Girls' sport at Sedbergh embraces ‘Excellence’ and ‘Sport for All’ – the two are not mutually exclusive and co-exist together, to this end Sedbergh offers a huge variety of sporting opportunities open to each and every pupil.
We are proud to boast county, regional and England internationals in Netball and Hockey and our teams regularly qualify for county, regional and national competitions. Because we board seven days a week, pupils have access to extra coaching both early in the morning and after prep during evenings to allow individuals to reach their full sporting potential. Staff are experts in their field and are always available to offer individual technical and tactical coaching as and when.
A structured games programme runs on four afternoons during the week and, in addition, there is a full programme of fixtures organised for every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon as well as a sport for all programme for those not involved in school fixtures.
In the Michaelmas Term the main game is hockey and we are very proud that Sedbergh School is acknowledged as one of the strongest hockey schools in the North of England and is also making a formidable mark on the national stage. While hockey is the main focus throughout the term we also include netball in preparation for the preliminary rounds of the National Schools Competitions. For girls not selected for teams we provide a huge variety of opportunities to pursue such as aerobics, badminton, ballet, climbing, cross-country running, dance, fencing, gym, horse riding, sailing, shooting, soccer and swimming either competitively or on a recreational basis during each weekly programme.
In the Lent Term, the main girls' sports are netball and cross-country/fell running with hockey continuing to a lesser degree but enabling continuation through the year. In the Summer Term the main girls' sports are athletics and tennis, we compete in both at county, regional and national level with individual and team representation in all. Rounders is also played in the Summer Term with competitive fixtures played in the local area and beyond.
Girls' sport at Sedbergh is changing. We are no longer playing second fiddle to our impressive rugby boys and with the further introduction of expert coaching, strength and conditioning programmes, extra technical and tactical sessions and links to outside clubs and teams, the standard of girls sport at Sedbergh will only improve further.
Hockey started at Sedbergh in the mid 1990’s but only really moved forward with the building of a sand-based Astro, to coincide with the arrival of girls to the school.
Now hockey is the main sports for girls in the Michaelmas term and is flying! There are 7 girls’ teams, four of which compete in the National Schools Hockey Association age group competitions. In 2011 the 1st XI reached the North of England Finals for the first time and in 2015 won the National 6’s Competition. North West and North qualification together with ISHC final stages are a regular occurrence now showing just how far hockey has progressed. In addition to the National competitions, Sedbergh girls practise most afternoons and play regular fixtures against other schools, clubs and universities, while more talented players are taken to county and regional coaching sessions and sixth form pupils can access individual coaching sessions to improve their technical skill.
The hockey fixture card has been strengthened in recent years and includes all the top hockey schools in the country, we are not afraid to travel to secure the best competition!
Netball is flourishing at Sedbergh School. We have had England internationals, NPL and county players amongst our representative teams and the standard is rising every season. Sedbergh regularly qualifies for the National Schools Competition, ISNC final stages and hosts invitational tournaments throughout the year.
Netball is predominantly played in the Lent term but more emphasis is being put onto the Michaelmas term with national qualifications and National Cup games beginning early in the year. The coaching staff all have vast experience at all levels including international honours and many are currently still playing and coaching at the top level. Sedbergh girls train and play with Tameside Netball Club, a nationally renowned elite club and also encourages representation throughout the England Netball pathway.
Our school is equipped with the best facilities to ensure that the whole netballer is developed, an indoor sportshall with another double sized sportshall due to be completed in March 2018, together with outdoor courts. Professional strength and conditioning programmes, physio and rehabilitation support are all available as part of the Sedbergh package. Elite and recreational netball is offered as part of the games programme and inter-House competitions are strongly contested each year. One on one technical sessions are also available for those who wish to improve their performance.
Tours are all part of the development of girls sport at Sedbergh and in recent years have seen trips to Dubai 2015 and South Africa 2016. Australia is the next destination for our netball and hockey teams in 2019.
Sedbergh School boasts one of the best environments to run in. Quiet country roads and a complete cross-country course with huge variety and fells. It is the fells where most of the school running takes place, largely due to the iconic and traditional, ‘Wilson Run’ (ten mile). The Running Club has three senior teams (though for some matches it has had up to seven) and junior teams. It is well supported by a variety of staff and caters for all athlete levels from beginner to elite. Some of the Elite runners include the Symonds brothers (currently SKY champions and British Fell Running Champion) and Mel Hyder who, while still at school, won the BOFRA senior women’s title. Sedbergh girls have in recent years exceptionally well at King Henry Relays securing top five finishes.
We have several fixtures each year both internal and externally, with runs such as the Morgan Run, Three Peaks and Cross Country Trials. For the more adventurous, there are some school epics such as the ‘Ten Trigs’ or the ‘Howgill Tops’ as well as tours at home and abroad, most recently the Pyrenees 2015.
Athletics is our primary sport in the Summer Term for both boys and girls. We have expert coaches and excellent facilities and athletes are encouraged to represent the school in their chosen events in a variety of competitions. Sedbergh enters athletes individually and as teams into national competitions and we are regular qualifiers for the Track and Field Championships as well as having many County and North representatives in all disciplines.
