Sport

There is wide and varied range of sport on offer at Abingdon. Our philosophy is based on providing support to those who aspire to compete at the highest level, whilst offering opportunity and encouragement to those pupils who are simply wanting to enjoy their sport and physical activity.

The debate, which invariably ensues regarding compulsion versus choice, is an inevitable one. Sport at Abingdon is a compulsory part of the curriculum. We believe that during their time here, the majority of our pupils will find a physical activity, which not only challenges them, but also stimulates a lifelong interest. We do however operate an options system, which allows pupils to opt for the sport of their choice. Please refer to our Policy on Boys' Sporting Commitments for more detail.

The School is proud of its sporting history and of our aim to provide more opportunity to more pupils. A dedicated cohort of staff enthuses boys to achieve their individual potential and nurtures the wealth of talent. External coaches with specialist skills complement the team, offering additional support and expertise.

By browsing through the sections below, you can see the wealth of sporting opportunities available.

In addition to the term time sporting activities we also offer sports coaching camps during the school holidays.

Peter Bignell, Director of Sport and PE

  • Where: Tilsley Park and Lower Field
  • When: Lent term, various times, Summer term; Sports sessions
  • Who: All age groups
  • i/c: EPB

The aim of the Athletics Club is to produce excellent athletes, providing an opportunity for all those with an interest to learn and to develop new skills. The club achieves this through a structured programme of coaching by a committed staff team and through regular competition. 

Competition takes place in the summer term against a large number of schools, at a local, regional and national level. 

Coaching is provided in the full range of events; on the track: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and hurdles; and in the field: shot, javelin, discus, high jump, long jump and triple jump. 

Training takes place at Tilsley Park with superb athletic facilities including an eight lane, floodlit track with steeplechase, pole vault, high jump and long jump facilities, a brand new throws area for javelin, shot put and discus as well as a 300 seat covered grandstand.

  • Where: Sports Centre
  • When: Michaelmas and Lent terms; Sports sessions and after school
  • Who: All age groups
  • i/c: JFH

Middle and Upper School Badminton operates within the sports options programme. Both match players and learners are accepted, although often there is a trial because more boys opt than we have space for. Our record against other schools is enviable.

  • Where: Sports Hall
  • When: Monday 5pm, Thursday 4-5pm
  • Who: 3 – VI
  • i/c: PDBG

We are looking to build on our existing squad for the future so any aspiring Kobe Bryants or Michael Jordans are welcome. Spaces are limited to squad players only although if you are a keen basketball player and would like to trial for the squad do come along to practice. Any questions please contact PDBG.

  • Where: Boathouse, Wilsham Road
  • When: Michaelmas (by invitation only) Lent and Summer. Weekday sport sessions, some lunchtimes and Period 8s. Saturday mornings for year 5-VI, Saturday afternoons for 3rd and 4th years. Plus fixtures
  • Who: 3 – VI
  • i/c: MEE

The Boat Club has been in existence at Abingdon School for 186 years and goes from strength to strength. Boys can row from the 3rd to 5th year, in the Lent and Summer terms. Boys are expected to commit themselves for both terms since most of the regattas are in the summer. We have around 170 boys in the Club. Training takes place both in the school gym and at the Boathouse, on Wilsham Road - about a mile from the School. In the Lent term there would be 2/3 rowing sessions and 2 gym sessions per week. Boys are expected to participate on Saturdays.

We have a number of aims for the Club, at different levels. The 3rd year (J14) is an introductory year where we try to give everybody a fair chance to improve and to see if they like it. We compete in a number of ‘friendlies’ against other schools and later on in the year we compete at some regattas, including The National Schools Championships. The next few years through J15 and J16 are spent developing 1st and 2nd VIIIs, which will compete at external regattas and National Schools championships. The 1st VIII always competes at Henley Royal Regatta. The School also participates in the Junior International scheme and boys have represented Great Britain every year since 1992.

We try to accommodate all abilities and levels of commitment to foster enjoyment of a great team sport. We have an excellent new timber boathouse, initiated and driven by parental support. We hope to maintain, and build on, our reputation as one of the most successful school boat clubs in the UK. There is a very active parents/friends supporters club, FASBC.

