BSME Netball Tournament, Abu Dhabi
In 2016, TES managed to shock the Middle East by winning the first ever BSME Netball tournament. So this year going into the tournament, big named schools from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, knew we were not to be trifled with. Once again, surpassing all expectations, our girls managed to retain their BSME crown. Champions once is fantastic, but champions twice is quite simply outstanding!
The tournament this year was divided into 2 pools. Each pool contained 6 schools, from various countries around the Middle East. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were represented in the U13 age category. During the group stages, our girls had 5 matches to play. Finishing first or second in their group, would mean they would move forward into the semi-final.
The first game of the day was against The British International School, Abu Dhabi (BISAD). It was clear in the opening 5 minutes, that the magnitude of the occasion had gotten the better of our girls as they made a very shaky start. However, after scoring a few goals, they settled into their routines and were 9-2 up after the first half. As we moved into the second 10 minutes of play, the girls found themselves to be playing with more poise and purpose, forcing BISAD to work extremely hard if they wanted to catch up. The final score was 19-4; TES meant business! Next up were Cranleigh, another Abu Dhabi based school. They presented a greater challenge and really forced our girls to work. Before the game, we knew it would be tough having watched them beat their first opponents comfortably. Our girls took the fight to them however, never relenting or slowing down during the first half. Some fantastic movement and defensive pressure from everyone on court, meant that after the first 10 minutes of play, the girls were 12-4 up. As we moved into the second half, their momentum never slowed but then again, neither did Cranleigh’s. For the first three minutes Cranleigh had us sweating and on the back foot as we made minor errors which we were punished for. After digging deep however, we managed to reign in the Cranleigh retort and won the game 23-11. Our third game proved to be less intense and was one of the girls best performances this season. Throughout the whole match, the girls demonstrated their passing, moving and communicating finesse. They made the life of British School of Muscat difficult, and never looked like relenting. Our shooters were on top form and defensively we were superb. The girls really did put on a show in this game and rightfully, came away with a comfortable 22-2 win - great stuff! After an impressive start to their campaign, the girls had one more group game to finish the day. A win would secure them a place in the semi-final on the Saturday. The only problem was that they had to wait 3 hours for it! When the girls did eventually step on court, nerves, excitement, tiredness and some sore muscles proved to have taken its toll as the girls performances both individually and as a team, started to deteriorate. Nord Anglia Abu Dhabi, made us work for our fourth win, really mounting the pressure and forcing TES to dig deep for that last surge of energy. Thankfully, their hard work and determination were enough to secure victory, after a superb efforts by Nord Anglia to deny us our guaranteed spot in the semis. A 16-9 win in the end - a scoreline which flattered us against a very gutsy opposition. Still, a win's a win and the girls deserved to end their day with one final victory.
On Saturday, the girls had one more group game to get through before their semi-final. A win, would mean that they get the ‘easier’ semi-final, by playing the second placed team in the other pool. They were against Jeddah who last year, really pushed us till the final whistle, so we expected a rough ride! But our girls stepped it up. Jeddah didn’t stand a chance against our girls who were hungry for the win and never slowed up from start to finish. At halftime, we were already 13-0 up and clearly going to take the win. But credit to our opponents, despite falling behind their girls carried on playing with heart and made our girls play well till the last whistle. A 24-0 win, meant that we finished first in our group - unbelievable!
Our semi-final against King’s Al Barsha, Dubai, was an intense affair. Both teams rightly deserved their place in the semi and it was clear that neither was going to hand over a coveted place in the final on a plate! We lead early on in the first half, and it looked all too easy. But then came a feisty retort from King’s, showing we were going to have to work for the win. They pulled it back soon to 3-3 after just five minutes of play. After this however, our girls turned up the heat and pressed King’s until half time. The score stood at 9-5 to TES, but it was far from over. As we moved into the second half, King’s had us on the back foot, but could not capitalise on their efforts- lucky for us! TES worked hard defensively and managed to thwart a potential comeback, leaving enough time and opportunity for us to extend our lead. The final 10 minutes were a testament to both teams wanting to win this weekend, but our girls just had the edge moving into the last 2 minutes of the game. 15- 10 in the end - TES girls were once again in the BSME final!
