So, we are now fully immersed in the longest stretch of term; in fact, I think this is the longest stretch of the whole academic year – just under 4 weeks from Exeat to Half term. Although the boys may not see it this way, this is a good thing as it will finally allow them to get back up to speed on all things scholastic and we will start to make some serious progress as we move towards the half way point.

That is not to say it is all about academic rigour – there is plenty more to keep the boys occupied on a day-to-day basis. Some of the older ones have been off to see their future schools, with visits to Eton, Harrow, Wellington, Bradfield, Sherborne and Charterhouse in the last 10 days. I went to visit Cheltenham for the first time last week and was hugely impressed, not only by the two boys who showed me around (OWs, obviously) but also by the staff and facilities – definitely one to add to the shortlist.

The visit was timed beautifully so that I could peel off the M4 at Hermitage on the way home to watch the Under 11 Bs notch up a famous 1-0 victory over Brockhurst. Sadly, I had to dash back to Woodcote straight afterwards and therefore had to forego the infamous Brockhurst egg sandwiches – one of the great delights of taking a team to play there. Reports back from the staff who travelled there maintained that they were as good as ever.

Friday last week saw 9 teams from London pre-Preps coming to play football in our annual Captain Snow trophy. I was lucky enough to referee on one of the four pitches and was also given the ‘onerous task’ of refereeing the final! It was a beautifully sunny afternoon and we witnessed some fabulous football from all teams. The Final was between Gatehouse and L’Ecole du Battersea, with the French side taking the spoils 1-0. We had a huge match tea in front of the school with boys, parents, team coaches etc. – there must have been 150 people getting stuck in to scones, brownies, cakes, sandwiches and biscuits – before the teams departed for home.

The Captain Snow trophy was just the warm-up act though for the big Saturday fixture (first leg) against Sunningdale.  We managed to organise 9 matches with the ‘Dale and I think almost every boy from both schools was involved – a fabulous achievement in itself. At the end of the day, Woodcote had won 7 of the games and lost 2, including an 11-2 win for the 1st XI, with the return fixtures due on Saturday 9th October.

Another busy week this week, culminating in our Harvest Festival on Sunday evening at 6pm – I do hope to see as many of you there as possible.

That is all.