Subs are currently charged per term, as follows: J14 - £35; J15 - £40; J16/Open - £45. In addition there is an annual £26 affiliation fee for British Rowing.

  • Where: Boathouse; River Thames, swimming pools and various locations
  • When: Various times, including Wednesday afternoons, Thursday 4-5pm (canoe polo) and some weekends
  • Who: I – VI
  • i/c: SEB

The Canoe Club aims to introduce boys to various paddlesports and currently allows them to specialise in whitewater kayaking, open canoeing and racing. Although most paddlesport sessions take place from the boathouse on the River Thames we also run sessions in the school swimming pool where we can develop key skills, such as rolling, or play canoe polo. We are affiliated to the British Canoe Union and boys can obtain various qualifications during training sessions.

Boys can also complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions at all levels in open canoes. In the past this has involved expeditions to various parts of the UK as well as overseas expeditions.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme – Canoeing Expeditions

  • Where: Various locations around the UK as well as occasional overseas expeditions
  • When: Various dates depending upon level of award
  • Who: Bronze (4th Year), Silver (5th Year), Gold (Lower Sixth)
  • i/c: MTJ

Boys can complete the expedition component of the award by Open Canoe. At each level the expedition increases in difficulty:

  • Bronze – 2 days (1 night) with 6 hours activity per day
  • Silver – 3 days (2 nights) with 7 hours activity per day
  • Gold – 4 days (3 nights) with 8 hours activity per day

Places are limited for Canoeing expeditions and boys are expected to commit to both a practice expedition and qualifying expedition.

Dates will be communicated to parents and boys.

  • Where: War Memorial Field, Upper Field and Cox’s Fields
  • When: During year group sport / matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Who: 1st XI, 2nd XI, 3rd XI, 4th XI, U16A-B, U15A-C, U14A-D, U13A-B, U12A-B
  • i/c: JMG
The Cricket Club continues to grow at Abingdon. We currently play block fixtures against Radley, St Edward’s, Berkhamsted, Bloxham, Haberdashers’ and Winchester College as well as entering local county tournaments. In 2010 we reached the last four in the National Schools 20/20 and also the quarter finals of the Lord’s Taverners trophy.
 
Our U15 side tour South Africa every February and the 1st XI enter the Emirates pre-season trophy in Dubai every three years. Over 24 of our players represented either Oxfordshire or Berkshire last summer.
  • Where: Meet in front of the Sports Centre. Training takes us around Abingdon and the surrounding countryside. 
  • When: Michaelmas and Lent terms, Wednesday 2:40pm - 4:40pm, with some Saturday and Sunday fixtures. Other sessions as per year group sport.
  • Who: Any age, any ability
  • i/c: EPB

Cross-country running is open to all. Training assumes a motivation for good health, commitment to the values and competition schedule of the club and strict adherence to teamwork. Competition takes place in both Michaelmas and Lent terms in many prestigious and long standing events. 

We start our training in September with very short distances and build gradually and carefully to longer distances of 20k. The season ends in March. Training is a mixture of long slow distances, threshold and speed workouts as well as the introduction of strength and conditioning sessions to help avoid injury. 

In 2010 the senior squad were undefeated nationally and in 2011 the senior squad won bronze at the Knole Run and silver at the South East Schools Championships at Harrow. All staff who coach are competitive athletes locally, nationally and internationally. Runs take in most of rural Oxfordshire and beyond. Past pupils have captained their own club at University and some have competed on the international stage. One of the aims of the club is to build a life-long affinity towards running and competition.

  • Who: Up to 10 students from Middle and Upper School
  • When: Wednesday 2:40pm - 4:40pm, and occasionally on Saturdays
  • i/c: GRM

Overview: This is an activity for those interested in an off-road ride once a week on a Wednesday.

Details: There are currently two routes available to us, though we hope to add more. These are a fairly flat route with some lumps and bumps around Tilsley Park, and a more technical route around Shotover Country Park just east of Oxford.

