Deputy Headmaster’s Notes
The warmest of welcomes back to you all especially with such a chilly start to term. I have to confess that I had a moment of concern as the blizzard belted the minibus on the way back from ALS yesterday afternoon. I was consoled, at least, that we were returning from Cookery School and, therefore, had ample rations if we ended up getting stuck on the M3. The children were beside themselves at the prospect of a snow day and I extend my commiserations to them that the Snow Gods did not fully deliver.
On Tuesday, Year 7&8 welcomed Elevate Education for a memory and mnemonics session to help them with their examination preparation. Our presenter, Steve, shared a number of revision tips and skills with the group including how to use Boris Johnson to help memorise the Periodic Table! The overall message of the session, relevant for all, is that revision needs to be undertaken in short, sharp sessions using imagery as a key mental stimulus; not, as is too often the case, during long sessions of simply reading notes whilst lying down!
I wish you all an enjoyable weekend.
Firstly, a big welcome back to all of our parents and children. We have been delighted with how happy and enthusiastic the children have been this week; they have demonstrated a real thirst for knowledge especially with the new topics that we have introduced. This was apparent in Reception where they have been learning about bears and leapt at the opportunity to bring in their own cuddly friend from home. Reception thoroughly enjoyed measuring themselves against a gigantic bear that came to join us for the day!
In Year 1 the children were captivated when they travelled back in time and discovered how transport was different in the past. They were particularly intrigued about the funny looking bicycle, the ‘Penny-Farthing’.
Year 2’s imaginations have soared this week with the start of their science topic ‘Space’. Every child is excited to learn about what lies beyond our world especially with the recent sight of Mars and Venus in the sky.
The Pre-Prep Teachers
The first week back has been packed full of fun in the Nursery. Our new topic is called firefighters. We have had a fire station in our role play area and a fire engine. The firefighter children have been receiving lots of emergency calls and putting out fires with their hoses and rescuing cats from trees. We even made a firefighter story up with Fireman Sam rescuing Mandy. Firefighter training school is up and running and we have been squirting numbers as a target practice.
We welcome our three new friends; Lucy, Mila and George, who have had a great start to Daneshill.
Please can I remind parents to return their child’s waterproof trousers, hats and gloves to school ready for more outside learning fun!
Wednesday 11th January
U.13 vs. Thorngrove W 20 – 10
U.11 A vs. Thorngrove D 5 – 5
U.11 B vs. Thorngrove W 13 – 3
U.10 vs. Thorngrove L 5 – 7
U.13 A vs. Pangbourne College L 5 – 6
U.11 A vs. Thorngrove W 7 – 1
U.10 A vs. Thorngrove W 7 – 2
U.10 B vs. Thorngrove W 3 – 0
U.10 C vs. St. Gabriel’s L 0 – 12
The girls’ netball teams have had a good start to season with some excellent match play from all on Wednesday. It is always difficult for the first match back with the new team combinations and new players trying to get used to each other, but the teams did brilliantly to settle in the flow of things and produce some superb match play.
The U.13’s took on an experienced Pangbourne College side for their first game this week. The team consisted of Year 7 and 8’s who had not played together before but it only took a few minutes for the girls to settle into the game and challenge Pangbourne to an extremely competitive first quarter. Our defensive unit worked well together, taking many interceptions and rebounds from a strong attacking Pangbourne side. And our centre court fought hard to carry the ball to our shooters who held their space and controlled their defenders successfully. The final score could have gone either way after a brilliant, gutsy performance from the girls but unfortunately Pangbourne won by one goal in the end. The A team should be very proud of their performance though, they showed strength, commitment and versatility with an excellent work rate right to the final whistle.
The U11’s were exceptional on Wednesday with an impressive win over Thorngrove. The new team and positional combinations did not seem to faze them as they dominated the match from start to finish. An excellent start to the season for the girls.
