The main boys’ sports are Rugby, Hockey and Cricket, whilst girls can expect Hockey, Netball and Cricket.
Athletics continues to be a strong and integral part of the summer games programme. We are fortunate at Denstone to have an outdoor track and over 100 acres of land that can be utilised by the various athletics clubs we have at school.
Athletics is offered across all ages of the school both in curriculum PE and as an activities option. The Cross Country Club, led by Mr Lightfoot, is held every Tuesday during activities and gives pupils the perfect opportunity to explore our extensive grounds. The Cross Country season culminates in the English Schools Cross Country in March following a qualifying race at the Staffordshire Moorland Championships in February where we will have a number of pupils participating. In the past we have had numerous athletes compete and had many successes in these events. In addition we enter pupils for the Staffordshire Moorlands Track and Field Championships which act as a qualifier for the English Schools Track and Field Championships. School Cross Country takes place in the Lent term. It is split into an elite race and mass participation race where the whole school gets involved to compete for house points. At Denstone, we offer a triathlon club for all of First Form and also as an activities option for the rest of school. We are fortunate to have an ex-GB triathlete who provides top quality coaching throughout the school. We are excited to be hosting the first ever Independent Schools Triathlon offering participation to all ages and schools. Athletics concludes in the Summer term with Sports Day which is a really fun and highly competitive day with lots of house points up for grabs. This is an event that sees pupils, parents and staff join together as one Denstone community. The highlight of this day is the Paarlauf, an event that sees all Houses nominating a pair from each age group that work as a team to complete a certain distance the quickest. Denstone as a school is always striving for excellence and to develop pupil opportunities. In the future we are looking to enter both the English Schools Cross Country Cup and the English Schools Track and Field Cup to increase participation and the number of fixtures on offer for pupils who wish to have more competitions.
As well as running as a sporting choice for Middles and Seniors, climbing is successfully running as an open activity for students and as part of the Junior School activity carousel. Climbing not only offers physical challenge and learning of new skills, but also develops trust in each other, teamwork, physical co-ordination, 3d perception, communication; all of which help to develop our Denstonians.
Denstone has enjoyed a sustained period of success that has been supported by a philosophy of guided choice and late specialisation whilst fostering the psychological characteristics of developing excellence. Denstonians are participators not spectators and we would be delighted to further share our vision for sport.
Cricket is the major sport in the Summer Term. Denstone field 11 sides at all levels and age groups and the College has a magnificent 1st XI pitch and pavilion that is the envy of many. Cricket at Denstone continues to be very strong. The cricket club is open to boys and girls in all years at the College and is capable of running eleven teams on a Saturday, and plays all the leading cricketing schools in the area. The Denstone 1st XI cricket pitch is positioned in the centre of the school and right beside the Chapel, which has helped to maintain the popularity and success of the game at Denstone.
The cricket programme aims to offer performance alongside enjoyment. To this end, all teams have their own dedicated coach who works with the boys and girls throughout the summer. All of the ‘A’ teams play against local county sides, often performing well. The U14 team regularly wins the Schools’ Cup and thereby at U15 level competes in the Lord's Taverners trophy. The College has reached the final of this most prestigious of national competitions and the semi-finals of the national schools' T20 competition. Several pupils have achieved County representation at their age group level (on average about four players in each age group) and many boys go on to play at a high standard of cricket after school. Denstone has produced numerous first class cricketers; most recently Alex Thomson, Greg Cork and Harvey Hosein (all Derbyshire) and Aneesh Kapil (Surrey). Girls’ cricket has also begun to thrive and we will continue to field teams at all age groups.
Denstone College has its own 9-hole golf course which is registered and recognised by both the Staffordshire and English Golf Unions. Pupils can play golf as a main sport in all three terms and can join the Denstone College Golf Club if they wish to obtain a CONGU handicap and play in the regular club competitions.
The school team competes in the Independent Schools Match play Competition and the HMC Foursomes competition and have reach the national finals on a number of occasions. Denstone students have represented Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire in junior county competitions and the Denstone course has been used for Staffordshire junior coaching days.
The College has made use of PGA coaches in the past and is looking to reintroduce professional coaching again for students who wish to either take up the game or to further develop their skills.
The College aims to deliver an exciting, dynamic and progressive hockey program for all of our pupils. Our facilities at the College provide the opportunity for all year round training for both boys’ and girls’ in all years. A dedicated team of coaches helps the pupils to play hockey to a level that matches their aspirations throughout their time of education.
Denstone has an impressive record of success in both girls’ and boys’ hockey. All teams have a competitive fixture list, as well as competing in England Hockey and Independent Schools National Competitions. This provides Denstone pupils with the opportunity to compete with the best schools in the country. Competition within teams is encouraged by all members of staff to ensure that each athlete continues to develop during his or her time at the College. Places in teams are fiercely contested, and we continue to drive forward, challenging an ever-increasing number of prestigious opponents.