Requirements: we are in the process of purchasing two bikes for the club, but it helps if you can bring your own bike to school.

  • Where: Sports Centre Studio
  • When: Michaelmas, Lent and Summer terms; Monday and Thursday 3.55 – 5.00pm, Wednesday, from 2.30 - 5.00pm, Lower School on Thursday 12.10 - 13.40pm
  • Who: All year groups welcome
  • i/c: RAJ

Fencing is available throughout the year. All year groups are welcome to come and try this Olympic sport, from beginners to experienced fencers. Full coaching will be given and the School provides fencing kit and weapons for students. A minimum commitment of one session per week for one full term is required, although in practice many boys enjoy doing much more fencing than this. Matches are arranged with other schools throughout the calendar year, and keen fencers from our club have competed in and won many national and international competitions in the recent past. There has never a better time to try this popular Olympic sport. En garde!

  • Where: War Memorial Field, Cox’s Field
  • When: During core sport with matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Lent term
  • Who: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, U16A, U16B, U16C, U15A, U15B, U15C, U14A, U14B, U14C, U13A, U13B, U12A, U12B
  • i/c: TJD

The Football Club is now well established at Abingdon, with over 19 teams representing the School. The club plays regular fixtures during the Lent term against St John's Leatherhead , Berkhamsted, St Edward’s Oxford, Bedford Modern, Oratory and Radley in addition to other local schools. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd XI, U15A and U14 A all compete in the Thames Valley League that comprises of schools in the Oxfordshire and Berkshire area. Players have also gone on to represent the ISFA side, as well as county and academy squads.

  • When: Monday P8, Thursday P8
  • Who: Lower and Middle School
  • i/c: TJD

A recent addition to the Abingdon School Football Club is the Futsal Club. This form of the game, originating in South America, aids the developments of the player’s close control, dribbling and game awareness, utilising a smaller weighted ball whilst playing in 5-a-side environment.

  • Where: Drayton Park Golf Club
  • When: Monday, 4.00 - 5.00pm Summer term, Wednesday, 2.30 - 3.55pm all year.
  • Who: 3 - U6
  • i/c: SJ

On Monday period 8 (Lent and Summer term) the golf team meets for coaching from a PGA professional at Drayton Golf Club. The team consists of players with, or aspiring to have, single-figure handicaps. During these sessions we work on all aspects of the game including course management, shot shaping and the short game, and there is the opportunity to computer-analyse players' swings.

The Golf team plays in the Oxfordshire county championships, and both the HMC foursomes and Independent Schools’ Golf Association knock-out competitions, as well as various friendly fixtures against other school sides. There is a House Golf competition in the summer term.

Wednesday period 7 offers a broader range of players the chance to play, and to receive expert coaching. Golf lessons take place as a group on the driving range, but there are opportunities for specialised putting practice as well as visits to the ‘par 3’ course (weather permitting). Places are limited, and are allocated term by term, depending on boys’ sports options.

  • Where: Tilsley Park, War Memorial Field
  • When: Michaelmas term; Various times Lent term; Sport sessions Who: The School has 19 teams throughout the age groups and all teams have regular matches against other schools. The teams are: 1st XI, 2nd XI, 3rd XI and 4th XI, U16A-C, U15A-D, U14A-D, U13A-B, U12A-B
  • i/c: OJRD

Hockey is a major sport in the Lent term. The Hockey Club usually fields 15 teams throughout the age groups, with every team from U14D to 1st XI competing in the Independent Schools Hockey League. This has been set up by the top flight of hockey playing independent schools, to challenge and stretch their hockey players above and beyond the standard school fixtures. Abingdon competes against Radley, Bradfield, Wellington, Cheltenham, Marlborough, Eton and St Edward’s and Abingdon teams will play against all the seven other schools over the course of the season. All ISHL results are uploaded here. This allows players, parents and staff to keep updated on all results and goal-scorers from whatever league they wish to look at.

