School sports: TSB supports football programme

Former Scotland schools international Kenny Miller helps to launch the TSB Sponsorship. Picture: SNS
Former Scotland schools international Kenny Miller helps to launch the TSB Sponsorship. Picture: SNS
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TSB has announced a partnership with the Scottish Schools’ Football Association, in which the bank will support all levels of the school game in Scotland.

Under the agreement, TSB will provide comprehensive support of the inter-schools’ and inter-association football programme as well as the Under-15 girls’ and Under-18 boys’ international squads.

This means over 26,000 school children will participate in a TSB supported programme during the 2013-14 season.

TSB is committed to providing tangible support to the Scottish Schools’ FA and its member schools through the partnership and will implement a comprehensive campaign of support – from funded team travel to provision of kit for schools – aimed at easing the strain that can be placed on household budgets and fuelling school football across the country.

Kenny Miller, a former Scotland schoolboy international who played in the 1996 Under-16 squad, gave his backing to the announcement which was made at Bishopbriggs Academy, near Glasgow.

The Academy is a committed supporter of schools football and reigning champions of the coveted U18 Senior Shield.

“Schools football played a big part in my development as a young player and a person,” said Miller, who made 69 appearances for Scotland before his recent retirement from the international scene.

“I still treasure the memories I have of playing with my primary and secondary school teams, not least to mention representing Scotland at Under-16 level. It’s fantastic that TSB is committed to supporting the schools game in Scotland, which makes a huge difference to the lives of thousands of youngsters all over the country.”

Skiing: Ski success a family affair

It has been a proud month for one of Scotland’s most famous skiing families. Hans Kuwall received a treasured award for his services to the sport – and his grandson Duncan has been named as one of 20 in the Scottish team for the World Schools’ Championships in Sierra Nevada in Spain from 24-29 March.

Funding for top young Scottish skiers is helped by the Scottish Snowball, an annual dinner dance which was held earlier this month at the Coylumbridge Hilton in Rothiemurcus.

This year, the White Award for outstanding contribution to Scottish ski racing went to the Austrian-born Hans Kuwall. Now 80, he has lived, worked and fostered skiing development in the Cairngorms since 1956. During his early years, Hans then had a chance encounter with a wealthy accountant in London, Boyd Anderson, and this led to him becoming instrumental in developing skiing throughout Scotland. Within two years of their meeting, the pair had successfully opened the ground-breaking Edinburgh Hillend Ski Centre in 1964, Europe’s longest and steepest dry ski slope.

The plan was to have the slope available for school children and once it opened, they flocked to it. Hans set up training sessions for some of the more serious skiers and they were soon using it before and after school – he embarked on his vision of providing programmes for the more talented and committed athletes and before long he was producing champions.

Those who have worked with Hans include Olympians Stuart MacDonald, the Blyths, Kirsten Cairns, David Mercer, Emma Carrick-Anderson, the Becks, the Langmuirs, Stuart Fitzimmons, Finlay Mickel, the Bell brothers and last year’s White Award winner Alain Baxter.

Fifty-eight years on since his arrival, Hans’ son, Tony, is one of the duty managers at Hillend while his grandson, Duncan, trains regularly on the slopes.

Duncan, from George Watson’s College, is included in the junior section for the World Schools, a list that also includes Iain Innes (Boroughmuir High School), who was joint winner of the British Overall Under-16 Championship last year.

He shared the title with Hermitage Academy’s Euan Kick, who is in the senior category for the World Schools. Also representing the seniors are Strathallan twins, Christopher and Kirsty Guest.

Scottish teams for World School Championships

Senior Boys: Fraser Buchan (Strathallan), Christopher Guest (Strathallan), Liam McHugh (St Aloysius’ College), Euan Kick (Hermitage Academy), Scott Garvie (Strathallan).

Senior Girls: Kirsty Guest (Strathallan), Alison Todd (Dunblane HS), Keri Anderson (Mearns Castle HS), Ella Still (Robert Gordon’s College), Aleysha Rattray (Robert Gordon’s College).

Junior Boys: Zak Vinter (Mearns Castle HS), Iain Innes (Boroughmuir HS), Duncan Kuwall (George Watson’s College), David Christey (Bell Baxter HS), Fraser Middleton (Glasgow Academy).

Junior Girls: Amber Garvie (Strathallan), Alannah Lawrie (George Watson’s College), Rhona Price (Hermitage Academy). Eilidh Ryan (Queensferry HS), Ruby Still (Robert Gordon’s College).

Rugby: Glenalmond look to have edge over Morrison’s

While it is the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-18 and Under-16 Cup finals that will take centre stage this week, there are important matches taking place in the Plate competitions.

Today in Perthshire Glen-almond College take on Morrison’s Academy in the under-18 Plate to decide which team will play Royal High School in the quarter-finals, with both schools hoping that their third attempt at playing this match will be successful after two postponements.

Glenalmond will be slight favourites after several good results this season, notably their narrow win over Fettes in Edinburgh. Glenalmond, who have fixtures this term against Edinburgh Academy and Dollar still to play, reached the Midlands regional final with wins over Buckhaven HS and Waid Academy.

