir Country Park. As this is where we host our annual Scottish Independent Schools’ Invitational Cross-Country Championships, we were unable to hold the event at any time and now, still six months after the storm, the park paths are still closed to access. This is a shame as we had strong chances of winning both individual and team awards with the runners we have this year.
Next up was the Merchiston XC, a short but fun relay event. For the first time – after Belhaven’s request – girls were admitted. We had two teams of U9 boys, who came in 3rd and 5th positions, but it was in the U11 competition that we truly excelled. What a show we put on. Starting out in the C-team, Charlie T. astounded us all by coming in in second position after the first lap, second only to our A-team runner Eck. On leg two Charlie J. and Rafe swapped the lead repeatedly, coming in within three seconds of each other, in the top two positions. Leg three saw Alfie of the A-team burn off the opposition to win in a near-record time, while the C-team came in third and the B-team fifth position of the fifteen teams. On the form they were running I feel I could have mixed the boys up into nearly any order and we would have won the trophy today, so dominant were we.
There was also a new event, the U13 girls, and Hester, Eliza and Flora did us proud, coming in third position of eight teams. Eliza in particular ran very composed and comfortably.
Finally, the main event, the U13 boys were up, and we started moderately, Hugo coming in tenth of 18 teams. Then a little bit of magic happened; James, despite being hamstrung, picked up four places on his 1.3 km leg and against all odds George blistered his way to second position, an incredible achievement which on its own deserved to win. George has been a truly first-class runner in his time at Belhaven and there could have scarcely been a more fitting end to the efforts put in by this hard-working and talented athlete. So, our teams finished 2nd and 9th of 18 teams, more than creditable. The day was a huge success, belonging to George and all nine U11 boys who excelled today, beating all comers with ease and rightly took home the trophy.
We then had an exceptional day at the Longridge XC and came home with two team firsts from the three races we entered. The U-10 boys’ race we won comfortably. We got off to a shaky start as Hector was accidentally tripped on the start line, leaving him a good 40 yards behind the main pack once he’d managed to get his shoe back on. We have a strong team, however and Rollo (2nd), Wilbur (3rd) and Charlie T. (4th) dominated the race, with Hector making impressive ground up and finishing 15th. Wilbur just pipped Charlie on the line, much to the latter’s chagrin.
The U11 girls raced well, Daisy coming in first of the Belhaven runners, followed by Amelia, Liv and Ottilie. All girls finished in the 20s numerically, so we finished well above average overall in terms of team positions.
Finally, the U11 boys came in and, as I expected, we dominated the race. Alfie capped an excellent season by coming in 2nd, Eck 3rd, Archie S. 4th and Rafe 6th, to post an incredibly low total of just 15; unbeatable. Don’t think for a second it was easy though; all boys bust a gut to get to and hold their positions. We took a B-team and they too performed amazingly, finishing 3rd overall of the 8 teams, an indication of the strength in depth we have at this age group.
In the last week of the spring term we held our annual Individual Cross-Country, a 2.1km dash around the school grounds. This year was a vintage year in so many ways; the huge cohort of boys coming through in Form 3 and dominating the older years; older pupils giving it their all in their last ever run at the school and, for the first time, Forms 7 and 8 joining in.
But today was noted more for one simply outstanding performance; George has been one the best, if not the absolute best runner Belhaven has produced. Today he obliterated the Individual Belhaven XC record. Previously the record, held by Harry B., himself an outstanding runner who has gone on to brilliant success at Sherborne School, was 7m 14s over the 2.1 km course. George completed it in 6m 48s – truly amazing. The Wolves won the event overall, pipping the Lions into second, followed by the Woodpeckers and Owls a distance off the top two. Well done to every pupil for participating.
On into the Summer term and we held our annual ‘Records Attempt’ day. On this day the very best runners get their chance to show what they can do on good ground with the encouragement of all other pupils. And boy were we treated to a show. Wilbur took George C.’s four-year-old Form 5 record with a run of 7m 47s over 2K, clipping 4 seconds off the previous mark. Alfie B. produced an outstanding run of 11m 23s over 3K in the Form 3 run, to best Harry H.’s mark from three years ago.
The accolade of the day, however, went to George C. who posted the quickest time ever in our records over the 3K route and finished in 10m 22s, beating his own P.B. by three seconds and shaving just two seconds off the previous record held by Harry B., set four years ago. What an incredible achievement, and what a reception the crowd of pupils at the finish gave him – the fastest runner Belhaven has had.