In the Michelmas term each year group will have one outdoor and one indoor session per week, with an ISHL indoor tournament being held towards the end of term. In the Lent term every team will have three training sessions per week, with a number of ex and current international players supplementing the coaching programme, as well as ISHL matches for every team on Saturdays and some Wednesdays.

The Hockey Club has enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years, with an impressive 22 boys representing the county last year. All three teams entered in the Oxfordshire County Tournaments progressed through to the regional finals, with the U14’s reaching the last 16 of the National Finals. The U15 A team won last years ISHL, winning all seven matches and only conceding 2 goals.

Many Abingdon pupils play junior and mens hockey at our local clubs. Please follow the links below to find out more about your local club.

Oxford Hawks - Colts - Oxford Hawks Hockey Club Junior Section
Oxford Hockey Club - Oxford Hockey Club - Juniors
Wallingford Hockey Club - Wildcats
Reading Hockey - Reading Hockey Club - Colts
Abingdon Hockey Club - Abingdon Hockey Club
Thame Hockey Club - Thame Hockey Club

Judo is a popular activity which takes place during regular weekly sessions; these are taken by a qualified external coach. Boys are instructed in the various principles and techniques and there are opportunities for sparring in a competitive context.

  • Where: CanDo Martial Arts
  • When: Tuesday, 4pm – 5pm, Thursday, 4pm – 5pm
  • Who: Anyone; beginners are more than welcome

Karate is an excellent way to improve fitness, co-ordination, stability and suppleness – skills useful in other sports. It also has the added benefits of teaching self-defence, discipline and thus increases self-confidence. Sessions are timed to allow you to participate in another sport as well. No experience is necessary. Gradings are four times a year; you could achieve a black belt in 3 to 4 years.

Our karate coach Sensei Patience Kakatie is looking forward to sharing some of the secrets of her success with our pupils. Patience took part in the British International Open Championships, at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, in September 2015, and won Gold in the Veterans, closely followed by Bronze in the 18+ Seniors section.

  • Where: Sports Centre Studio
  • When: Tuesday and Friday 4.00-5.00pm
  • Who: All
  • i/c: Catherine Huck

It is recognised that there is growing evidence to suggest that a strong core and improved flexibility is key to sporting success. The classes focus on delivering a programme which seeks to improve pupils' core strength in order to assist in keeping them injury free and stronger through their core.

  • Where: Radley College
  • When: Wednesday, 3.15 – 5.00 pm
  • Who: 3 – VI
  • i/c CFC

Real Tennis is a famous, fascinating and fun sport. Once played by King Henry VIII, it gave rise to the modern game of Lawn Tennis. Played on an indoor court, the ball is hit over a sagging net either onto the court or a wall – straight or sloping – or into another net! We play on the new court at Radley College. No previous experience is expected. However, an aptitude for racquet sports, particularly tennis, is an advantage. Professional tuition is provided (also see ‘Tennis’).

  • Where: School site and Cox's Fields
  • When: Michaelmas Term (and Rugby 7's Lent Term), 3 sessions per week including Wednesday's matches, Saturday afternoons
  • Who: All age groups
  • i/c: MRG

We pride ourselves on offering enough rugby teams per age group to boys of all ability levels. We play competitively each weekend throughout the Michaelmas term, against other like-minded senior independent schools.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th XV (Seniors U18s)
U16 A, B, C, D (Colts)
U15 A, B, C, D (Junior Colts)
U14 A, B, C, D, E (Juniors)
U13 A & B (Lower School)
U12 A & B (Lower School)

Some of the schools on our circuit include: Radley College, Sherborne, Eton College, Cheltenham College, Bedford School and Marlborough College.

Abingdon School enters teams into the National Natwest Cup at U18 and U15 age group; the County Cup at various age groups; several Sevens competitions including the Rosslyn Park National Schoolboy Sevens at U14 & U16 age group; as well as the Sedbergh School Super Tens at 1st Team level.

Our Seniors tour internationally every two years and our Juniors and Junior Colts squads tour annually at October half term.

All parents are encouraged to join our Abingdon School "Touchliners". This parental committee support our rugby club programme through organising major events throughout the year that help support and add to the provision offered to all boys in the club.

