Sport flourishes at Bolton School. The traditional Autumn and Spring term team games are football and rugby. In football the School has a strong reputation and we are an Independent Schools' Football Association (ISFA) Focus School, driving football development throughout the region. In recent years, the School has reached several national ISFA finals. Members of the School are regularly selected for national Independent Schools' FA teams at U19 and U16 level. The School enjoys a good working relationship with the local football academies, in particular with Bolton Wanderers. The football coaching is led by Mr Keith Branagan. The former Republic of Ireland keeper is a UEFA A coach who played more than two hundred games for Bolton Wanderers. School footballers are encouraged to join the Old Boltonians' Football Club when they leave school.
Rugby now runs parallel to football throughout the School in the first two terms. School players regularly represent Greater Manchester and Lancashire. More recently, the first international caps have been awarded to boys from the school. School rugby competes in the Daily Mail and Lancashire Cups in various age groups. In recent years we have joined the very popular Northern 7s' circuit in the latter part of the Spring term. Rugby League has recently been introduced and is proving very popular, in particular with the junior players. It is led by John Duffy, the Leigh Centurions Captain, who is also the town Development Officer.
Hockey is also played in the first two terms and there is a considerable fixture list. Representative teams are organised for Middle and Upper School age groups and the School has developed a good relationship with local clubs.
In summer, the main sport is cricket which is played at all levels. Currently our U15s are national 20/20 champions. Town, County and standard players feature in all age group teams. Some go on to be recognised by the English Cricket Board.
There are also athletics and tennis teams for all age groups which include athletes from county and national training programmes. Badminton is also very popular with our U16 team reaching the national finals in 2012. Representative teams also participate in league competitions in badminton. Basketball and volleyball fixtures take place at various times of the year, normally coinciding with a block of PE lessons.
The swimming team competes on a regular basis against other schools. In 2012 they were very successful and remained unbeaten in ten galas.
Water polo has developed into something of a specialty for the school, with many students achieving county and international representation up to and including full international level.
Indoor provision consists of a Sports Hall, which contains four badminton courts, cricket nets and a basketball court, as well as a 25-metre swimming pool. The gymnasium also houses a purpose-built climbing wall. In addition there is a well equipped fitness room
The School is surrounded by 32 acres of land which provide five football and three rugby pitches, as well as cricket nets, three cricket pitches and seventeen tennis courts. All of these facilities are utilised in the physical education timetable provided weekly for each boy.
All students have one timetabled sport session per week, with additional physical education and swimming sessions for the Lower and Middle Schools. Students are encouraged to develop further their expertise in voluntary training sessions in the daily long lunch break or in before- and after-school clubs. Internal school competitions are the basis of three House Days per year. Representative school matches are generally scheduled for the major sports on Saturday mornings.
The School offers a wide-ranging selection of sports tours both in the UK, and further afield. In recent years rugby has toured South Africa twice and cricket has been on several trips to the West Indies. Over the years football has built a strong relationship in Holland, resulting in a junior tour which takes place every two years. Senior football has also recently completed their pre-season training in Holland.
Bolton School is very lucky to have a very enthusiastic and qualified group of teachers and coaches that give up countless hours to ensure “sport for all”.