Cheltenham College Sports
With a full calendar of fixtures each year and teams of all abilities, everyone at College has the opportunity to participate and succeed in sport. Those pupils that wish to reach the highest levels in their chosen sport are supported through the Talented Athlete Programme.
Everyone benefits from our extensive sports facilities and the coaching and support of the College Sports Professionals. They include former and current international players and coaches as well as Olympians. The Sports Professionals work with pupils throughout both The Prep and College, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from their experience and expertise.
Please click on the icons below for more information on each sport at College.
Full results and fixtures for our College sports can be found here
Badminton is a very popular sport at College and is completely co-educational with boys and girls training and playing together. The sport is open to students of all abilities and College has traditionally fielded two teams for both boys and girls. Fixtures and competitions are arranged against schools from across the country and College has enjoyed much success in recent years.
The College Sports Centre hosts eight badminton courts and sessions are run by Badminton Coach, Sol Griffiths. Players that wish to develop their game to the highest levels are offered additional coaching and the chance to play competitions for Gloucestershire County Badminton.Sports Fixtures
Cricket has been played at College ever since its foundation in 1841. Today, the cricket club fields ten boys teams and two girls teams competing in fixtures against other cricketing schools. The College XI plays in the John Harvey Cup against Radley College, St Edward’s Oxford, Marlborough, Bradfield and Winchester College. The XI play a two day fixture against Haileybury and an annual fixture against the MCC. The girls’ programme continues to grow as more and more girls join us having played Cricket at their previous schools and at club level.
All players benefit from year-round coaching from College’s Cricket Professional Mark Briers (formerly a professional player at Worcestershire CCC and Durham CCC), Jamie Diamond (Gloucestershire CCC U18 and Senior Womens’ Coach) and Rob Horn (Worcestershire CCC age group coach). We are also very fortunate to be assisted by a number of dedicated sports coaches and members of the College teaching staff.
Cricketers at College have the opportunity to play their matches on our fantastic cricket squares, with the 1st XI square renowned as one of the finest cricket pitches in the country. We have also played host to The Cheltenham Cricket Festival every year since 1872, with Gloucestershire CCC playing host to other First Class Counties in both the four day format and T20 Cricket. No other cricket festival in the world has been played on the same ground for that length of time.
Cricketers at College can become part of the Talented Athlete Programme and access additional support through a winter training programme as well as bespoke S&C provision. TAP athletes are also partnered with a one-to-one mentor to develop specific skills within their sport.Sports Fixtures
Horse riding is a truly co-educational sport and College supports all riders to develop their skills and progress with their horses. We cater for competitors on their own horses in dressage, show jumping and eventing. Tuition is arranged with inspirational and flexible instructors, currently Jenna Jewitt for eventing and Jo Lees (British Dressage SW Youth Coach) for dressage.
College competes in the National Schools Equestrian Association competitions. We field teams in dressage, show jumping and eventing from 80cm to 1m10cm. National Championship Qualifications are numerous, as are successes in British Eventing, British Dressage and British Show Jumping competitions. We regularly have riders on the College Talented Athlete Programme where they benefit from expert body conditioning as well as mental preparation techniques.
Our riders on horse back train off-campus at Rectory Farm, Wayfarers and Ampney Knowle, making use of their facilities including the brand new 40 x 60m all-weather arena. We also have British Eventing standard cross country courses within a short travelling distance.
Each pupil that chooses to partake in horse riding is coached in small groups or individually. Personal goal setting is encouraged and facilitated by staff. Everyone is given opportunities to learn, progress and then compete representing College.
Livery can be arranged on a personal basis, should pupils wish to bring their horses in the competition season.Sports Fixtures
Football is the newest sport at College, featuring friendly fixtures for the first time for both boys and girls during the 2017-18 season. We regularly field three boys’ teams and a girls’ team, making full use of our three full football pitches.
To ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to enjoy playing the game they love and to develop their skills we have partnered with the Cheltenham Town Football Club Academy. The Academy provides regular professional coaching sessions for all pupils that wish to play Football at College, including sessions for Lower College pupils on a Monday afternoon, which take place under lights on one of our newly re-laid AstroTurf pitches.Sports Fixtures
Golf has been part of sporting life at College for many years with pupils playing recreationally and competing in a range of national competitions during the year. College is located within the Cotswolds and so benefits from a range of high quality, beautiful and challenging courses in the local area. Our pupils practise and compete at Cotswold Hills Golf Club, a wonderful course with superb facilities.