Senior Rugby Tour to Japan 2017

View the virtual tour:

  • Where: War Memorial Rugby Pitch
  • When: Monday P4 (sixth form sports priority option), Tuesday P8 (4th year Other Half activity), Wednesday P7 (sixth form Other Half activity), Thursday P4 (lower school Other Half activity), Thursday P8 (3rd & 5th year Other Half activity), Friday P4 (sixth form sports priority option)
  • Who: All year groups
  • i/c: MRG

Rugby Sevens is run as a Lent term Other Half activity across all age groups, but also a core sport option for our Sixth Form.

The objective is to offer all pupils an opportunity to further develop their rugby skills in nationally recognised competitions. It is a development pathway for our pupils with the emphasis in training on core skill development combined with tactical decision-making.

Sevens also helps to assist any pupils in their preparation and participation for representative sides at county, academy or national level.

Festivals entered for 2017:

1st VII:
Shiplake Sevens
Sedbergh School Super Tens

Colts VII:
QE Barnet Sevens
Rosslyn Park Sevens

Junior Colts VII:
The John Fisher School Sevens

Junior VII:
QE Barnet Sevens
Rosslyn Park Sevens

U13 VII:
Caldicott Sevens
Berkhamsted Sevens

U12 VII:
Moulsford Sevens

  • Where: Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir
  • When: Monday, 4pm - 7pm, when on BST, Tuesday 4pm - 5pm (DofE theory - by invitation), Wednesday, 2.30pm - 5pm, Friday 4pm-7pm when on BST
  • Who: All age groups
  • i/c: BDS

We mainly sail at Farmoor Reservoir, with beginners using boats owned by the Oxford Sail Training Trust and more advanced sailors making use of our extensive school fleet, which includes eight Standard Lasers, four RS500s, two 29ers and two SB20 keelboats.

Opportunities for sailors at Abingdon are varied and include learning to sail from scratch, developing racing skills in single handed, double handed and multi-crew boats and working towards RYA qualifications.

Abingdon’s sailing club has an active DofE program with expeditions offered under sail at Bronze, Silver and Gold Level. As an RYA recognised training centre we supplement the yachting side by offering and delivering RYA theory courses up to and including yachtmaster theory as well as the Diesel Engine course and RYA VHF radio course.  

Highlights for the sailing club over the past few years include competing at Cowes week, competing in the SB20 World Championships and students passing their Day Skipper, Dinghy Instructor and Yachtmaster Qualifications (run in association with partner organisations). 

  • Where: Indoor Range: Lower Field
  • When: Lunchtime sessions, Wednesday afternoons and also after school: 4.00 – 5.00pm
  • Who: 1 – VI
  • i/c: DGA / Mr A Smith (Shooting Coach)

Pupils may sign up for shooting at the start of the year and are expected to commit themselves to one afternoon weekly. No experience is necessary since training is provided. Those who wear glasses are at no disadvantage (some of our best shots do). There is a trophy for the best beginner. Once at a reasonable standard, pupils are formed into teams and entered for postal competitions against other schools. We now have the opportunity to shoot in international matches against European schools. There is also an opportunity to participate in our annual exchange with the Stade team in Germany during the Easter holidays.

Lower School boys may sign up for the eight-week Air Rifle Youth Proficiency Scheme. Successful completion of this course allows Lower School boys to move on to .22 rifle shooting. There is a charge for coaching and ammunition; pupils should expect to pay approximately £75 per term.

Recently, members of the Rifle Club have won County titles, and some have taken part in GB development training.

  • Where: Sports Centre
  • When: Michaelmas and Lent terms; Sport sessions
  • Who: 3 – VI
  • i/c: DJTF

The superb courts in the sports centre provide a focus for home matches and training. We have a highly promising squad of talented players throughout the School, trained by a Squash England coach.

Squash is available as a sports option to selected squad players in the 3rd Year and above, but other boys will have opportunities to play at various times as an activity. Senior boys and boarders are also able to play in their free time when the courts are not being used.

