It’s game on for winter sport


After a forced hiatus caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, young athletes will be happy to hear that the school winter sports season is about to start again. Nayland College Sports Coordinator Angela Baker and the Director of Sport Brendan Crichton, are working hard to get our winter codes up and running.

“It’s all over the place,” Brendan laughed, referring to the rush to get student teams ready for the season ahead, a process that has been complicated by a later start, truncated seasons and the staggered approach the different codes are taking to getting up and running.

He gives the example of basketball. “They are going to start the premiere competition, which are our Senior A teams, but the college social teams are not going to start till next term. We are going to have some teams in some grades that will start earlier than others for the same sport. It is just interesting times,” Brendan said.

Netball is starting on 19 June, club football is starting on 13 June, hockey on 20 June and basketball for all competitive college grades will be up and running by 24 June. Due to the physical demands of rugby, extra time has been provided to allow students to prepare. The rugby season will get underway on 25 July.

The enforced time in lockdown seems to have reignited students’ desire to engage in team sports, with very little attrition and some codes even growing in numbers.

“From the students’ perspective, they are just glad now that they are able to train, even those kids that aren’t in the A and B grade teams,” Angela said. “For basketball, we’ve got more teams than we had before. Kids have come in and put themselves together into teams.”

“(Lockdown) has made them value the social aspect (of team sport) and doing things with their mates,” Brendan added. “We thought we might lose some, but I don’t think that has happened. It has been nice seeing a smile on their face even at training. They’ve wanted to get out there, which has been quite rewarding.”

Both Brendan and Angela acknowledge that the last two months have not been easy for the hundreds of students for whom sport plays a big part in their school life.

“The kids have missed the physical aspect – just being able to be physical and get exercise, to get the rush from it and enjoy the competitiveness,” Angela said.

“Some of the parents I’ve spoken to,” added Brendan, “their kids have just been going stir crazy at home during lockdown, they were just hanging out to do something. I think some kids have realised how much they miss the extra-curricular stuff. I think that has been a good thing for students to realise, and for parents as well, how important a role those things play in a young person’s development and well-being.”

Angela and Brendan said that almost all teams were ready to go as far as having the required coaching and managerial help, with only a few holes still to fill. There is still a need for a coach for the U15 Boys Rugby Team (see elsewhere in this newsletter for the advertisement). There will also likely be a need for helpers with the social basketball teams.

“Because the number of basketball teams has grown, we are probably going to have to reach out to the parents of those teams to ask if anyone wants to manage those teams,” Angela said. “They are social teams, but they will still need somebody to manage them.”

For any student still wanting to get involved in a winter code, it is not too late too get in touch with Brendan and Angela in the sport’s office and express interest.

By Duncan McKinlay