The College Golf team competes annually in the HMC Foursomes competition, the ISGA Matchplay and the West of England Public School Championships. We also participate in a range of fixtures including matches against the Old Cheltonian Golfing Society, Radley, Uppingham and Marlborough schools.
In 2015, our 1st VI team reached the national final of the ISGA Matchplay competing at St Andrews against eight other schools. In 2018, they reached the semi-final of the West of England Championship.
For pupils that are looking to develop their game further, one-to-one lessons are available with the PGA Professional at Cotswold Hills Golf Club. We also make full use of the state-of-the-art video analysis suite at The Gloucester Golf Centre, especially during the winter months.Sports Fixtures
Hockey has a strong tradition at Cheltenham College. The first documented boys’ fixture was in 1907 against Marlborough. The first girls’ Hockey match was in 1985, with our first AstroTurf matches in 1987. Throughout this time College has produced Oxbridge blues, internationals and Olympians.
Hockey at College is a major sport for both girls and boys; played in the Autumn Term by girls and in the Spring Term by the boys. Players train three times a week as well as having fixtures on a Saturday.
We have 12 girls’ and boys’ teams across all ages. College teams compete in the Independent School Hockey League as part of their fixtures. We also regularly compete in national indoor competitions and national cup competitions. The girls’ U18 indoor team have been West Finals semi-finalists in 2016 and 2017, just missing out on the National Finals.
All pupils receive dedicated, specialist training from our experienced Hockey coaching staff that include Gwyn Williams our Director of Hockey, who is currently Assistant Coach for Wales Mens’ U21, Tim Lang our Assistant Director of Hockey who has over 15 years of experience in National League and school Hockey and our Director of Sport, former GB Hockey Olympian Ben Marsden.
College Hockey has a strong link with local clubs at National League level, with many pupils training and playing for these clubs outside of their school commitments.
Hockey players at College that are part of the Talented Athlete Programme (TAP) are provided with two individually tailored Strength and Conditioning (S&C) sessions per week, focusing on all areas, from mobility to explosive power. Regular monitoring and performance testing allow their athletic development to be tracked.
TAP players are also partnered with a one-to-one mentor to develop specific skills within their sport including goalkeeping and drag flicking. This is usually a College sports professional from their chosen sport and makes use of video analysis of matches and training sessions.
Tilly Wood (CH ) Wales U16, U18
Flora Fletcher (A, 2021) England U16, U18
Ollie Walker (NH, 2021) England U18 DiSE programme
Jemima Rees (A, 2020) Wales U18
Emily Drysdale (W, 2019) Wales U18, U21 and Senior Squad
Brittany Sutton-Page (Q, 2018) England hockey’s ASSE programme and England team member at School Games 2017
James Palmer (BH, 2017) – Wales U18
Hattie Bevan (A, 2015) – Cambridge Blue Hockey 2017 and 2018, England team member at Schools Games 2015
Flora Peel (A, 2013) – England U16, U18
Laura Bevan (A, 2012) – England U18, U21, U23
Holly Chipman (W, 2010) – England U16, U18, U21 & GB U21
Georgia Rawlinson (Q, 2009) – England U16, U18
Rob Thompson (L, 1984) – GB Olympic Team, Barcelona 1992
Cheltenham Netball supports pupils of all ages, abilities and experience to participate, compete and enjoy Netball throughout their time at school. College has fourteen Netball teams in total, with six senior teams, four U15 teams and four U14 teams providing opportunities for pupils at College to compete against other schools across the country.
In Third Form and Fourth Form, Netball is played as a games choice throughout the Spring Term. Fifth Form and Upper College pupils can opt to play Netball during the Spring Term. Pupils can take part in Netball in the Autumn Term too as a club option. Optional masterclasses slots take place in the Autumn Term for all pupils. Scholars and exhibitioners are encouraged to attend these sessions regularly.
