Forres Sandle Manor is a co-educational day and boarding school perched at the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire and we LOVE our Rounders! There’s something about sunshine and Rounders that is quintessentially British. Check out our pitches on match days: there’s a buzz of anticipation, those match-day friendly butterflies swirling in the stomach, posts set, bats checked, practice balls whizzing, parents’ deck-chairs set up… and, most importantly, so many smiles (and not just at the prospect of delicious Match Teas!)
Rounders is the main girls’ sport for the summer term and this year we fielded 6 teams across the age groups, from U8 to U13. We have 66 fixtures, an 83% increase on last year’s matches. Over the last few years we have seen success in local prep and senior school tournaments, winning 4 out of 6 tournaments entered at U13/14 level and collecting the runners-up shield at an U12 event. Indeed, our U13A team has clocked up 4 unbeaten seasons in the last 10 years, winning over a hundred matches and losing just 12!
However, success is not just measured in trophies and wins. Seeing the girls setting up pitches before the games lesson starts because they are so keen to get going; the increasing number of certificates awarded for completing the Rounders Young Leader Award Scheme; senior girls teaching and encouraging junior girls with skills and tactics; boys coming along to Rounders activity sessions after the regular school day finishes and asking if they can have fixtures, too; the well-attended and fiercely contested staff v parents match… all these things tell their own version of the same story: Rounders is very much alive and kicking at Forres Sandle Manor!
- A couple of years ago we welcomed a French pupil during the summer term, who’d never heard of Rounders. One games session was enough to notice that this young lady would be an asset to any sports team… real awareness of the ball and a natural athleticism. The fact that she was a tennis player and left-handed was a bonus! A simple instruction for batting: “Forehand drive… and hit it as far as you can, preferably that way!” (deep beyond 1st post). One memorable game, which we played to ‘all out’ saw this young lady wallop the ball into gaps whatever the opposition fielders tried to do. On the ball that would see our team take the win, the left-hand field was loaded; the opposition had moved 6 fielders over there to plug the gaps. The ball was bowled… and our French star calmly belted the ball across to the right, into the middle of the adjacent cricket pitch! Rounder scored; match won; unbeaten season.
- A nail-biting tournament final where not one, but two extra innings of 9 balls had to be played before we could claim the trophy.
- Our current bowler delivering 99 balls in one ‘all-out’ match, giving away just a single rounder’s worth of no-balls.
- Shortest fielding innings: opposition all out in 16 balls.
- In 10 years of U13A teams: 1590 rounders scored; 898 conceded.
- Training the next demon bowler – backstop – 1st post triangle.
- Earning lots of bronze, silver and gold Rounders Award Scheme certificates.
- A former FSM maths teacher making the most beautiful mini-Rounders bats as awards.
- Explaining to parents that Rounders has changed since they were at school…!
- The totally inclusive nature of the game.
- Those smiles!
Head of Girls’ Games