As if the semi-final wasn’t intense enough, what happened next caused several blood pressures to rise dramatically! We were up against Brighton College, Abu Dhabi, who were our opponents last year in the BSME final. So it was to be a final showdown and a half. Our girls were fired up and ready, but so were Brighton. The first half was very much tit for tat with both teams making mistakes and working hard. Defensively, we were very strong and made it extremely difficult for Brighton to feed the ball into their shooting circle. We took an early 2-0 lead, but it was soon brought back to 2-2. It was then goal for goal as we lead up to the end of the first half. Everything was being thrown into this game except the kitchen sink! Half time and the score was 5-5.
This really was tight and there for the taking and either team would have been fully deserving of the title. As we moved into the second half, we scored the first goal overturning a Brighton centre. Despite numerous interceptions and fantastic movement, we couldn’t quite get the ball where we needed it to be and Brighton ramped up the volume big time! Before we knew it we were 9-6 down and things were looking bleak with just 4 minutes to play. For anyone who wrote our girls off at this stage, they well and truly proved doubters wrong! In unison, all seven girls gritted their teeth and found one last surge of excellence! They worked so hard to pull the game back and with just 1 minute left on the clock, we were level at 9-9. Everyone’s hearts were in their mouths - it only needed one more goal from either team! It was our centre pass and despite giving it away, we stood strong and made a whopping interception to regain possession. A stunning pass into the hands of Angelina who stood under the post, meant we had the opportunity to go ahead. And we did! 10-9 with 36 seconds left to play. It was a Brighton centre so we knew it would be tight. As the ball approached their shooting circle, everyone was on their feet willing our girls to hold on. A magnificent interception made by Olivia in the dying seconds, scooped up by Callie, meant that we were in possession. It flew down the court thanks to some fantastic play by the team back into our shooting third. But with just 16 seconds left, Brighton were awarded a penalty. As the seconds ticked by, the TES camp stood silent willing our girls to hold off a Brighton counter-attack. A delay in setting the penalty meant that Brighton had 9 seconds to score the equaliser - and it wasn’t enough! 10-9 was the final score! Not a dry eye in the TES camp - we had done it once again!
Sincere commiserations to our opponents however, who really did play extremely well. Josefin, Angelina, Callie, Dracy, Melanie, Olivia, Ruby and Thalia are to be commended for their stunning display of Netball - you really were deserving champions! A big well done to Darcy also, who managed to come runner up in the MVP of the tournament category - a fantastic achievement!
KFSAC 3/4/5/6 Swim Gala
Last Wednesday, our Year 3-6 swimmers were in action in the their first of two KFSAC swimming galas this academic year. All of the children who participated swam very well, with numerous PBs being set and medals won. Sam, Arthur, Alva, Filippa, Isabella, Orla, Alice, Thomas, Hamza and Maxwell managed to finish in the top three, therefore winning themselves a medal after fantastic individual swims. In the relays, we placed in the top 3 in all bar one - a superb effort from all involved. After the first gala, TES currently lie in 2nd place, behind an extremely tough KES opposition. Well done to Alva, Amelia, Christina, Sasha, Megan, Thomas, Hamza, Ieuan, Arthur, Filippa, Natalie, Alice, Isabella, Orla, Sam, Dexter, Maxwell, Finnley and James. You all did the school proud!
KFSAC 3/4 Girls Unihoc Tournament
Monday evening was the annual Year 3/4 girls KFSAC Unihoc tournament. Our girls were able to return to TES as champions!
