OPs vs College Sports Day 2017 Kicks Off The New Academic Year In Style

The 7th annual OPs vs College Sports Day (and 9th John Shinkwin Trophy Match) dawned clear, warm and sunny on Saturday 2 September. "If only we had had this weather for Princefest," was uttered countless times over the course of the action-packed day.

Building on the success of the sport at Princefest, for this year we wanted to introduce some new elements, namely an OPs vs Staff Football Match to kick off the day and an OPs vs OPs Rugby Match to round off the proceedings! Both these additions were deemed great successes, with OPs returning for the football who had not been involved previously and a wonderfully good humoured and entertaining OPs vs OPs match rounding off the day.

Music, a BBQ, the Travelling Pug Bar and an ice cream van added to the atmosphere.

As in previous years points were accumulated throughout the day, with the Alex Wallis Memorial Shield being awarded to the victors at the end of the day. This year it was a much closer run competition, with the College teams fresh from the South Africa Tour and pre-season training.

The OPs vs Staff Football, without Mike Taylor on the staff side due to injury, was a decisive 7 - 0 victory to the OPs. A fantastic first run out for this event.

The OPs won the hockey fixtures but the College boys especially gave them a run for their money.

The Girls Hockey was a close affair with only a few hardy OP hockey players able to return. However expertly managed by Emily Wood the OPs came out victorious 3-1.

The netball sides organised 2 very strong teams, we called them OPs and OAPs! Jodie Fisher Sophie Nicholls, Lottie Jones and Zoe Hyland steered their teams to victories against out 2nd VII but fresh from South Africa success Princethorpe 1st V11 beat the OPs and OAPs in two excellent games. Lots of fun was had and it was great to see how many OPs are still playing the game and are not injured!

Then on to the main event The John Shinkwin Trophy Match between the College's 1st XV and the OPs XV (leavers of 2017 and 2016) which saw the OPs put under huge pressure by the College post South Africa in the summer. A hugely enjoyable match for all who played and watched the experience and the OPs won 31 - 29

The younger OPs gamely entered into one last game against an enthusiastic OPs side who had been biding their time to play (with the odd pint to quench their thirsts)....

At the After Match Awards, Neil McCollin congratulated all on their efforts and crowned the OPs victors of the day.

OPs Chairman, Peter Rollason commented, " The OPs Sports Day continues to be one of the most important events in the OP calendar and I am so pleased to see it going from strength to strength, particularly with the addition of football. The highlight for me was playing second row to my son Robert in the OPs vs OPs Rugby and the lowlight was the realisation that I was oldest on the pitch(disregarding Mr McCollin the referee) by 30 years! On behalf of the OPs Association I would like to thank the College and its staff for giving up their time and for their hospitality which is much appreciated."

With thanks to all the participants, supporters, organisers and caterers for making the day such a lovely relaxed affair.

Photographs from the OPs Sports Day 2017