We have a highly qualified coaching team led by Samantha Cook who is UKCC Level 2, a former England International athlete, Superleague player, current Severn Stars assistant coach and is a qualified umpire. Sam is supported by specialist external coaches with years of experience within premier clubs.
Cheltenham College has a strong link with the Superleague franchise Severn Stars. This link provides our pupils with opportunities to watch and be coached by the senior players at our Netball Activity camps. We have had international superstar and Commonwealth Gold Medallist, Jodie Gibson at College coaching and sharing her experience of her playing at the highest level and to inspire the girls on their Netball journey.
Netball players at College that are part of the Talented Athlete Programme (TAP) are provided with two individually tailored Strength and Conditioning (S&C) sessions per week, focusing on all areas, from mobility to explosive power. We also undertake regular monitoring and performance tests to track their athletic development. The pupils are thoroughly supported along their journey at College through 1-2-1 coaching sessions, strength and conditioning, video analysis and mentorship support. Training sessions are based on skill, technical and tactical development whilst making sure that the pupils are developing and challenged within a fun, supportive environment.
College Netball tours overseas once every two years. Our most recent tour took 20 netball players to Dubai, where they experienced playing against some of the best schools in the UAE
Polo has been played at College for many years, with success in national championships and individual players progressing to represent Great Britain at an international level.
College usually fields two teams in key fixtures, the most prestigious of which are the Schools and Universities Polo Association’s (SUPA) National Arena and Field Championships. We also arrange and play in a number of friendly fixtures against other schools, in the arena during the Spring Term and on the field in the Summer Term.
We make use of the facilities at Longdole Polo Club, near Birdlip, for training sessions and home fixtures, where College players and teams are supported with instruction by professional, national-level coaches.
College teams have won the Schools and Universities Polo Association’s (SUPA) National Field Championships in 2015, 2018 and 2019; the SUPA Girls’ Schools National Arena Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the SUPA National Arena Championships in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019.
Jamie Le Hardy (Xt, 1992) – England international
James Beim (S, 1998) – England international, Captain (2014 onwards)
George Meyrick (H, 2005) – England international, (2003 onwards)
Ollie Cudmore (L, 2008) – England international
College was one of the four original Rackets playing schools back in 1868 and contested the very first Public Schools Competition that year (along with Eton, Harrow and Charterhouse). College has enjoyed much Rackets success since and has hosted the British Professionals’ Championship twice.
Across the age groups at College we have just under 100 players playing the game, with equal numbers of both boys and girls receiving coaching at least twice a week from our Rackets Professional Mark Briers and Assistant Rackets Professional, Rob Horn.
College pupils play in the national competitions at Queen’s Club twice a year, and our girls play in the British Ladies Open.
To help develop their game, all pupils have the opportunity to play against adult club players, either in fixtures against clubs like The Jesters or against visiting Old Cheltonians.
Whenever possible we are visited by the Rackets World Champion, an Old Cheltonian himself, for an exhibition match and coaching session.
A number of College pupils have gone on to play and compete amongst the very best players in the world and be involved in the Scholarship schemes run by a number of the major Rackets Clubs in the USA.
College won the National Girls’ Singles title in 2016 (Rose Jones Q, 2018), 2017 (India Deakin U6, W), 2018 (India Deakin U6, W) and the National Girls’ Doubles 2016 and 2017. Over the past 20 years, College pupils have won over 35 national competitions. The full list of achievements is proudly displayed on our Honours Boards in the Rackets Court.
The current World Champion is an Old Cheltonian (James Stout H, 2002); in the world of rackets we have had dozens of U24, British Amateur, US Open and US Amateur successes as well as at U21 and U24s.Sports Fixtures
The Boat Club and the sport of Rowing have been an integral part of College life since College was founded in 1841. Our recently refurbished College Boat House is based on the banks of the River Severn at the foot of Tewkesbury Abbey. In its rich competitive history, boys’ eights have featured in the top 10 nationally and regularly competed at Henley Royal Regatta. When girls joined the school, they too competed at the top school level.
The Boat Club currently has over 70 pupils taking part, with boys and girls across each year group recently representing College regionally or nationally across various boat classes. Some dedicated rowers are also entered into the junior GB trials process.
