On Friday 21 April the South East started their campaign at Nottingham University to be the Wilkinson Sword Champions at the Association of Colleges National Finals. 10 regions went head to head over three days in 13 different sports collecting points as they went. These points then decided the winner of the Wilkinson Sword title. 22 students from Farnborough represented the South East across four sports.
Our golfers Bradley Tuckett and Georgina Carter were the first to tee off and despite a shaky start on the Friday the team had a fantastic round on Saturday. The SE men’s team won the gold medal and the women’s team bronze. A great start!
Meanwhile the College rugby team had a great opening game on Friday afternoon, beating North West 40-12. They also secured wins against Yorkshire, London and West Midlands. Their final game was against the unbeaten Seevic College team from the East. With a small lead at half-time Farnborough look set to upset the favourites but they did not have the rub of the green in the second half and lost narrowly. This left Farnborough and the SE in 6th place overall. Special mentions go to:
Captain Seb Francis for his leadership on the field;
Ollie Hyland who played every minute of the tournament, remained calm in all situations and was vital to Farnborough’s successes;
Shawa Rai who gave our opponents huge issues with his tenacity around the breakdown and high fitness levels;
Mua Inoke who proved impossible to stop when he had momentum and
Ben Lovell-Smith for his excellent organisation in defence and composure to retain possession for the team.
Sam Allen-Gao and Andy Grant were the men’s doubles pair for the SE team in badminton. Dominant performances meant the SE finished top of their pool on Friday, proceeded to win the semi-final on Saturday and onto the Final on Sunday. The pressure was on the Farnborough pair to keep the SE in the match. It was an epic battle to the bitter end but the Yorkshire duo won the final game 15-13, resulting in a silver medal for the SE.
Our cross country runners patiently waited till the Saturday to compete but demonstrated their dominance as individuals and as a region. Each team consisted of eight runners but due to injuries the SE only had seven male and seven female so the pressure was on. The women’s race was first and a confident run from Lizzie Squibbs saw the first SE runner home in 5th, Katie Standen followed in 11th and Amy Loftesnes Ratcliffe in 28th. The coaches were confident these performances would result in a medal but had to wait for the results. Announcements were made and SE did not make the podium, but quick querying from the SE coach saw a double check of the scores and confirmation that the women’s SE team won the silver medal.
In the men’s race, Jack Boswell ran a smart race to take 2nd, Robbie Coupland took 4th and Lewis Reid 11th. Other SE runners took 5th and 6th meaning the SE team were untouchable and the gold was theirs!
On Sunday the final announcement was made - the South East Team had won overall and the Wilkinson Sword was returned to our region. Emma Stephens Senior Curriculum Manager of Sport and PE said, “It was a fantastic weekend of sport, there were outstanding performances by all and a great experience for our students. Thank you to AoC Sport and the University of Nottingham for hosting.”
A hugely successful weekend of sports for the College at the highest level.