Star Athletes Return for Reunion Weekend
Saturday, 04 July 2015
Almost two hundred former pupils – including the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Olympic athletes - returned to Bolton School for a Sports Reunion Weekend. The event was part of the School’s 100/500 year celebrations and included cricket, netball, water polo, football and rugby fixtures as well as an informal reunion supper.
A cricket fixture featuring teams comprising Old Boys and current first team players opened the event on the Friday and, after much deliberation, it was decided to field two mixed teams, combining current and past players, in an attempt to produce balanced sides of youth and experience, suppleness and degrees of arthritis! In a close match, Captain Matt Fray steered his team to victory. The real winner on this hot July day was camaraderie and good humour.
Current and former pupils, including a number of internationals, provided the inaugural water polo match at the Jason Kenny Centre at Bolton One on the Saturday. In a high quality, fast-paced match current pupils beat former pupils 11-10. The School team comprised a number of junior internationals including Tom Prayle, Lewis Daley, Aaron Winstanley and James Barker and the Old Boys’ team included full internationals Simon Baker, Ed Grundy, Andy Crawford and Kate Teasdale.
The football, rugby and netball matches took place on the Levels at Bolton School. Former Bolton Wanderers’ player Julian Darby took part in the all Old Boys’ football match; the rugby game was a close affair, ending 34-31, as two teams of former pupils battled it out; and an Old Girls’ netball side proved too strong for the current team.
Sir Philip Craven, President of both the IPC and the Old Boys’ Association attended all the Saturday fixtures and then proudly unveiled ten new boards on the Boys’ School corridor which showed those former pupils who had competed at Olympic, Paralympic or World level. The boards included action shots of Sir Philip (as a Paralympic basketball player) as well as John Boulter (Olympic athlete, 800m and 1500m), Chris Goudge (Olympic athlete, 400m hurdles), Harry Whittle (Olympic athlete, long jump and 440 yards hurdles), David McCulloch (world lacrosse), John Derbyshire (gold medallist, Olympic and Paralympic sailing coach), Daniel Sliwinski (World Junior Champion and British record holder at breast stroke), Chris Eatough (USA and World Champion in mountain bike endurance), Ed Scott (GB water polo team captain at the London Olympics) and Nigel Short (Chess Grandmaster). John Boulter, David McCulloch as well as the Whittle and Goudge families were all in attendance to witness the unveiling of the boards.
During the celebratory dinner, Lewis Daley who is currently English Schools’ water polo captain for his country announced the launch of the Quincentenary Trophy, which will take place in 2016. It will be an annual water polo competition for U13 boys in the North of England and will be aimed at schools who don’t have a tradition in the sport.
Former pupils then caught up on each other’s lives as well as on the match action during the day!