At College, sculling and sweep oar are offered for a small number in the Autumn Term, with the majority of the Boat Club joining in January after the boys’ Rugby and girls’ Hockey seasons are over.
The Director of Rowing with the experienced and skilled team of academic teachers and professional coaches, applies the principles of the British Rowing ‘perfect stroke’. Coaches strive for pupils to do the fundamentals to an outstanding level, so that they can switch boat classes and build a consistent technique through the years.
The Third Form scull in Eights, Fours and also in singles. The Fourth Form scull or sweep in crew boats, also with opportunities in singles. Seniors (Fifth Form and Sixth Form) aim for large sweep crew boats (eights and fours) but also spend time or even train to race in small boats, sculling (doubles and singles).
All rowers are given athletic development sessions in the performance gym by qualified strength and conditioning coaches. As well as being underpinned by the College ethos, integral to the values of the boat club are humility, work-rate and commitment. Pupils enjoy a warm, encouraging atmosphere with friendly supportive internal competition.
Captains and Heads of Boats are selected, who lead their peers and younger years, helping coaches guide their development. All rowers at Cheltenham College are made to feel that they are part of something unique and special. They leave well equipped with lifelong skills and could take their rowing further anywhere.
During the Autumn and Spring Terms, the club participates in Head Races, which are processional time trials. The Head season culminates in late March at the Schools’ Head of the River Race in London, raced on the famous Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race course.
Summer Term is regatta season which is side-by-side racing over 2km or less. The top key races in the calendar are the National Schools Regatta at the end of the first half term in May, Henley Women’s Regatta in mid-June and Henley Royal Regatta just after the end of term.Sports Fixtures
Cheltenham College played in one of the first ever inter-school rugby football match against Rugby School. Following the match, ‘Cheltenham Rules’ were adopted by the Rugby Football Union in 1887.
Rugby remains the main sport for boys at College during the Autumn Term. Girls Rugby is in its infancy with it currently being an activity in the summer term and with links to Gloucester/Hartpury. This dedication to Rugby for all throughout College and The Prep was recognised in 2018 with Cheltenham College winning the 2018 School of the Year at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards.
The Rugby fixture list continues to provide pupils with the opportunity to compete at the highest level, against some of the top independent Rugby schools in the country. During the XV season, we field 14 teams of all ages and abilities ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to play competitive Rugby. The Rugby Club has recently made various adaptions to the game in order to suit the every changing landscape and introduced ‘touch rugby’ for those who are less comfortable with contact. For the sevens season we field three teams and compete at various competitions including Rosslyn Park, Marches and the Shiplake Sevens.
It is a testament to the regard with which Rugby is held at College that a school with less than 400 boys can still compete with larger all-boys’ schools. College sides have a reputation for free-flowing and skilful Rugby that harks back to the original ideals of the sides in the late 1800s.
At the centre of Cheltenham College’s coaching philosophy are key fundamentals that we believe bring the best out of our pupils:
- Increase number of touches per player per session
- Endorse gameplay as much as possible
- Encourage leadership within the pupils
- Construct a challenging environment where pupils improve resilience
- Develop fundamental skills and techniques.
As a result of our endeavour to achieve these principles, each player will improve skills such as flair, hard work, commitment and teamwork which will enable them to become well-rounded individuals on the sports field and in the community.
How We Encourage Excellence
The Performance Gym has recently undergone a refurbishment and a new emphasis has been placed on Strength and Conditioning with Rugby squads having access throughout all three terms. This allows our Rugby athletes to be as physically prepared as possible for the demands of the game, avoiding injury and performing to the best of their ability. This provision is available for all, as well as more targeted sessions for our XV and other performance teams. Our elite athletes are also part of the Talented Athlete Programme (TAP), which nurtures and supports those competing at national level and beyond.
TAP players are partnered with a one-to-one mentor to develop specific skills within their game. This is usually a College sports professional from their chosen sport and makes use of video analysis of matches and training sessions.
The coaching staff within the Rugby Club are all ex-professionals and include our Director of Rugby and former Gloucester and England International, Olly Morgan, former professionals Nick Runciman (Gloucester and Worcester), Dan Murphy (Gloucester, London Irish and Harlequins), Lucas Slowik (Bristol and England U20) and Freddie Million (Apollo Perellini Academy).
