Senior Head's Blog: Outstanding Achievements

I would like to start by thanking everyone for your support with this week's inspection. We had a good completion rate on the surveys, which provided a significant amount of feedback for the inspection team, and has helped them to develop a clear understanding of Felsted. I would also like to thank all of the students who gave up time to go to meetings and take tours with the inspection team, and to all the staff across the whole organisation who spent much time in preparation and then also made time to talk about their experiences at various meetings throughout the three days. Although the inspection will have finished by the time that most of you read this, I should warn you that the report will not be published until towards the end of January, but I hope that you will enjoy reading it in due course.

One of the special parts of Felsted life is being able to enjoy such a wide range of outstanding achievements. For example, the Live Lounge concert last Friday was a very special occasion, with the support shown between the students really standing out. Then on Tuesday, we celebrated with the cast and crew of Oliver, following their brilliant work earlier in the term, which I am sure will inspire others to get involved in Drama in the coming years. On Monday and Wednesday of this week, the houses have been enjoying their Christmas Feasts, marking the end of term in style, with good food, good friends and some excellent speeches as well. 

However, the highlight of this week for me has got to be the Rugby quarter final on Tuesday afternoon. Following the frustration of frozen pitches at the weekend, everybody was ready for what promised to be a very tough challenge against St Ambrose College. With the vast majority of the school in attendance, along with plenty of parents and OFs back cheering on the side, the game did not initially go according to plan. In fact, by half time, with the Ambrose fly half controlling the play, Felsted had fallen 20-7 behind.  Despite fightbacks in each of the last two rounds, this was looking a pretty tough challenge to take on.

At this stage, the crowd, initially so lively, was quiet. The players refocused, and gradually took control of the game. A try was disallowed, but then one was scored and so Felsted were within striking distance at 20-14. At this point, the game stopped, as one of the Ambrose players suffered a bad knock. My thanks to the Medical team, our catering team and the Sports staff for looking after him so well, and I am pleased to report that he was able to travel home with his parents later the same day, after being fully checked out at hospital.

How would this impact on the momentum of the game? With only about 15 minutes remaining, time was not Felsted's friend. By this stage, though, Felsted's dominance in the scrum was really coming through and as the clock ticked down, another try was scored, but as the conversion drifted just wide, Ambrose clung onto their lead by 20 points to 19. With just five minutes left, Felsted rejected a kick at goal, to attack the line. The ball was lost, but another penalty followed, and this time the kicking tee came on.  Agonisingly, the kick shaved the left hand post, and Felsted were still behind.  As the clock ran out, there was one last chance, with Ambrose having the put in at a scrum on their 22. The Felsted front row, dominant throughout, produced their best scrum of the game, and with it a penalty. It still needed kicking, but this time Harry C got his angles just right, and the ball sailed over and through and Felsted had won 22-20, moving on to the semi final next term.

The crowd went wild, the players were elated, but spare a thought for the visitors. They had led almost the entire game, only to see their cup run come to a dramatic end. All credit to their players, who shook hands with the Felsted team and took defeat with great dignity. They had given everything during the game, and come up agonisingly short. Huge credit to the Felsted players, who refused to accept that they were beaten, kept pushing one another and in the end found what they needed, just! Team sport is very special, and Tuesday (a bit like the Live Lounge and Oliver) will have made memories for life for those who took part, and even for those who were watching. I would like to praise those in the crowd, who behaved impeccably throughout the game, always supporting their school, but never being unsporting towards the opposition or critical of the match officials.

Have a very good weekend, and let's see what other highlights we will enjoy in the final week of this term.