What a weekend!
Ok so before we get down to the details firstly let me thank everyone for their kind emails about my arthritis
My doctor has given me some tablets which seem to be starting to do the trick - long may that continue
The four children in my house (and I include the 48 year old male in that grouping deliberately) have eased off slightly on the squabbling - again long may that continue
And finally I've broken up for two weeks for the Easter break so the work pressure's off me at least for a little while.
I'm not in sewing mode yet - can't seem to find something to inspire me - although I have lots of things I could be getting on with but just don't feel like it
So I'm pottering - giving the house a once-over as it feels like it's not been touched for months and I might fit in a little freezer stocking these holidays too
So back to the weekend
Sarah had been selected to represent the South West Colleges squad along with four more girls from Taunton plus others from several Sixth Form Colleges in the south west of England.
So she set off on Friday morning on one of a fleet of minibuses carrying students from her college who would play a variety of sports from cross country, through basketball, hockey, trampolining and tennis to swimming, badminton and rugby to name just a few.
All in all, over 2000 kids between 16 and 19 years of age took part in what is essentially the 'Olympic Games' for 6th Form Colleges in the UK
We followed later in the day once Nigel had finished work and we'd broken up from school for Easter
The kids all participated in a grand opening ceremony on the Friday evening and then the sporting events got down to business on the Saturday
Despite Loughborough Uni being a huge campus quite a few of the events had to take place off site and the mens' and ladies' rugby took place at Welbeck College, a military 6th form college just south of the town.
As one would expect from a military establishment the pitches were immaculate - like a bowling green and a real pleasure and privilege to play on - although I have to say that as our taxes were paying for the facility it was nice to get something back from the government for once.
The girls had five games through the day and the medal positions were decided on a 'number of wins' basis with points difference acting as the tie-breaker if necessary
Although the championships had previously been made up of just English regions, lately a Welsh and a Scottish squad have participated and as you would expect the Welsh ladies rugby team (essentially a national side) was a force to be reckoned with.
Much to her delight and to our pride Sarah was selected to be captain
Our girls only lost one of their games, against the Welsh side, and drew another against a strong East region side from SEEVIC college in Essex
This meant that our girls' last game, which also happened to be the final game of the day, was a nail biting decider.
The Welsh team had been unbeaten throughout the day so were guaranteed the gold medal but we went into that final game against West Midlands on the basis that a win would give our girls the silver medal but a losing outcome would put them in fourth place.
The 12 minutes each half playing a fast paced tens game (ten players on each side) seemed like an eternity as every time we scored a try the opposition answered with one of theirs. Fortunately all our tries were grounded under the posts which made the conversion kicks almost a formality, whereas the opposition tries were kept out in the corners and they didn't manage to convert any of theirs.
When they went one try ahead of us, with still 5 minutes to go, the score board almost levelled at 21-20 to us and our hearts were in our mouths as our girls defended as if their lives depended on it for the final phases of play
I don't honestly know what was strongest when the final whistle blew - the relief in the hearts of the spectators or the joy in the hearts of the players
The five girls from our rugby club (with Sarah far left) striking that ever-familiar 'Where's the beach' pose
A wonderful experience all round.
Now onto her first match for the England Colleges squad on Wednesday 15th April playing on the first pitch at the Exeter Chiefs ground at Sandy Park, Exeter - bring it on!!!