Morrison’s go into the regional final having won five out of their seven matches this season and with 12 players from the Crieff school’s Brewin Dolphin Bowl-winning squad last season.

Another Plate match this week will be the quarter-final between Kelvinside Academy and Queen Victoria School on Saturday at Balgray where the home side, semi-finalists last season in the Plate, will be favourites to progress to the last four.

In Inverness, Culloden Academy will be bidding for their first Plate semi-final when they take on Gordonstoun a week today, and a day later Hawick High face current Plate champions Marr College/Prestwick Academy, who beat Linlithgow Academy 34-0 with tries by Ry McInnes (2), Andy McPhillimy, Daniel Clark, Hamish McIntosh and Jack Helliwell.

Hawick reached the national stage by defeating Knox Academy in the Borders/East Lothian final at Netherdale in extreme cold and rain, the Borders school producing the more effective back play to win by 28-15 with two tries from outside centre Sean Chapman and one by winger Ryan Elliot, stand-off Grant Huggan adding three penalty goals and a conversion. For Knox Academy, centre Paul McClung and No 8 Conor Munro scored tries, McClung also succeeding with a penalty and conversion.

In Edinburgh, Watson’s rested their cup team ahead of tomorrow’s Murrayfield showpiece against Dundee High School.

Elsewhere, frost meant no possibility of games being played at Old and New Anniesland and at Lenzie Academy, where Carrick Academy were due to be the visitors.

Meanwhile in the Brewin Dolphin Under-18 Shield, Hutchesons’ Grammar play Loretto for a place in the semi-final against Robert Gordon’s College and Bell-Baxter High School are at home to Stewart’s-Melville College, the winners facing a home tie against St Aloysius College.

Basketball: Grove champions of Dundee again

For the second time in three years, Grove Academy claimed the Dundee Schools Senior Cup.

In the final match, Grove overcame holders Baldragon Academy, while Menzieshill Academy edged out St John’s and Morgan for third place in the round-robin format.

Dundee Active Schools has run the competition since 2011 for Senior 5/6 pupils with the support of John Anton, CashBack for Communities basketballscotland regional development officer for Tayside and Fife.

Gareth Dailly, Dundee Active Schools co-ordinator, commented: “From an organiser’s point of view, the main highlights were that seven girls were involved on the evening, with two on the winning team. Also, the fight for third place was very exciting. The battle of the ‘big guns’ of Grove v Baldragon was a cracking contest.”

Grove player Chris Thomson added: “Our team was made up of boys and girls from different ages and although we hadn’t trained together as much as we would have liked, we played well as a team.

“The highlight was winning the trophy in the last game. It was going to be our hardest game as both teams were unbeaten. We played really well and won by three points.”

Volleyball: Kyle and Marr take festival honours

Despite the onset of winter, schools from Ayrshire to Aberdeen turned up full of enthusiasm for the Grangemouth Volleyball Festival.

The morning pools provided some good competition as the players worked hard at controlling the three-touch game. The level of play in the afternoon was highly impressive, with lots of games decided by the last point on the buzzer.

In the boys’ pools, Kyle Academy’s teams were run extremely close by Marr College and by Belmont College. But Kyle Academy went home as Senior 2/3 national festival champions.

The girls’ pools were equally close: Aberdeen Grammar School, Kyle Academy and Belmont Academy all performed well but it was Marr College who took the title.

The coveted Spirit of the Tournament awards went to Ethan Dear (Woodfarm High School) and Natalie Smith (Marr College).

A great amount of thanks are due to Martyn Johnstone for running such a smooth and encouraging festival and the teachers who introduce more and more players to the game.

The next festival is the Aberdeen Primary 7/Senior 1 tournament on 20 January.

Badminton: Five-hour trip worth it for Wester Ross’s Robbie

The Scottish Open Grand Prix has always been used as a platform to boost badminton in Scottish schools – and this year’s Carnivals at The Emirates Arena in Glasgow certainly helped motivate one wee lad from the wilds of Wester Ross.

Robbie James is one of only 12 pupils at Kinlochewe Primary, but the nine-year-old and several of his schoolmates have teamed up with Shieldaig Primary School (also with a dozen pupils) for regular sessions at courts in Torridon.

Robbie’s mum, Jenny, and Lisa O’Brien are the two coaches, and two primary seven pupils, Shieldaig’s Nadia Fenton and Kinlochewe’s Emma MacDonald, have become good enough to compete in Highland Schools’ events.

Over 4,000 school pupils from all over Scotland took part in the Carnivals led by badmintonscotland’s coach and development officer, John Shearer.

Robbie finished in the prize list for the skills tests, making the five-hour journey even more worthwhile.

“It’s been really nice for Robbie to come to Glasgow,” said Jenny, who played badminton at club level in London. “Because we are very isolated it has been so valuable to see what is happening in other parts of the country.”

“I have really enjoyed practising with the other children,” said primary six youngster Robbie. “I’m not too keen on football but I try and play badminton every day.”

Shearer is now set to spread the word in schools around the world. In January, he takes up a post with the Badminton World Federation based in Malaysia.