Athletics is taught during PE lessons with training facilities available throughout games afternoons and into the evening for athletes who want to take their competition to the next level.
The Welsh Schools Athletics season starts early and thus our event specific training starts during the Spring term. The competition pathway consists of regional local and regional qualifiers, with successful athletes travelling to compete in the Welsh Schools Finals which take place in Cardiff every July.
Our pupils qualify for this on an annual basis and perform well against the country’s best opposition. We also compete in the IAPS schools events in England where we have also had numerous athletes reach the national finals which take place in Birmingham every July.
However, the highlight of the athletics season is Sports Day, where all pupils compete for a plethora of cups and trophies, many of which have an incredible history attached. Pupils compete for their school houses, and school records are up for grabs in each event.
The Victor and Victrix Ludorum awards are the ultimate achievement for any sportsman or woman and these are awarded at junior, intermediate and senior levels but the historic Rydal Mile race is always hotly contested with many pupils trying to topple Roger Harrison-Jones’ 1955 record of 4m 26secs.
Cross-country running takes place in the Autumn term with the highlight of the school year being the school Inter-House Cross Country Run.
This is a whole school event run over a challenging course of mixed terrain with beautiful views over the sea.
Every year we have a strong representation in the regional team who progress to gain medals at North West Wales before competing in the National Schools Cross Country Championships. Our Cross Country programme supports our triathlon programme with many of our triathletes competing in their off season.
Badminton is taught in PE lessons and is a tremendous sport to develop hand-eye coordination, throwing skills, agility and tactics.
Our Badminton teams compete in local evening leagues where fixtures take place on a weekly basis, sometimes twice per week, through the Autumn and Spring terms.
The teams consist of a combination of pupils, staff from the school and Old Rydalians and the opposition is provided by local badminton clubs who are also of mixed age.
We host a number of friendly fixtures throughout the year against local teams. Training sessions take place on a weekly basis in the evenings and there is also social badminton club as part of our extra- curricular provision.
In both, the players get the chance to develop their skills in preparation for competitive matches.
Our heated sports hall provides an excellent venue for badminton and we regularly have players who play regional level badminton.
Squash is provided as an option during co-curricular sessions and takes place in our dedicated squash facility.
While the sport is only played at a social level matches are still fiercely contested, often in preparation for inter-house and inter-boarding house competitions.
Many pupils who chose to specialise in other sports use it as a method of developing their base fitness levels as well as their agility.
Pupils often choose to play in their free time and those in the Sixth Form can have access to the courts during the day should they chose to play.
As one might expect many pupils are novice to squash but we have a number of experienced staff who assist pupils in developing the skills required.
Squash sessions are always very well supported, with a large number attending the sessions from all age groups.
Rydal Penrhos has an enviable history in cricket, with OR Wilf Wooller claimed as being one of the best all-rounder sportsmen Wales has ever produced. Our facilities are excellent, with the New Field square and pavilion being amongst the best in Wales.
The school’s cricket pitch was used as the venue for a first-class match between Wales and South Africa in 1929, and more recently the ground is regularly used as the home venue for Wales’ underage fixtures against Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. The pavilion on the New Field site provides a fantastic venue to enjoy an afternoon of cricket in the summer months
The school boasts three pitches in total, and four bays of indoor nets and because of this we are often used as a base for the North Wales regional squads. While Rydal Penrhos is small in size, the school frequently punches well above its weight on the cricket pitch. The fixture list includes independent schools across the North West and West Midlands, with teams playing on a Saturday morning throughout the Summer term.
Cricket is taught in PE and Games sessions to both boys and girls with winter nets taking place throughout the offseason, and we regularly produce cricketers who feature in Wales underage teams. Girls’ cricket is developing, and they regularly feature in the school’s cricket sides as we work towards fielding girls only cricket teams.
The highlights of the cricket season include the annual match against the MCC whom we have played annually since 1924, and the Rydal Dolphins Cricket Week, held in the penultimate week of term, where our Old Boys’ team play five games in as many days, including a match versus our current 1st XI. The school also plays in an annual 1st XI cricket festival with three days of action packed cricket against Bolton School, Ratcliffe College and Silcoates School. The position of 1st XI captain is one of significant responsibility and is considered a great honour.
The school has very strong links with Colwyn Bay and Mochdre Cricket Clubs amongst others with many players continuing their playing at both during the summer once they complete their studies at Rydal Penrhos. In 2016 the school strengthened their links with Glamorgan Cricket and the MCC through the inclusion of a MCC Foundation hub which is based at the school. The hub runs at U13 and U15 age groups and is aimed at providing a consistently high training environment for pupils in local state schools.
