Alumni Matches 2020
The Team Captains report on the games, scores and key players.
A report from the alumni team captains, who worked hard both on the day and before hand to ensure it all came together. It was a great day and the merriment continued for a good few hours after the matches had finished!
Rugby (James Bowman)
The annual Old Boys rugby fixture was another success again this year with over 40 players taking the field as St James took on Whitton Lions in a repeat of last year's match. After a gentle warm up and catch up between players old and new, Whitton Lions kicked off towards the lake and the game got under way in typical fashion. Demonstrating their superior cohesion, Whitton Lions applied early pressure deep in the St James’ half which resulted in a couple of scores for the visitors. What the Old Boys might lack in familiarity and sharpness however, they more than make up for in spirit. With some stout tackling and physicality from the likes of Albert Stoute and Ryan Rees, and fine backs play from Shiv Dattani, Kiran Patel, and Alex Roach gaining plenty of yards, they fought back with a well worked try of their own. Like last year, the first half was largely played at a frantic pace with plenty of champagne rugby interspersed with knock-ons and set plays. As the first half drew to a close, and despite Whitton Lions having the lion’s share of the territory and possession, the Old Boys were still within touching distance on the scoreboard only 12 points behind.
The second half saw plenty of substitutions and players moving around the field and swapping sides as fatigue began to take hold. This was also reflected on the scoreboard with both sides running in more tries as gaps appeared and tackles became looser. The Old Boys kept going with the likes of Jack du Pille and Rob Allen rolling back the years and enjoying the space around the field. The Alumni soon found themselves ahead on the scoreboard as they scored a couple of unanswered tries of their own and could sense victory was close if they could just hold on. However, it wasn't to be as Whitton ran in two late scores to take the win.
The full time score: St James Old Boys 31-41 Whitton Lions.
A special thank you to the players from Whitton Lions and Staines RFC who came down and not only made up the opposition, but also provided extra bodies to the Old Boys team. And also a huge thank you to the referee Marc Fusil who is a current Sixth Former at the school; he did a tremendous job officiating a difficult game and I would encourage him to keep at it as the game needs more quality referees.
Lacrosse (Honor Main)
The much loved annual Alumni vs. School Lacrosse Match took place on 14th March. The match was fortuitously held the weekend before coronavirus restrictions came into play. As I write this report two weeks later, it’s nice to look back and remember those simpler times.
On arrival at the match, it was clear that the alumni were short of players and needed recruits. We asked amongst the spectators and were delighted to recruit Miss Berridge, the lacrosse teacher’s, boyfriend and my brother, Calum Main. However, neither had played lacrosse before. The school also kindly lent us Mila Webber. They joined the alumni players who spanned multiple year groups and had never played together before. Trying to ignore our lack of prior team practice, or any practice in the case of the guys, we embraced spontaneity and began the match.
The first quarter saw the school team hold most of the possession. Many shots were taken on our goal and despite some great defending and goalie saves, the school scored 5 goals.
In the second quarter, the school continued to hold possession and score. Then, in a moment of athletic brilliance, Rachel Hewitt ran the ball down the pitch and scored the first alumni goal – bringing much needed relief.
The game changed in our favour in the third quarter. The school lent us a second player, Eloise Pickervance, and the alumni team came together. Emily Chong, the goalie, helped cover ground by throwing long clears. Off one of these clears, Calum scored a goal after getting past three defenders. Then the lacrosse teacher’s boyfriend scored a goal with a confident shot placed into the bottom of the goal. It is safe to say that this quarter was about the guys.
The final quarter was close. The team’s fitness held. Rachel Hewitt scored again but we conceded several goals to the school, leaving the final school 14-5.
It was great to play and a well-earned win by the school. Thank you to the players, spectators and the school for hosting. We look forward to playing again next spring.
Netball (Aishy Chidambaram)
Despite a number of people being unable to come down to London, the alumni netball team managed to pull together 7 players to face off against the school team.
Although none of us had played netball in over a year, we had a great time trying to play against the skilled school team. Some of the best players on court were Rachel Hewitt, Noa Goovaerts, and Beth Griffin and our one goal was scored by Aishy Chidambaram. Plenty of laughs were had which certainly made the game feel very fun.
Final Score: 15 - 1