Regular inter-school competitions ensure that athletes are given every opportunity to improve their performances. Sports Day is a huge event at Sedbergh and involves all pupils taking part in a wide variety of athletic events culminating in finals, which highlight our elite athletes at their best. Sedbergh has a fully kitted out strength and conditioning gym, rehab sessions and physiotherapists on site to ensure that the whole athlete is developed and prepared for competition.
We have five Winchester Fives courts at Sedbergh and this is the variant of Fives that we predominantly play, although we do also train for Rugby Fives. We have four immaculate courts in a dedicated building opposite Sedgwick House and an additional court in the Evans House yard.
All Year 9 pupils have a taster session in the sport in the Michaelmas term, allowing them to opt for it as their main sport in the Lent term if they so wish, as can any other year group. We currently have large numbers playing every day in the Lent term, including girls, who enter National Competitions.
During the tennis season, 16 courts are often full, with pupils of all abilities coming down to the Astro courts to cram in a healthy set of tennis between tea and prep. We are fortunate in having two professional tennis coaches who come into school to take private lessons during lunch, games sessions and on Sundays. Our tennis teams are thriving and have reached the final stages of Aegon and Aberdare competitions in the past few years. We have regular fixtures on Wednesdays and Saturdays and enter all HMC competitions. Tennis has definitely seen huge improvements since the introduction of professional coaches and we look forward to its continued progress.
Sedbergh has a successful rifle team that practises and competes in a number of disciplines including daily small-bore shooting on our own four-lane range, full-bore shooting (.308) on local ranges in the summer term, and Cadet General Purpose Rifle competitions. The Shooting Coach has represented Great Britain Under 25 both at home and on tour to the World Championships in Australia, and was recently capped for England.
The club has two electronic training systems to help analyse technique. Every pupil in the junior years has a chance to take up the sport and the School frequently produces shots who go on to gain international honours. The best shots may have the opportunity to tour Jersey or Canada with the British Cadet Rifle Team or tour South Africa with the Great Britain Under 19 Team.
Our Equestrian Team compete in the National Schools Equestrian Association Competitions (NSEA). The disciplines include Dressage, Show Jumping, Arena Eventing and One Day Events at various heights starting at 70cm and going up to 1m 10. The competitions take place at local, county, regional and national levels against other schools, culminating in the National Schools Championships in October.
Sedbergh currently boasts a National Champion at 1 metre Eventing and our 1 metre Show Jumping Team came 8th in the country in October 2015. At Easter 2016 our Show Jumping Team came 7th nationally at the National County Championships. The school is flexible in looking after the equine commitments of our pupils wishing to train and compete outside school. However, our pupils are still able to experience all the opportunities that boarding life has to offer at Sedbergh.
SHOOTING, FISHING & CONSERVATION
The School now has its own driven pheasant shoot nearby. We also have access to two areas for walked-up rough shooting and we have venues for activities such as ferreting and pigeon fighting. Under close instruction, the boys and girls are responsible for all elements of the shoot – from presenting a financial plan to the Bursar for a budget, to getting up at 05:30 once a week to feed the birds. With three days driven shooting and some duck fighting we offer instruction and supervision when shooting, and the syndicate is open to all pupils from year 10 upwards regardless of experience. All game is used in the School and the pupils enjoy a formal end of season dinner in February. The pupils have sourced their own socks for the shoot and are in the process of developing a Shoot Record book. It is possible that next season the School will be able to offer a second shoot.
A small group of Sixth Form pupils have the opportunity to stalk Red and Roe deer. Again the emphasis is on husbandry and conservation with pupils working towards the Deer Management Qualification Level 1. This is within five miles of the School. Fly-fishing was reintroduced to Sedberghians in 2011 and regular Thursday and weekend outings now see us testing ourselves on the still-waters near to Sedbergh and also on the Rawthey.
Every Thursday afternoon and evening, a caving trip lasting around six hours runs for Year 11 and sixth formers. As experience is gained cavers might expect to regularly descend the classic deep Yorkshire potholes such as Marble Steps Pot,Lost Johns or Swinsto involving a descents of up to several hundred feet down maybe a dozen vertical pitches, using SRT (Single Rope Techniques), into the chambers and passageways below. This involves abseiling for the descent, often with technical maneuvers, switching form rope to rope, and on the ascent, prussiking techniques are used with camming devices that permit one to climb the rope. Novice caving trips take place on other days in more horizontally developed systems, which still offer tremendous challenges in negotiating the cave. The leaders have up to several decades of caving experience in the Dales and around the world.
Sailing at Sedbergh provides a variety of experiences including taster sessions for Year 9 and Year 10 programmes, recreational sailing for all pupils at weekends, when possible and tuition in sailing skills for those who opt into sailing as a games option. For whose who show aptitude and an interest in racing, coaching is available. The Royal Navy CCF also regularly sails on Thursdays in CCF time. We sail and own a variety of dinghies; Toppers, Picos, Laser 1, Laser 2000, 3000, Bosun and Enterprise.
We regularly compete in endurance races such as the National Junior 12 hour race and the Southport 24 hour race. We sail the 3000 dinghy in class events and in handicap events such as the Great North Asymmetric Challenge. We compete in club racing at Killington Sailing Association and have a regular programme of fixtures against Rydal Penrhos. On occasion we take part in the NSSA events and the RYA junior travellers' series.
The school organise Team Training with the British Eventing U18 Northern Coach. It is an exciting time to be an Equestrian Team athlete at Sedbergh School.