A worthy note to Henry S. too for having a go at beating his own personal best. He desperately wanted to get a time under 14 minutes and got a huge cheer as he crossed the line in 13m 20. He is an example to everyone of what running should be about – Henry tries hard every week even though he doesn’t necessarily come first. His attitude in constantly striving to better himself, however, is that of a winner. Running is for everyone, regardless of ability.
In June, with the official arrival of the pre-prep, Mr. Curry and Mrs. Johnstone decided to extend that tradition and created the Pre-Prep Records’ Attempt. And what a great morning’s running we were treated to!
Every pupil in the pre-prep ran; 1 km for Form 8 children, and Forms 6 and 7 could choose either to run 2 km or 3 km. All pupils ran together alongside Mr. Curry and Mrs. MacDonald and truly bought into the incredible running culture which has been fostered and built up at Belhaven over the years. All children were determined to run well and so many personal bests were recorded, along with the odd record here and there. It was great to see the pupils supporting each other as they ran and in a straw poll afterwards most even said they had enjoyed themselves!
Along with the twelve personal bests, Rex and Jemima set records in the inaugural Form 8 race, coming in just over five minutes. In the Form 7 run, Archie and Mary missed out by a whisker on getting both the 2 km and 3 km records – Archie coming in in 15m 36 over 3 km, just four seconds off the target.
The stars of the show, however, were Xander and Mimi, the latter for smashing the three-year-old 3 km record, and Xander for running 13m 00s over 3 km, just sneaking under the old record by a mere three seconds. Thrilling stuff.
Such fun, effort and drive from these youngsters on a beautiful day made for running. Well done to everyone who took part and here’s to adding our own little bit of the jigsaw to Belhaven’s fantastic running tradition.
Our final running event of the year saw the return after Covid of the Form One attempt at the local Parkrun at Lochend Woods, a weekly 5K run which occurs all over the country. George was naturally Belhaven’s hot favourite and very nearly won the event outright ahead of all of the adults there, coming in second in 20m 28s. Only the presence of the course record-holder prevented George from claiming a notable win. Mr. Marriot came in seventh and Mr. Curry in ninth, both under 23m., and Gauthier and Henry did themselves justice in 16th and 17th of the 71 attendees. Every Form One bar one managed the course and we had a terrific morning as five parents also joined in the run to boot.
Runner of the year and pride of place must go to George for his outstanding contribution in six years at Belhaven, breaking and holding nearly all records and ending his time with the quickest time ever set on our 3K course. What a year.
Boys' Cricket: U11b
The U11b boys’ cricket season was a successful one, winning two and losing one of our fixtures.
We started the season with a tough match away at Fettes which we lost by eighteen runs, mainly due to poor fielding and some kamikaze batting. Fettes scored 91 for 4 wickets off twenty overs, but within that we had gifted the home side at least 20 runs through mis-fields. In trying to make up this gap, Basil and Monty conjures sixes, fours, two run-outs, a hit wicket, a catch, a clean wicket and quick, brave, crazy and finally reckless running between the wickets, meaning that despite scoring 35, comfortably reaching the required target to win, they actually scored only 10 once mad and hilarious lost wickets were taken into account.
Second up we played and comfortably dispatched St. Mary’s, scoring 104 glorious runs for 4 wickets while St. Mary’s managed only 36 for 9 wickets in return. We were strong all round, everyone scoring, especially Ivan, bowling and fielding well. The match will be remembered by me for a long time for James managing to bowl the widest wide I’ve seen in fourteen years of umpiring, which was quite hilarious.
Having had our match against Loretto called off due to rain, finally we played Cargilfield, normally a strong team, who we put to the Belhaven sword with surprising ease. We hit a mammoth 171 for 4 on a tiny pitch where even the slightest good knock could result in a boundary. Will and Ollie played particularly well in tipping the scoreboard by 53 runs in their partnership. In return we restricted Cargilfield to 108 for 7, as we were focused at all times, forcing errors and bowling inexpensively, Basil and Rafe catching the eye, Ivan and Ollie also doing very well.
