Monday, 11 February 2019
Headmaster's Blog #39
Yes, I’m still ill. It is very boring and I’m not going to say anything else about it, but I can’t wait to be better. If it hadn’t been for that I would have had a great week. It has felt very spring-like, with warm weather and some beautiful sunshine. We have had a week full of fixtures, both on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and it has been a real pleasure to watch some of these: many moments of skill, more of passion and team play and some fantastic results. The children seem to be on super form at the moment. They are full of energy and are clearly enjoying playing their sport. This is exactly as it should be. Although it is invidious to pick a favourite moment, I have to go for the 2nd XI boys football match against the Downs yesterday afternoon. It was a very competitive game, with some hilarious moments, played on a pitch that deteriorated quite badly in some crucial areas, namely in one penalty area. We ended up winning 3-2, but it could have gone either way. Biased as I am, it would have been an injustice if we had lost, as we had the majority of the possession and so many chances. The mud helped us out on occasion, and it began to look more like a scene from World War One than a football match. When the opposition went 2-1 ahead, we could have lost our spirit. Their second goal was controversial and goal line technology, I think, would have been in our favour – our referee erring on the side of generosity to our visitors. Oh no, our boys stuck to their task, went on believing in themselves, and this paid off, with two goals, one of them in the final two minutes of the game – a thriller and just what it is all about.
Our u13 sevens rugby side had a tournament on Tuesday at Monmouth. After a slow first game, we hit our straps and won all the rest. Sevens is tactically very different to the larger game, and draws on some different skill sets, ones that actually play to our strengths here – fitness, speed and agility, rather than size and weight. Let’s see how the next tournament goes.
One of the most pleasant aspects of my job is breaking good news, and this week I was lucky to have the chance to do this more than once. Many congratulations are owed to Georgia: Academic Exhibition to King’s School Worcester; Arabella: Music Exhibition to Malvern College; Ed: Sports Scholarship to Shrewsbury School; Max: Music Scholarship to Shrewsbury School. Well done to all of them and those who helped to prepare them. Scholarship success is not what it is all about by any means, but it is satisfying to see ability and hard work recognised, great for the departments who work so hard to prepare the pupils, and a super example to set all the pupils that endeavour and ambition do sometimes bring reward. This, of course, is not always the case, and there is a downside to putting oneself out there as a candidate. That is one of the least pleasant aspects of this job; breaking bad news.
Another highlight of the week was the short stay visit of four sheep, who turned up unannounced on Friday afternoon. I am still not sure how they got here, but they were extremely genial companions for 24 hours. They embraced the Abberley spirit of freedom and making the most of the grounds, moving from the main car park and drop off point on Saturday morning (just so they wouldn’t go unnoticed by day parents), to the back drive, the clock tower bank, the Flag Pole lawn, the Pre-prep, outside the DM workshop and further afield no doubt. I have heard of free range hens, but free range sheep bring their own hazards. I am not sure what the Chinese family visiting on Friday afternoon thought about it, I must say! Only at Abberley, as one parent said.