AFC Harrogate

On Wednesday 16th March 2016, several of Welbeck’s sports teams embarked on the journey to Harrogate’s Army Foundation College to compete in the annual Inter collegiate cup.

After what was a long 2 ½ hour coach trip, Welbeck finally arrived at the gates to a sight that took many of us by surprise. The sheer scale of Harrogate was overwhelming to say the least as we meandered through the four storey buildings and various different tanks. Once the busses had stopped and we’d gathered all our kit, we headed down to the main building to be seated in the lecture theatre.

After a quick safety brief from the staff sergeant each team was escorted by the opposition to begin the day of competitions.

Swimming was the first to begin with both Welbeck A and B teams pleased at the sight of starting with blocks for a change. After winning the first race by over half a length, the swimmers knew the day was going to be a whitewash. Strong performances from all allowed Welbeck to finish 1st and 2nd place in every race making it an easy 10 minutes of swimming for both teams.

Staying inside, squash, badminton and basketball all kicked off their own competitions. On the squash courts, Welbeck’s strong team of four battled hard from the beginning against what sounded like a determined Harrogate side. Despite all of Harrogate’s efforts, Welbeck had another clean sheet with even Ben Jones winning his game making it 2 out of 2 for Welbeck.

In the sports hall, the same can’t be said for badminton as a mixture of experienced and not so experienced Welbeck players were challenged by some strong junior soldiers.  Even though Elliot and Jon lost their games, 2 wins wasn’t enough for them to overcome Welbeck, adding another 3 points to the scoreboard.

Basketball was the last indoor sport to finish with strong teams on both sides. Welbeck took a considerable lead early on, however this was quickly closed down with some interesting shots from Harrogate. Welbeck continued to push on with Harrogate matching the momentum and a close 3rd quarter made the final 4th anyone’s game. A consistent impressive performance from Luke Crisp finished the game 37-30 to Welbeck adding to the 100% win rate so far.

Outside, as expected, both the X-country teams won the individual and team races with ease after Luke Cooper ran his usual tactics to take another easy win and Holly Watson proved her 300 club status winning the girls race. After all runners managed to finish the race helping towards the team total, they proved to Harrogate that Welbeck’s warm up wasn’t something to laugh about.

Then it got to the Rugby; After crushing Harrogate last year, Welbeck thought they had an easy game, oh how they were wrong. An improved opposition with bags of aggression proved a much stronger team than Welbeck had anticipated. The game began at a quick pace but after 30 seconds George Prewett decided he’d played long enough and went to hospital, a sole 7 points from Nick Elmer wasn’t enough to beat the 32 scored against them giving Harrogate their first win of the competition.

This trend seemed to follow on to all the outdoor pitches as both football teams were soon to face a similar fate. Its no surprise that in traditional 2nd team fashion they were still hoping for their first win and an opening goal from the opposition followed by a few more and then the odd one from Welbeck led the final score to be 10 – 2 to Harrogate. An almost role reversal occurred from the usual first teams efforts as some good plays from all on the team wasn’t reflected by the 3-1 win to Harrogate with the chance that Welbeck could’ve drawn if Fraser Simmons hadn’t scored 2 own goals.

After the sports had eventually finished, the teams went back to the changing rooms to get ready for the trophy presentation. Once again seated in the theatre, both Harrogate and Welbeck sat anxiously waiting for the results to be announced by the commanding officer Lt Colonel Will Strickland.

From what many could say was expected, despite losing 3 of the 8 fixtures, Welbeck College still managed to overcome AFC Harrogate 18 points to 14 to take the 2016 title making  it a two year win streak.

A quick evening meal with all the sports teams and another long and tiring coach trip brought Welbeck’s victorious back to college with tired but triumphant faces.

Many thanks to all the various coaches of each team that took part and a special thanks to Ma’am Hawkins for her endless efforts in helping to organise what turned out to be a great day of sport.


Matthew Walsh


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