It has been a fantastic and truly memorable week in Cressbrook. Thomas' 104 (not out) against Durham was the first century ever scored on the Prep School wicket and Old Cressbrookian, Sam Barrett (SH) enjoyed a five wicket haul against Ampleforth. Sam’s name will now be added to an Honour Board in the 1st XI Pavillion.
Given the significance of Thomas’ century, I thought a little background on his playing career, to date, is merited.
Thomas started playing at the age of 9 at Kendal Cricket Club. During the winter months Thomas is known to bowl down the hallway and landing of his family home and, until I ‘bust’ him, the corridors of Cressbrook. Thomas has played for a number of teams at Kendal Cricket Club and these also include: U13’s, U15’s and the men’s 3rd XI. He has played for Cumbria County Cricket Team for the past 3 years. Mr Speight has played, and continues to play, a pivotal role in Thomas’ development. Ultimately, Thomas has ambitions to play for Lancashire and, given his recent performances, this is not an unrealistic target.
‘Cricket was my reason for living’ Harold Larwood
On Sunday, the boys enjoyed gorge walking in Barbon. The cold and wet conditions certainly made for an exhilarating challenge and the boys were all suitably challenged by the route.
In Monday morning assembly, the immensely talented, Old Cressbrookian, William Player (SH) spoke about, ‘Music and taking advantage of every opportunity that is provided in the Prep School’.
English Channel Swimmer, Nick Young then reinforced a similar message in Thursday evening’s Cressbrook House Lecture.
In 2014, Nick emulated Captain Matthew Webb’s (1875) effort to swim the English Channel, without the use of artificial aids, in order to raise a staggering £120k to support his niece, Bel Young. Sadly, Bel had suffered a catastrophic spinal injury. Nick placed a considerable emphasis on ‘self-belief’ and ‘obstacles and overcoming them’. He closed his inspirational talk by acknowledging that Sedbergh School instils pupils with the necessary foundations to do just this.
An Interview with Old Cressbrookian and England Rugby Player, Philip Dowson
In the boys’ lounge of Cressbrook hangs a picture featuring three Old Cressbrookians that played for the 1st XV and have since represented their country. England International, Philip Dowson is one of these players and, after leaving Sedbergh School, he has enjoyed a remarkable career, playing at number 8 and flanker for the following teams: England A, Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, Worcester Warriors, England, England XV (7 caps)
Philip kindly agreed to an interview, which I hope you will enjoy reading.
When did you join Sedbergh Prep School?
I joined Cressbrook in 1992
Peter Knowles. He still keeps in touch and came to a game earlier in the year
Which subjects did you enjoy most at School and what did you read at University/which University?
I really enjoyed English and tried for Oxford but things didn’t go well in the interview. My next option was Durham. I never went to University. I went professional straight from my gap year, which I spent working for an accountancy firm. I did a year of Open University while playing and studied Business marketing. I still read lots on buses to games. I’ve re-read some books from school and actually understand them now!
Which sports did you play at School and do you hold any notable memories of games that you played in?
I tried all sports. Mainly Rugby and Cricket but also Tennis and Swimming. I remember Mike McCarthy pushing me in while a swimming race was on which wasn’t ideal! I also remember playing wicket keeper against Ampleforth as I pulled off the best catch of my life! Lots of games of Rugby that I remember as well and a tour to East Anglia!
I tried to learn the Trombone of all things but couldn’t get the hang of it. I was in the choir as well for a while. I loved acting and did an extra GCSE in 6th form in theatre studies. I took part in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “The resistible rise of Arturo Ui” and “Oh, what a lovely war.” amongst other productions.
Did you make the most of your time at school and if you had your time again would you do anything differently?
I loved school and all the opportunities it gave me. I would persist with an instrument (maybe not the trombone!) Do more outdoor pursuits. Would love to go mountain biking or walking on a weekend now! I didn’t appreciate growing up in that setting till I moved to the Midlands!
Any advice to boys enjoying their formative years at Sedbergh Prep School?
Take advantage of the facilities and expertise around you. Try everything and find something you love. Don’t waste time!
And, finally, a few memories of your time in Cressbrook.
I remember being made to weed the gravel as punishment! Playing all sorts of sports and learning to love cross country. Staying in a dorm for the first time. Playing British bull dog on Lupton pitches. Being thrown out of prep for disturbing everyone. Gathering around the drinks trolley.
The house tutors were always Australian lads that were brilliant fun. Loads of different things that all the lads will be doing and experiencing now. Except no phones so getting a letter was a highlight of the day.
Dr P. R. Hoskin