Cheltenham College is an official partner of Gloucester Rugby. As a partner, the school currently has over 20 players involved with the U14, U15, U16 and U18 teams. An Old Cheltonian, Ollie Thorley (BH, 2015), is an England international and the youngest ever player to represent the Gloucester 1st XV and scored his first try at just 17 years old. Nick Abendanon (L, 2004) (former European Player of the Year) and Simon Danielli (H, 1998) have also gone on to gain full International caps for England and Scotland.
Cheltenham College has always had a strong affiliation with Gloucester Rugby and more recently the success of our programme and pathway has been highlighted in the continued success after school. Since 2017, Tom Stanton (N, 2018), Cameron Terry (N, 2018), Jack Clement (S, 2019), Charlie Tchen (Xt, 2019), Louis Hillman Cooper (S, 2020) and Sebastian Blake (BH, 2020) all gained professional contracts. More recently Cheltenham College was one of very few schools nationally to have two Old Cheltonians in the 2020 Senior England EPS squad in the form of Jack Clement (S, 2019) and Ollie Thorley (BH, 2015).
We are also proud to have Old Cheltonians continuing their success in the Championship as well as competing in the BUCS Super League at Universities around the country.
The 1st XV consistently has many pupils representing Gloucester U18s in the Academy League and Worcester Warriors, where we have a newly formed relationship.
Notable representation by current College pupils and OCs
Ollie Thorley (BH, 2015) – England U18/U20 World Cup Winner. Youngest ever try scorer for Gloucester 1st XV
Will Goodrick-Clarke (L, 2014) – London Irish
Cameron Terry (NH, 2018) – England Counties U18
Tom Stanton (H, 2018) – Senior Gloucester United appearance (whilst still at school)
James Davies (H, 2018) – Senior Gloucester United appearance (whilst still at school)
Jack Clement (S 2019) – Gloucester, England Rugby U18 and U20
Charlie Tchen (Xt, 2019) – Ealing Trailfinders
Nikita Prothero (Cl, 2019) - England U18 & Hartpury Gloucester Women’s Squad
Louis Hillman-Cooper (S, 2020) - England Rugby U18, Gloucester Rugby
Sebastian Blake (BH, 2020) – Gloucester Rugby
Tom McCormick (H, 2020) - Ealing Trailfinders
Rifle shooting has been a part of the tradition of College since its very earliest days. Clays has a much shorter heritage, having only been made an official sport in 2016, but it has been a part of College life since the mid-1990s.
Today, College has three clays teams and a single rifle team. They all benefit from the coaching of Tony Ayres, an NRA Target Rifle coach and Matt Venner, Lantra, BASC. Throughout the year, sessions are run both in our indoor metre .22 range and at external locations.
For those pupils that excel, we are able to support them to join the British Shooting Olympic Pathway with the goal of representing Britain in future Olympic games.Sports Fixtures
Squash is a well-established and popular sport at College and is played by boys and girls in both the Autumn and Spring Terms. Squash is based within the College Sports Centre, which contains six newly refurbished, heated squash courts with glass doors and a generous balcony. A professional Squash Coach is available in the Autumn and Spring Terms for College pupils of all abilities to develop their play.
We have a competitive fixture list with four boys’ teams and three girls’ teams competing in weekly fixtures. Each year we enter the England Squash National Schools competition as well as invitational tournaments. The 1st V competes in the prestigious Surrey Sports Park Invitational Tournament. The College boys’ 1st V have only lost twice in the past two seasons.
County standard players are supported with additional one-to-one coaching and time on court outside of the main Squash training sessions. College is also a part of the public Squash Club that plays at the Sports Centre and uses these fixtures to give pupils more competitive experience against a range of players.Sports Fixtures
Strength & Conditioning
The Strength and Conditioning department supports over 200 College athletes across a wide variety of sports. All pupils are provided with a high quality programme that supports their long term athletic development.
Strength and Conditioning sessions take place in our purpose-built Performance Gym and are led by Henry Davies, a UKSCA Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach currently working with GB Rowing and the Wales Hockey women’s squad. He is supported by Nick Runciman, an ex-professional rugby player (Gloucester and Worcester) and age group international.