Dance forms part of our co-curricular programme and usually coincides with school drama productions and musicals.
A number of staff at the school have strong backgrounds in tap, modern and ballet and session content varies depending on the interests of the group and what they are working towards.
Our purpose-built dance studio is the ideal location for pupils to refine their skills and this is freely available for small group work in preparation for house performances and external examinations.
Fives (also known as Eton Fives) is a hand-ball game that originated in Eton College in 1877, where A.C. Ainger and his friends devised a simple set of rules whilst hitting a hard ball against the wall of the Eton College chapel. The courts on which it is now played around the world are exact replicas of the one at Eton.
There is a long history of Fives at Rydal Penrhos School. The first courts were built at the school in 1935 and two further courts added after the war, when the school enjoyed a long and successful schedule of fixtures throughout the year.
Today, Fives is still going strong in the school and it forms part of both PE, Games and co-curricular provision. Pupils also practise in their lunchtimes, and any time they get five minutes during the day! The school hosts the Welsh Open Fives and fields both male and female pairs in competitions at Harrow, Eton and Shrewsbury Schools to name but a few on a regular basis, with a host of silverware to show for our efforts.
Although the Rugby Football is the more common variety played at Rydal Penrhos, pupils also partake in a number of football fixtures through the Spring term.
These will include other independent schools across Cheshire, Lancashire and Shropshire with all fixtures taking place on Saturdays.
We also take part in some one-day competitions such as the Liverpool College 8 a side which is keenly contested by other similar schools. Training takes place on a weekly basis in preparation for these games on our floodlit astro turf.
There is a competitive inter-boarding house competition where pupils of all ages get to compete for some silverware.
Hockey is the main sport for girls in the Autumn term and they have built up a good reputation, with an impressive fixtures list and enviable results. The school’s astro turf pitch takes centre stage on the main school campus, with viewing areas for spectators.
Teams are fielded at all age groups and fixtures are played on Saturdays, with occasional midweek fixtures against other independent schools across the North West and West Midlands. Within Wales the girls have achieved huge success over the years, both reaching and winning national finals on regular basis. The school also has a strong representation in regional hockey squads and national teams at U16 and U18 levels.
Boys’ hockey is the main sport during the Spring term with teams also playing midweek and at weekends. Multiple teams in national finals are common place, with four squads featuring in 2017 with the u16s retaining back to back titles. Training sessions take place after school, and in games periods with 1:1 sessions on specific skills taking place during lunchtimes. Individually, players have achieved good success in regional and national squads with 3 players capped at U16 level in 2017.
Mixed hockey teams at U14 A, B and C levels compete in evening leagues against local club and school sides with great success. The school has strong links with Colwyn Bay Hockey Club who play their fixtures on the school site.
Girls play netball through the Spring term, with some preseason Wednesday matches and training taking place in the Autumn term. Block fixtures are played on Saturday mornings both indoor, in our heated sports hall, or outdoor on our New Field and Oak Drive sites where we have an additional three courts and match tea facilities.
The 1st VII captain is a much sought after position and is considered a significant responsibility to hold but within the squad she is supported by a number of talented individuals who usually gained representative honours featuring in North Wales regional squads or performance “hubs”.
Friendly matches take place on a weekly basis against other independent schools across Cheshire, Lancashire and Shropshire. In addition to this we also take part in regional and national competitions in pursuit of national success at senior level.
The school tours on a regular basis to which is always exciting and challenging for pupils. Head of Physical Education Nicky Head leads coaching across the school, assisted by other experienced games staff including Mrs Bakewell who is a lead coach in the welsh Netball Hubs. We have very good links with Welsh Netball and the school’s superb facilities are used by them for their national squad training camps.
One of our most successful graduates from the school has been Suzy Drane who has more than 75 caps for Wales and plays in the Super League for the Celtic Dragons.
Rydal Penrhos has a rich rugby history. The game has changed dramatically since the days of Wilf Wooller (Old Rydalian capped in rugby and cricket and considered the most talented Welsh sportsman ever) and Bleddyn Williams (former Welsh rugby captain and the last captain to lead the Welsh team to victory over the All Blacks) but the school continues to produce players of an international standard, with players progressing through regional squads to be selected for Wales U18s or U20s on an annual basis.
There are a number of Old Rydalians who are currently playing professional rugby across Europe and the role of 1st XV captain is one of the most prestigious within the school.
