College Celebrates Sports Double!

The Henley College hosted a Sports Celebrations event at the Town Hall on Tuesday to celebrate the football and rugby teams doing the double (winning the national finals) for the first time in the history of the college.

Before Satwant Deol, the College Principal spoke, the fitting song of We Are the Champions by Queen was played.  Satwant then said, “I am honoured to stand here before you today to celebrate the remarkable achievement of our rugby and football teams.  This year has been extraordinary and I so so proud of all our athletes here tonight and those who could not be with us.  Who would have believed just a few months ago that we would be here celebrating your achievements?  You, our students have embodied the spirit of our college – question, seek, grow.  You young people have really questioned to the limit.  You have sought excellence before, during and after each game.  It is not been easy while concentrating on your academic excellence.  You’ve all shown such strength of character, you’ve built resilience, you’ve become adaptable and above all you have grown together.  As champions you are truly champions today and tomorrow as well.”

Ty Sterry, Head of Enterprise said, “Huge congratulations to you, the students. Your dedication, your talent, your hard work and off the field you’ve been nothing short of inspirational.  You should recognise this amongst yourself.  Each of you has shown what it means to be a true athlete. You’ve demonstrated skills and values like teamwork, perseverance and sportsmanship.  To our coaches Josh and Tom, thank you for your commitment, expertise, guidance and support and your encouragement that has been vital in changing these students.  To guide them to achieve results like this that they will remember for many years to come.”

The Rugby team won the AOC Sport Men’s U18 Premiership Final 33-12 to Bishop Burton College on 17 April.

Josh Barlow, Head Coach and Elite Rugby Programme Manager said, “Since I’ve joined we have played 13 fixtures, won 11, lost 2, scored 299 points, conceded 158, that’s a win ratio of 84%.  They say that you learn more from losing and there’s a fixture that sticks in my mind that was a building block for our season; St Joseph’s College away. We lost 17-19 in the last kick of the game but actually for me that defined our season because what we learnt from that fixture was we needed to apply this to get better.  This led on to huge development both on and off the field. We went on for the first time in our history to beat last season’s champions, Newman’s Academy 15-14, in the last play of the game.  Winning the league gave us the platform to go into the playoffs.”

Rugby Captain, Dylan Walters said “Thank you to the coaches for taking us through this year, especially at the start we went through a number of changes in coaching and backroom staff.  The boys stuck together through it even though it wasn’t good to start with.  Luckily we all jelled together at the end and we got to the final destination and won the final.  Thank you to Henley Hawks for allowing us to use their facilities to play our games and to train. It’s been a pleasure to wear the jersey for the last 2 years and proud to lead the boys into every game.”

The football team won the National Football Youth League Final 3-0 against Swindon Town Procision on 30 April at Northampton Town FC’s ground.

Tom Guy, Head Coach and Elite Football Programme Manager said, “Football has come a long way at the college since I started 3 years ago.  When I first came I went down to the football pitch and there were seven players all in different kit stood there in the freezing cold and dogs running around everywhere and cows in the field opposite.  I did think what have I done.  This season has been the resolve of a lot of hard work over the last 3 years.  This is thanks to all the college staff who have believed in the programme and enhance the experience of the students at the college but also to provide them a platform on the national stage whereby they can all take their football to the next level.”

Seb D’Adversa, Football Captain said, “Massive well done to all the players, staff and everyone who has helped throughout the season and our supporters.  Overall this season we have had our ups and downs however we’ve improved massively from last season.  We have had one of the best records in the league, winning 15 games, drawing 5 and only losing 2.  I’m proud of all the boys across the entire season and how they have held themselves throughout the unfortunate circumstances (the sad passing of rugby player, Adam Ankers).   All that we have achieved this season has not been possible without you boys. This season was not just about playing the game as an individual but growing as a team.  I appreciate the amount of time and effort you have put into the team and your dedication.”

Player, George Walker who plays on the wing added, “I came to Henley College for both the football and engineering from Staines.  The final was an alright game and I was pleased to score a goal which I took from a throw in which I was surprised when it went in.  I felt pretty good when the whistle went and we won.”

Henley Mayor, Councillor Rory Hunt said, “It is amazing, that as a town and a community that you have achieved what you have done.  I don’t mean that in any way that I’m taking away your individual achievement.  I mean that in a sense that if you look at the people in this room, your parents, coaches, teachers, together you have achieved so much.  More than anyone would have achieved on their own.  I hope you take that spirit forward with you and understand that together you achieve more.  It is also remarkable that the two biggest national sports have been won by the same college.  I can’t think of any other school, private or public who have ever achieved that.  You should all be incredibly proud.”

Afterwards Dylan’s family presented the college with a specially designed Welsh steel rugby sign to be put up at the College and blue chalk canons and confetti were let off on the Town Hall steps.



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