The Strength and Conditioning department and the Talented Athlete Programme have supported all of our successful athletes during the past few years. You can read more about all of the individuals that have been supported in the ‘Representation’ sections in each of the individual sports’ sections.Sports Fixtures
Swimming at College follows a pathway through from early years in the Prep School, right through to the Upper Sixth in College, with early morning swims and regular games slots.
Internal and external galas are held both for The Prep and Senior College which cover all age groups across both parts of the school. Squads achieve regular success under the stewardship of Andy Osborne, (Level 3 ASA qualified coach) who provides regular teaching and coaching for all at the College Sports Centre Pool.
The swim programme is also supported by a Strength and Conditioning programme for those that require it and talented swimmers can gain access to the Talented Athlete Programme providing further support as required.
College swimming is proud of the increasing numbers of swimmers taking their ASA teaching qualifications which develops them as teachers and coaches of the future and is a direct qualification into the workplace.Sports Fixtures
Talented Athlete Programme (TAP)
A pathway for pupils to achieve their sporting potential.
TAP provides structured training and mentoring, as well as access to all the latest scientific and nutritional information, to the most talented 10-15 sporting girls and boys at College. It supports and nurtures our most able athletes to excel fully in their chosen sport, not just at College but at club, regional, national and international level.
What Do Our Pupils, Past And Present, Say About TAP?
“TAP has really benefitted me in having the ability to spend one on one time with a mentor and motivate myself towards the goals we set together. The access to strengthening and conditioning twice a week is extremely valuable, especially for me as rugby is my main sport. Since I started in TAP my strength and ability has significantly improved which is a credit to Mr Runciman and Mr Davies.”
England Rugby U18
“TAP has supported me on and off the pitch, balancing my school and sport schedule. I’ve gained underlying knowledge in injury management and the importance of communication and organisation. The two gym sessions along with the conditioning has embedded in my weekly programme with a specifically tailored programme for my needs. The constant support cannot be faulted and really makes a big difference in our day to day lives.”
England Hockey U18
“I was very fortunate to have been a part of TAP Elite during my time at College. The coaches offered invaluable training and nutritional support to aid my individual requirements, as well as helping me strike the optimum balance between my busy school and sporting life. I also loved the community that TAP created – being able to train alongside a select group of likeminded athletes from different sports is something I still miss now!”
Jamie Chadwick (OC)
Williams Formula 1 Development Driver
“I greatly benefited from TAP sessions as it allowed me to work on specific areas of weakness within my sports, which I couldn’t work on during our everyday sports sessions at school. TAP gives athletes the time to build on and improve weaknesses within their sports, either in the gym working on strength and conditioning or working to improve specific skills related to your main sport.”
Tom Stanton (OC)
Tennis is a major part of College life during the Summer Term with pupils able to make use of four hard courts and 16 AstroTurf courts. We have 5 boys’ teams and 14 girls’ teams regularly participating in fixtures throughout the year.
Tennis players at College all take part in training sessions with our pro-coach Chris Warner from nearby East Gloucestershire Tennis Club, alongside our highly skilled Sports Professional body. Throughout the year, there is the opportunity for girls and boys to improve their technique and match play during the winter programme, readying them for fixtures in the Summer Term.
College has a very competitive fixture list including the best schools in the area, and the pupils take great pride in representing the College in the Gloucester County Championships in all age groups. Additional support is provided to our tennis players through our Talented Athlete Programme for those players that want to take their game to the highest levels. TAP players are partnered with a one-to-one mentor to develop specific skills within their sport. This is usually a sports professional from their chosen sport and makes use of video analysis of matches and training sessions.
Recent College Tennis successes include our U18 girls winning the Gloucestershire Schools Girls’ Doubles titles in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
College has produced numerous Gloucestershire County Champions including current pupil Monty Graveney (U6, L) and the 2017 U14 champion, Richard Owen (L, 2011) who currently represents Gloucestershire men in county competitions.Sports Fixtures
Video Discover sports at College
When it comes to sport, Cheltonians regularly come out on top against much larger schools, and there is a huge variety of sports on offer
Talk Education, 2022