Fixture lists are busy throughout the Autumn term with fixtures every weekend, and occasional midweek ones too. These are played against the best independent and rugby-playing state schools across the North West and West Midlands. As we are affiliated to the Cheshire RFU, we compete in the Cheshire County and Natwest cup competitions. We also represent Wales in the prestigious Deutsche Bank Schools 6 Nations.
In the Spring term U18 and U16 teams continue their skill development on the 7s circuit playing midweek and weekend competitions across the north of England. The grand finale for each team is the National School 7s, and having twice been finalists in the U18 competition expectations are always high.
The school has well established links with the WRU regional side RGC 1404 and have played a significant role in their development from their infancy through to the present day. Many of our players feature in their U16 and U18 teams before graduating to their successful 1st XV who play in the Welsh Premiership. We have consistently produced Welsh U18 and U20 international players since the link was forged in 2011.
As a Cheshire affiliated school we also have players who have progressed through the RFU player pathway to play for Cheshire and Sale Sharks. Our provision is aligned with, and complements, the pathways of each academy. Players are offered all the support expected to assist them in pursuit of a rugby career whilst receiving an outstanding education. This includes S&C support, where appropriate and in addition to that which they receive from their respective academies, from our highly qualified S&C team.
For those who are not part of academies we also offer additional S&C support as part of our provision in our Performance Centre. Our dedicated strength and conditioning staff oversee the athletic development and pre-habilitation work of our players, working on strengthening players’ functional movement.
The exceptional level of rugby provided at the school is overseen by dedicated and well-qualified staff, many of whom have international playing and coaching experience in 15- and 7-aside formats. We also have a full-sports therapists to assist players’ recovery who has worked on the Glasgow Commonwealth and London Olympic games.
Scholars are offered all the support expected to assist them in pursuit of a rugby career whilst receiving an outstanding education.
At Rydal Penrhos we are fortunate to be within an hour’s drive of 3 artificial ski slopes and the snow of the Manchester Chill Factore is just a little further away.
As a result skiing has been a significant part of the school’s co-curricular programme for a number of years. Ski racers train in preparation for competitions there are annual skiing excursions to the Alps, Dolomites and America.
Ski racing in Wales is organised by Snowsport Wales, the National Governing Body, and the race cycle starts with the North Wales Championships in September at Plas y Brenin, Snowdonia. Our skiers dominate this competition and progress to the Welsh Championships on the West Wales coast at Llangranog.
Again, many of our teams achieve great success and the finish positions in this competition will qualify for the British Championships which are held in Pontypool in November. Pupils progress from here into Welsh and British squads who train in the Alps during the winter months.
Our skiers are supported in the off-season by our athletic development programme which assists them in achieving their training goals.
The school has a strong tennis tradition, and our teams are regularly crowned North Wales Champions. Tennis is taught to boys and girls in PE and Games and is part of our extra curricular programme.
The school’s biggest success on the tennis court is Ellie Scarff who was crowned Welsh U16 and U18 Champion as a Year 11 student in 2015. Ellie has successfully made the transition into a full-time place at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy on the girls’/women’s pro team in Nice, France, and is pushing to become a top-80 ranked GB player.
Tennis takes place in different forms throughout the school year. Training continues for seniors all year round using our own courts and the local indoor tennis centre in Colwyn Bay. Players involved in these sessions compete in the Aegon Winter competition where they play teams from across the North West.
Girls’ tennis fixtures take place on Saturday mornings throughout the Summer term against independent schools across the North West. Our boys’ teams compete mid-week in regional qualifiers to progress through to national finals.
Our Triathlon programmes started in 2016 and has grown from strength to strength since.
Our geographical location, coupled with our impressive sports facilities and athletic development support provide an outstanding environment for athletes to progress.
The programme is spearheaded by Mr Sanders who has a wealth of triathlon experience and pupils receive specific bike turbo sessions and swimming sessions each week.
Pupils’ training programmes are also supplemented through our cross country, swimming and athletics programmes to ensure pupils are suitably challenged in each discipline across the three terms.
We have very good links with the local GOG Tri Club where a number of our pupils will further supplement their training.
Competitions take place across the North West and include aquathons and duathlons also. Events include The Cheshire Sprint Triathlon, Cheshire Duathon, Denbigh Junior Triathlon, Sandman and Slateman Triathlons.
Athletes will also compete in a number of events specific to the individual including the Conwy Park Run at the Conwy RSPB.