Sport is a valued part of school life at Banstead Prep.  Every year, children from Year 6 are taken on a Sports Tour residential weekend where they play fixtures against other prep schools with lots of other activities and adventures to be had. The children have all returned with exciting stories and great memories, with Mr Jeens being kind enough to recount the weekend for all to enjoy:

The Year 6 sports tour began after a rather wet and eventful morning at BPS. As we drove out on to the M25 and M1, we hoped the lashing rain and dark skies were not a bad omen for our weekend. Fortunately, upon arrival in the Midlands, we were met by dry skies and shafts of dramatic sunlight as we arrived at Twycross school. The weather having been somewhat wet until our arrival called for a sensible change of fixture from rugby (a mud-based wrestle given the pitch’s wetness) to a football game on their new all weather astro. The ‘all-weather’ aspect of the surface was tested as, after a delicious lunch, the boys jogged out to play, only to be met by near horizontal sleet. Fortunately this was short lived and everyone was so relieved that the sun had come out, spirits weren’t too dampened by seeing that alongside the drift of hailstones in our goal, Twycross had also slipped the football in there a few times too. Each of our team’s second halves were hugely better and dynamic games were had on each pitch. Mr Jeens’ highlight of the game was Calum managing to score from a corner kick; artfully judging the deflection of the wind (gale) to see it slip past the Twycross keeper. Pleased with a good showing by Banstead, the Twycross children headed back in to lessons and we re-boarded the bus, fired up the music (courtesy of DJ Herbert) and headed up to our accommodation at YHA National Forest.

The boys settled in, played a quick game or two of cards (they are rather good at ‘cheat’ though also were devising their own games too) and then tucked in to their dinner. The boys were complemented by the staff for not only their manners at mealtimes but also their appetites – a small dish could have served in place of the scraps bin. After dinner was bowling over in Tamworth. Because the boys had been so quick in their turning around and being ready, we had time in hand to use in the arcades. Bowen, Devin and Ibrahim raced away on the Mario Kart game, Jacob seemed to (unsurprisingly) do well on a throwing based game and Ben somehow had more tokens than he could carry from one game.  Once bowling was underway, it was apparent that the group are actually rather good… Daniel picked up a few spares, as did Albert, Jay, Ibrahim, Markus and Harry. Technique for bowling was somewhat unorthodox but the results were great with scores all coming in above 69 up through the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was Raahul who won the day with an impressive 106, just pipping Jacob to top spot. The teachers had a lovely time bowling alongside the boys; Miss Herbert was able to justifiably say she had an injury and Mr Jones maintains that golf is more his thing. Mr Jeens did his best to model how to be a magnanimous victor.  Back to the YHA and the boys were quickly in bed and asleep ready for the next day.

The boys had a relaxed start to the morning and appreciated the large fried breakfast on offer before we drove over to Lichfield Cathedral School for our second fixture. A beautiful day greeted us as we played in the shadow of the cathedral. Lichfield had gathered enough boys to come in on a Saturday to play a 9-a side game on a good sized pitch next to the river. Mr Jones was really pleased with the way the boys got involved, playing their best football of the weekend and really showing hard work and teamwork in the face of a really good opponent.  The match finished with a win for Lichfield but it was good to see tired and happy faces all around. After a pizza lunch in the school and player of the match awards for Benjamin, the boys enjoyed an explore of the cathedral with Mr Jeens while Mr Jones guarded the bus against any overzealous parking wardens. After lots of excellent questions, great conduct and a sufficient quantity to “ooh” and “ahh” looking at the beautiful building, the boys were back on the bus and back to the YHA to change before the inflatables outing.

One would assume that playing a long game of football earlier would have worn the boys out but there seemed to be bounce and spring aplenty in the group, spurred on by loud music, a huge bouncy inflatable area to explore and the promise of buying ice creams and snacks afterwards in the cafe. With the cafe freezer somewhat emptier, it was back to the YHA for dinner and free time, where the boys enjoyed games of monopoly, card games and table tennis.

An early rise and the group were quickly off out of the YHA and headed homewards via the Snow Dome. Mr Jeens took Harry and Albert for a ski on the main slope while the others split into beginner lessons with two instructors. Having impressed their instructor in their work, Ben, Calum and Daniel soon joined Mr Jeens too. Over with the remaining skiers, the instructors were really pleased by the progress made by each of the boys, though Jacob seemed unsure if this was going to become a favourite sport quite yet. Ski boots away and packed lunch eaten, we were soon back out on the snow for sledging. The session is perhaps best described as very enjoyable sub-zero carnage, with gravity and laughter being the only constants. Endless races, snakes, slingshots and wipeouts left us all with wet and frosty bottoms and broad smiles afterwards.

Alas it was time to then depart for school and home. Another successful sports tour with teachers proud of the independence, attitude and fun all the boys brought to the trip. We look forward to more of the same next year!