In the group stages, the girls played really well and never looked like losing. Defensively, we were strong and ensured that the ball never really threatened Christina in goal. Our first game was against DBS, who we managed to beat 1-0. The ball never crossed the halfway line, but nerves and lack of experience meant the girls found it difficult to find the 2nd or 3rd they could have easily scored. Next up were KAS who again posed little threat to our girls, meaning that having finally found their feet we were able to win 2-0 comfortably in the end after some fantastic teamwork - although we were lucky that a KAS goal was fortunately disallowed for having only one hand on the stick. Our third group game against KNES was a display of real skill and teamwork. The girls managed a very pleasing 3-0 win this time and never looked like letting the ball go near our girl. Straight after, we moved onto BSK. Another display of great teamwork and moreover, excellent defending ensured that Christina never actually had to hit the ball from her goal. We managed a very satisfying 2-0 win meaning that we were now 100% into the semi-finals. Our last group game was against ATIS who also had not lost a game up until now. Both teams were fired up and the ball found its way into our half more often than in our other matches. The girls did very well to ensure that we would win and after some fantastic speed and tenacity, Erin managed to score the two goals that sealed our final victory. 5 group games down with 5 wins.
Our semi-final was against ESF from the other pool. It was a tight game at times, with ESF breaking into our half on several occasions. However Melin and Sasha did a fantastic job defending, clearing the ball down the pitch to Erin who managed to add another two goals to her scorecard. At 2-0, we were certain it would be enough. However ESF managed to break through our defence and found a goal. 2-1 with about a minute to play. Salma came on and added fresh legs to the occasion and between them all, they managed to thwart a potential equalising goal - a job well done by all!
Our final was against ATIS, who we had previously beaten in the group stage. The final was a tense affair, with both teams giving it their all. After 3 minutes of play, the score was still 0-0, despite numerous shots on goal from our girls. Eventually the goal came. 1-0 to TES with around 90 seconds to go! The girls clung on to the lead despite ESF managing to break through the middle of the court and get a shot away on our goal. It went wide fortunately for us. As the final whistle blew, the girls were overjoyed with their final victory! An impressive display by all 5 girls, winning 7 out of 7 matches - rightfully deserving the title! Well done to all involved and a big thank you to all the parents who came along to support.
KFSAC 3/4 Boys Unihoc Tournament
The TES Year 3 /4 boys Unihoc put in some fantastic displays on Wednesday evening in the KFSAC tournament at NES. The opening group game was against DBS and TES started the league in fine form with a 3-0 win, with Tom scoring a penalty and then following with 2 more goals from good team play. In the second game against KAS, the boys put in a great team display with Adham, Andrew, Carl, Tom and Tristan all playing well as a team and working hard to cover the pitch. The strikers finished off the chances created by the rest of the squad, with Tom adding another 3 to his tally and Carl adding 2 more, to make the score 5-0. In game 3 Andrew opened the scoring for TES with a fine finish, before Tom scored a penalty and then scored another goal from open play. The defensive players, Adham, Andrew and Tristan, made some vital interceptions and Arthur spent much of the afternoon watching the game, although when he was called upon he made some good clearances. Straight after the third game TES played against a strong BSK team but continued the winning run with a 2-0 win with Tristan scoring the first and Tom scoring yet another penalty. In the final group game TES beat ATIS 1-0 with a goal from Andrew and some good passing play that created a number of scoring chances for the team. In the semi final the boys played against the defending champions NES. Adham, Andrew and Tom played very well during the semi final and dominated the game having a number of chances to score. Arthur in goal made his only saves of the day against NES and looked solid in goal for the team. TES were the better team but unfortunately they came up against an excellent goalkeeper that made some great saves to stop the boys from scoring. The one goal we did score was disallowed for holding the stick in one hand. The game went to penalties and the NES keeper kept up his fine form, making 3 excellent saves meaning the boys went to the third place playoff. The final game was a one-sided event with TES dominating the game and winning 4-0, with goals from Andrew, Carl and Tom (2). A great performance from the lads on the day, winning 6 and drawing 1 without conceding a single goal. It was a great effort in the games and training by the boys, well done
KFSAC 5/6 Boys Football
The TES boys went into the final game of the season with a perfect winning record, the same as their opposition, DBS. The game started very poorly for TES with DBS scoring a goal in the opening seconds, a shot from distance squirmed through Finnley’s grasp and bounced into the goal off of the post. Just moments later Harry cleared the ball which fell to the opposition’s best player who fired a shot into the top corner. 2-0 down, but the boys battled hard and gained control of the game pushing the DBS team back into their half. Ciaran, Maxwell and Sam all pushed forward creating chances that we were just unable to capitalise on, with the DBS keeper making a few good saves and a couple of shots just missing the target. After conceding two early goals the defence of Dexter, Harry and Patrick looked more solid, making some good interceptions. Some quick play from Sam and Maxwell led to a chance for Ciaran that he converted from close range to close the gap to 2-1. TES continued to force the play and peppered the DBS goal with shots from distance. With minutes left in the game the ball was squared to Ciaran and he managed to place the ball in the bottom corner to equalise. For the last few minutes TES remained solid and held on to the 2-2 draw- which was enough to win the league title overall! Great performances all season, well done boys!