It was a shame this talented side couldn’t play more as they would have won many more fixtures, I feel, such is their overall level of ability compared to most B-teams.
|Fettes b||Lost by 18 runs|
|St. Mary's b||Won by 68 runs|
|Cargilfield b||Won by 63 runs|
Player of the Year:
Ivan E. scored heavily and took some important wickets but Ollie T. was more accurate and quick with the ball in hand and batted confidently whenever he had the chance so Ollie T gets the nod. A note too for Rafe C.’s fielding.
Girls Cricket/Rounders: U11a
It has been a great season for the U11 girls with a number of victories in both Kwik-cricket and rounders. More importantly than the result of the matches, the girls have gelled together well, supporting each other as a team. They have approached every match and training session with positivity and enthusiasm. It has been lovely to have the addition of Jeanne, Ambre and Lourdes for the term, all of whom arrived at Belhaven with no prior knowledge of rounders but who have given it their all and become integral members of the team.
We started the season with a Kwik-cricket match against Fettes. The girls had only had two practice sessions before this game, yet they applied themselves with the limited knowledge that they had, and came away with a solid victory against a strong Fettes side. Jeanne and Liv both batted a number of balls that went beyond the boundary lines and the fielding by the rest of the team was brilliant despite heavy rain and slippy grass!
The rest of our matches were rounders matches against Ardvreck, St Mary’s and Cargilfield. Week on week the girls gained in confidence and their knowledge of the rules of the game became established. Liv and Jeanne worked on their technique and became the go-to bowlers and India, Ottilie and Lily, took turns in playing backstop. Amelia’s speed and fielding ability, especially at second base really developed throughout the season and her performance in our last match against Cargilfield was excellent. Iona, Wendy, Willow, Lourdes, Daisy and Ambre always worked hard and approached every game with a strong desire to win.
Every single member of the U11 girls squad has greatly improved in terms of their throwing and catching skills, batting, hand-eye coordination, speed and tactical fielding. It has also been lovely to see them enjoy the season so much. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the girls and they all deserve to be very proud of their sporting efforts this term.
Boys' Cricket: U11a
The Under 11a team have had a simply outstanding cricket season this year, there has been several different players who have played for the team throughout the season. Each and every boy who has played has made a difference in one way or another, they have all put in maximum effort into every training session and fixture. The boys have spurred each other on and have had the best attitude towards cricket I have ever been in a group of boys.
Our first match of the season was against Fettes, a fabulous win. This time we batted first and made 100 off our 20 overs. Harry, Wilfred and Sam batting well this match. We followed up with a good bowling performance bowling Fettes out for 65. Many thanks to Mr Purkiss for taking this fixture, a quote from him: “A convincing victory and a pleasure to coach the boys.”
Our second match of the season was against Merchiston, which the boys won comfortably with Merchiston batting first and making 59-8 off their 20 overs. We replied with 60-3 off 12.1 overs, strong bowling from Alfie and Hector. Strong batting and bowling from Wilbur too. A good start to the season.
Our third match of the season was against Ardvreck, away. After a long coach journey the boys got straight into the action batting first. Keeping his form up Wilbur opened the batting well, Sam and Rollo also chipping in nicely. The best we have bowled and fielded so far was this match, Rollo and Tommy opening the bowling, Tommy bowling 2 maiden overs in a row, a spectacular spell of bowling. Wilf with the best figures of 2-7. We eventually bowled Ardvreck out for 47, a very convincing win. These types of wins do not happen without a lot of arduous work going on in the background and that is exactly what the boys have been doing throughout the season.
Our fourth match of the season was against St Mary’s, a good opportunity to play on the 1st XI pitch. We bowled first and did well, Wilbur and Rollo opened the bowling. Wilbur bowling the ball of the season with an away swinging ball pitching on a good length taking top of off. Charlie, Wilf and Tommy all bowling well too. More impressively this match we made 5 run outs! We bowled St Mary’s out for 56. We chased it down comfortably in 9 overs.
Our final match of the season was against Cargilfield, this was always going to be our toughest game. Cargi batted first, we bowled well, Alfie and Wilbur opening for us. Alfie taking the first wicket of the game with a caught and bowled. Tommy and Rollo taking 2 wickets and Monty with 1. Cargi ended their innings on 113-9. We battled hard throughout our innings, Wilbur batting for a while, Harry coming in and smashing his first ball for 6, Sam made 14 too. Eventually the run rate proved too difficult, and we lost the match by 20 runs.
It has been a mightily impressive season from the under 11As; well done to everyone involved. It has been an absolute pleasure to take the team this year.