The College has for many years provided players for county, regional and national squads. Currently, there are pupils who have reached varying levels of the England Hockey Player Pathway, with representation at County, Midlands, Futures Cup and England National Age Groups. Alongside this, many pupils represent their clubs, with a number of pupils playing National League hockey. Individual player development is of paramount importance to our hockey program with pupils encouraged to play all year round.
The holistic development of each pupil as an individual and as part of a team is a key aspect of the hockey programme at Denstone. Athletes will receive individual support through the provision of specific strength and conditioning coaching directed towards their athletic development.
Lacrosse is a new sport to Denstone and is open to girls from Third Form to Upper Sixth. Girls are able to represent the College in the 1st or U15 XIIs against schools in the Midlands and North of England and in tournaments such as the National Schools’ Championships at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford. Some girls are working towards county representation and also towards playing in the North of England Women’s Lacrosse League through our links with a local club. Lacrosse is a growing sport with excellent opportunities at university level and beyond.
Netball is flourishing at Denstone. It is the main sport for girls in the Lent Term, whilst also being offered as a games option in the Michaelmas Term. Opportunities are available to attend pre-season training days in order to fully prepare for the season.
We have the capacity to field seventeen netball teams across the age ranges, resulting in competitive Wednesday and Saturday fixture opportunities for all girls. Each team has their own designated coach available to work closely with them on a regular basis. The College boasts 6 newly surfaced courts enabling matches to take place in all weathers. The majority of fixtures take place in the Lent Term, although we also do secure a number of fixtures in the Michaelmas Term. The fixture list is competitive and inclusive with the majority of girls having the opportunity to represent the school. We compete in county and school tournaments wherever possible, with the aim to enter the National Schools competition in 2017. The annual inter-house competition is always a strong contest, whilst the weekly staff versus students’ fixtures highlights the element of fun in netball.
In addition to the netball-specific training, the girls have the opportunity to access top level Strength and Conditioning sessions designed by England Netball to enhance their overall performance. We have strong links with both Staffordshire and Derbyshire County Netball and therefore encourage the girls to attend trials with the chance to further improve their skills by training with the satellite/academy squads. As a result, we have increasing numbers that represent external clubs and county teams. Tours prove popular when the teams travelling play a number of fixtures against local sides, showcasing their talent whilst enjoying the fantastic experience.
Harriet Gill (Director of Netball) - Netball has always been a passion of mine, playing since the age of 5. I grew up playing for Oldham NC, one of the most prestigious clubs in the North West. I was fortunate enough to win the National Championship title at both club and school level, which has certainly led to my dream of coaching a Denstone College netball team to National Champions. At university, I played for Loughborough’s first team and in my final year, I balanced studying with playing in the Netball Superleague for Loughborough Lightning. My coach, Karen Atkinson, the second highest-capped England player, inspired me greatly and taught me a huge amount about coaching netball. It was Karen who encouraged me to take up a coaching role at Uppingham School and following this, a graduate coaching assistant role at Denstone College. I am thoroughly enjoying the Director of Netball role here and am investing lots of time and effort into increasing the profile of netball at the College, increasing the standard as well as developing links with pathways through Wasps and Staffordshire County netball.
Rugby at Denstone continues to go from strength to strength. The Rugby Club is open to all boys in all years at the College and runs 12 teams on a Saturday, whilst playing some of the leading Rugby schools in the Country. The Denstone 1st XV Rugby Pitch is located on Adamson’s field and is complimented by the Adamson’s Pavilion, a superb facility for the hosting of opposition parents, players and staff.
The two key aims are for boys to enjoy their rugby and be the best that they can be. To this end all teams have their own dedicated coach and in some instances two who work with the boys throughout the Michaelmas Term. The Under 15 A team regularly excels in the Natwest schools cup competition. The Denstone 1st XV enters the prestigious St.Joseph’s Ipswich Festival each year. There are many players from Under 14 upwards involved in the Leicester Tigers Developing Player Pathway, with several Sixth Form boys earning 16-18 Academy contracts with the Tigers. 1st XV members represented England Under 18s on several occasions, with boys regularly obtaining senior academy contracts at Leicester Tigers. Away from the professional game, many Old Denstonians continue to play at a high level within the senior and university game.
Rugby at Denstone continues into the Lent term, with the under 14 under 16 and U18 sevens teams all competing in some of the toughest tournaments in the country including the national Festival at Rosslyn Park at all of these age groups.
Tennis is a popular option with boys and girls and is available throughout the age groups as part of the sporting offer. Fixtures are arranged with other schools and within the Derby League.