The B squad finished off the season with a 1-1 draw versus DBS. The boys were playing against a very strong team with good technical ability, but matched them and worked very hard. DBS started the game well with a number of attacks but the TES defence remained solid with Chad, Jack and Sam making good tackles and clearances. The front 3 created a number of chances with Haydn, James and Zayn all working the DBS goalkeeper. Dasman took the lead 1-0 with a shot that didn't give Harrison much of a chance to save the ball. Just after half time Rakan and Rory entered the game and made positive contributions to the team. After a period of pressure the TES boys got their deserved reward with a goal from a solid strike from Rory that beat the DBS keeper. The boys have done brilliantly all season long and put in some fantastic performances. Well done lads!
ISACK U13 Girls Netball Final
TES 42 - 8 KES
Well after what has been quite simply a stunning display of netball this season, our U13 girls were justly rewarded with the shield they so rightfully deserved. Just to highlight a few stats; in 7 games, 280 minutes of play, the girls conceded only 27 goals. But managed to score a whopping 314! An impressive feat at such a young age.
The final itself was a mixed game in terms of champion standard performance. The first quarter was an extremely tight affair, with KES keeping us well and truly reigned in. The girls looked nervous and almost overwhelmed by the occasion, despite being the BSME champions! After re-grouping and stern talk after the first 10 minutes, the girls stepped it up a notch - or two! The second quarter was a far more impressive display of what they can do as they had a run of back to back goals, leaving KES to be spectators of the TES show. KES never gave up however, and with moments of fantastic netball, managed to sink a couple more goals. But by the end of the first half, it was clear TES weren’t about to slow up and let all their hard work in training go to waste. The score at half time was 26-5.
The third quarter was by far their best. The girls looked hungry for the win and never looked like relenting. Angelina and Darcy were fantastic once again in the shooting circle, rarely missing a shot, or when necessary a rebound. Melanie and Josefin worked tirelessly to feed the ball into the circle and were a crucial part of the shooters’ success. Defensively, Thalia, Callie and Olivia tightened up between them and put KES under all sorts of pressure, making regular interceptions and stopping them even entering the circle. It was an excellent display of teamwork by all 7 girls, who ensured that, after 30 minutes, the title was going to be ours! The score stood at 36-6 with just one final quarter to go. On came the team captain Sienna, who added one final push to the squad. Unfortunately by now, the girls knew they were the winners and so the overall standard of play in the fourth quarter was below par. With little opposition, or lack of intensity, the girls were happy to play simple netball and just see the game out. A final burst in the last 3 minutes added to their already impressive score, meaning that at full time, the score was 42- 8 to TES.
Despite the final 10 minutes not being the finish they wanted, the girls have had an amazing season. Considering 50% of the team have only been playing netball for the last year or so, what they have achieved is nothing short of remarkable. BSME and ISACK champions in the space of 4 days is fantastic and now our eyes are well and truly on the big prize, of winning the Netball at the BSME U13 Games in Muscat, January 2018. Can they do the treble - the first school ever to achieve this feat?
On a personal note, I wish to extend my thanks to the parents and avid supporters of our girls. You really do make my life easier by giving up so many hours to ensure the girls attend training and of course, cheer them on from the sidelines. And to Ms Byng! Her umpiring - and calming influence on me - are invaluable to what we do and I will be forever grateful for the time she gives to us. Well done to all involved. Bring on January!