Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 24th May 2019
Last night’s Sheldonian Concert was a very special evening for us all. I’m sure you, like me, will have been brimming with pride at the outstanding performances from every boy in the School. The quality and creativity of their music-making, their poetry reading, mask-making, their quiet confidence and stage presence was outstanding and set a standard I doubt that many prep schools or even many senior schools could match. It’s characteristic of your sons that once they are engaged in a task they are really determined to give their best. And I’m sure we can all still recall from our own school days those times when the usual routines were thrown aside to do something special. Yesterday was one such day and I hope an enjoyable and memorable one for the boys. It certainly is day I shall never forget and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the NCS community for the huge warmth and kindness which characterised this tribute to mark my impending retirement as Headmaster. All my colleagues have, as ever, gone the extra mile to ensure everything went so well on the night, ranging from contributing their musical talents to organising and encouraging the boys, to attending to many practical arrangements. And I would like to record my thanks, too, to parents and grandparents, old boys and former parents: your loyal support and gratitude for all that is good about NCS was palpable last night and has been a source of much inspiration and encouragement to me over these last 11 years. Above all in this, I think I should salute your sons for being the most discreet and trustworthy children I’ve ever come across! You will have heard last night that one of the special gifts the boys prepared for me was a CD of the whole of the prep school singing some of my (and their) favourite hymns. I gather this was cooked up between School and College while I was away on an inspection when surreptitiously they went over to the Chapel one morning, made the recording in one take, and were then sworn to absolute secrecy. And I can assure you nothing was leaked. That CD, along with a beautifully-bound collection of tributes from current and former colleagues, current and former parents and pupils, organised and collated by Dr Jenkinson, are testimony to the extraordinarily thoughtful and civilised nature of this place. Thank you all so much!
Sport. As the first half of term comes to a close, we can reflect on some very impressive sporting performances. This week has been extremely busy with a great many notable achievements. Firstly, the Year 2 boys had an exciting afternoon last Friday in the first-ever athletics meeting with Summer Fields School. All boys competed in the 50m sprint, 300m run, standing long jump and the vortex throw. There were some outstanding individual performances including Tristan Brown with his Year 2 school record of 22.72 metres and Xander Smith with a Silver Award and 2nd overall in the meeting. At the final count, when all the points were tallied up, I’m delighted to say that NCS were the winners of the meeting. Very well done indeed! On Monday of this week, Mr Bradley and Mr Morrison took the U11 ‘A’ cricket team to Millfield Prep for their first attempt in the IAPS cricket tournament. Amongst some very tough opposition the NCS team did not disappoint and, after the group stages, we ended up in third place and faced a 5th/6th play-off match after a very welcome BBQ lunch. This match. as with all the others we played. was a keenly contested affair and went down to the final two balls of the game. Unfortunately the boys were just short and lost by a single run! The boys learnt a great deal from the afternoon and these experiences will only serve to make them better players for the remainder of the season and indeed over the coming years.
Finally this week, the 1st and 2nd XI teams from Years 7 & 8 played two tough Dragon School teams on Wednesday. Mr Bishop took the 2nd team at home and, after winning the toss, the Dragon elected to bowl first. In our 20 overs we amassed a respectable 71 runs and although we would have liked 20 or 30 more we felt confident we could defend it. Henry Moore was brilliant with the bat and ended up on 22 not out. He not only scored these valuable runs but was instrumental in ensuring the scoreboard kept moving as he guided his partners when running between the wickets. Great leadership Henry: well done! Out in the field, the bowling from Walter Moore and Krishan Sabharwal was accurate and difficult to score from: while these two boys were bowling we looked dangerous! With four wickets between them, including three for Krishan, both boys deserve high praise indeed. However, from there we bowled too short and the Dragon batsmen took full advantage and hit the ball hard to the boundary to eventually win the game by four wickets. A tough lesson to learn about line and length, but a valuable one going into the next half of term! In the 1st team game the result did indeed go our way thanks to a brilliant bowling display from our openers Joseph Conway and Fraser Mackenzie. Both boys bowled with accuracy and hostility to restrict our opponents to only 82. Freddie East then scored a quick fire 20, but it was Edward Bennett and Callan McMillan who saw the game home for a well-deserved win. Both boys batted with great maturity and skill to make sure the game was safe. Well done all round!
Chess. Congratulations to Jack Douglas who defeated all his opponents form the Dragon in one of our recent chess tournaments and has qualified for the Oxfordshire Chess Megafinal which takes place just after half-term, for which we wish him all success. Very well done!