More success was to follow from the U10 A and B who also played Thorngrove for their first fixture and the U10 C’s played St Gabriel’s. All three teams were versatile in their positioning which kept the opposition on their toes and they all worked well to play a calm and controlled game, ensuring the ball was safely executed down the court. Excellent shooting and feeds into the circle helped the A team score many goals over the opposition and the B team defence was incredibly strong with many interceptions and turnovers.
The first fixture of the rugby season looked particularly harsh with the conditions against the boys. However, two training sessions and an effective warm up set the team up for a good afternoon of rugby. Despite playing uncontested scrums, Daneshill started brightly from kick off with a number of strong carries from our unyielding forwards, creating fast attacking rugby. The likes of George, Luke, David and Hal set the tone by taking the ball up field towards Thorngrove’s defence causing chaos to open up the first try with George dotting down from close range right infront of the posts. Daneshill’s second came from a number of infringements made by Thorngrove at the breakdown, not helped by slippery conditions which resulted in the forwards making more strives up field. After the break, Thorngrove found their way into the game from some well-placed kicks which our back three found difficult to deal with, conceding two tries in similar fashion. The boys final two tries came after some well executed plays from the backs at the scrum gaining important territory, Captain Sam coming up short by inches from the line allowed the forwards to secure possession and scrum half Jack recycled the ball out to our ever present Luke to score from 5 metres out.
Joseph bagged the final try from some relentless possession by the forwards deep in Thorngrove’s half. A free kick was awarded on the far right hand side where Joseph took a quick tap spotting a gap in the defence to carry over for the final try of the game. A positive start to the season, but plenty to build on.
The U11A’s showed great spirit, skill and determination in their 5-5 draw on Wednesday. The opposition had two big and fast boys and it was obvious from the start that to win the match we would have to contain them. Oscar Petersen, James Bloom, Alex Harker and Harvey Keeling led the way in this regard with try saving and momentum halting tackles really giving us impetus. An early try from Arthur Toosey through a lovely inside to outside change of pace got us going and we scored regularly through James Bloom, William Beeching and Harvey Keeling. Our infringements at the ruck kept Thorngrove in the match and they capitalised well from free pass possession, going around the outside from this position when scoring the first 4 of their tries. 5-4 up with a minute to play, a skilful chip and chase from the Thorngrove side saw them dot down to level the match to the frustration and disappointment of our lads who felt they had done enough. It just goes to show that you must never switch off. A great first game though and a good base from which to now push forward.
After only two training sessions, it was with a slight trepidation that I travelled with the U.11 Bs to Thorngrove for the first game of the season. I needn’t have worried. The whole squad contributed admirably to a fine performance. Daneshill took a stranglehold on the match early on and never really let go as fleeting resistance from Thorngrove was often punished with some ruthless and dynamic attack. Cameron Swan and Conal O’Shea deserve particular mention for their strong, direct running and Barnaby Calthorpe was mercurial with his dancing feet bamboozling the opposition. Freddie Cullen, Luca Dharwar, Jude Ferretti and Harrison Cleaver all put in work horse performances, each making their tackles and contributing well to the team effort. We had a large squad and our rolling subs approach did little to dampen our momentum. Robin Rattray, Oscar Brownfield, Harry Aldred, Harry Stickland and Percy Zhang all made an impact off the bench. The crowning moment went to Oscar who, in the dying seconds of the match, broke free, cantered half the pitch and delivered a perfectly timed pass out of the tackle to Jude for the final try. Much to celebrate and a season to look forward to.
The U.10’s put in a valiant effort on Wednesday afternoon. On a rather sticky pitch the boys soon realised that trying to side-step the opposition usually meant that we ended up with mud on our face! Only three days into the rugby term meant that the boys had to quickly get into game mode and work as a team and trust other members to tackle their opposite number. Our downfall early on was just this, as we committed too many players to the tackle and once the opposition recycled their possession they passed it out wide and scored rather too freely.
At 5-1 down at half-time we knew we had to be more competitive at the breakdowns. There was excellent determination from the whistle and the boys strived to work better as a group. Nicholas scored 4 well deserved tries and Daniel opened his account for the season by touching down on the blind-side.