We had successful fixtures last year against Radley, St Edward’s and Stowe, and we will be selecting teams for more matches this year.

  • Where: Swimming Pool
  • When: Michaelmas and Lent Terms; Sport sessions
  • Who: All year groups
  • i/c: TJD

Our 8 lane 25m swimming pool provides the ideal environment to develop swimming technique throughout the year. The squad train at allocated times within the sessions above and cover up to 10000m a week, with the possibility of dry land training during the Wednesday session. The majority of the galas are held in the Lent term, but we also enter swimmers for the English Schools National Championships in both the individual and relay events. It is recommended that the serious swimmers join the local club which uses the Abingdon School pool. For those that wish to swim recreationally there is space to swim within the allocated sessions and a program to improve fitness will be provided.

See the School Swimming Records.

  • Where: Sports Centre Studio
  • When: Various times
  • Who: Lower/Middle School
  • i/c: NMR

An opportunity for players of all abilities, but numbers are limited to about 20, so places are based on a first-come-first-served basis. At the top end the standard is very high and this year we aim to further develop our limited fixture list. To qualify for this sport you must be prepared to play every week. We hope to run tournaments for Lower School and Middle/Upper School.

There will be a Lower School Tournament (based on tutor groups) in the second half of the Lent term. We hope to have a Middle School tournament earlier in the year.

  • Where: School Courts (hard/grass), Vale of White Horse (clay), Abingdon Tennis Club (hard)
  • When: Michaelmas and Lent terms as below, Summer term various times:
    Mon:
    12:10 - 13:10 – Lower School
    2:00 - 2:50 – 4th Year
    4 - 5pm – 3rd Year
    Tues:
    12:30 - 1:30 – 6th Form
    1:30 - 2:20 – 5th Year
    4 - 5pm – 4th Year
    Wed:
    2:45 – 4pm – All years (Tennis) - no cost
    Thurs:
    12:15 - 1:15 – Lower School (Tennis) - no cost
    1:15 - 2pm – 5th Year – no cost
    3:50 - 5pm – 3rd Year
    Fri:
    1:20 - 2:15 – 4th Year
    4:05 - 5pm – All years (Tennis 1st VIII squad) - no cost (invitation only)
    Sat:
    9 - 11am
  • Who: The school runs 20 teams throughout the age groups and all teams have regular matches against other schools. The teams are: 1st-3rd VI, U16A-B, U15A-D, U14A-D, U13A-B, U12A-B.
  • i/c: BJP

The Tennis Club runs 17 teams across the age groups, with coaching sessions and matches being held on the newly re-surfaced school courts, the new MUSA, the clay courts at the Vale of White Horse and at Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club. Each age group has three coaching sessions per week with the coaching staff and all teams compete in inter school matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Tennis Club takes part in the Independent Schools League, Oxfordshire Independent Schools Competition, the Aegon Cup and the Independent Schools Tennis Association Tournaments held at Eton at the end of the summer term. There have been a number of unbeaten teams over the last few years and many players go on to gain county and even National honours.

The Tennis Club runs internal box leagues and ladder competitions, with every match being played as a British Tennis rating match.

All players in the club are eligible to sign up for a free British Tennis Membership, offering them a rating, free entry to the Wimbledon ticket ballot and other LTA membership offers.

  • Where: Upper Field
  • When: Thursdays 4pm - 5pm (subject to change), Summer Term
  • Who: 3rd years and above
  • i/c: MRG

Touch Rugby is a fast paced and energetic game that removes the physical nature of the 15-a-side game, focusing on skills and game awareness. Four small sided games are played on Upper Field outside the front of Big School each team being led by an older boy from either the U16A XV or one of the Senior XVs. With between seven and ten on a team there is much more time on the ball and the removal of the contact allows a more level playing field. It provides an excellent oppotunity for boys of all years to mix and for younger boys to learn vital skills from those older than themselves. 

  • Where: Swimming Pool
  • When: Friday, 4.00 – 5.00 pm
  • Who: All years
  • i/c: TJD

Water Polo is a fast-paced and physically demanding hybrid of swimming, basketball and rugby. The boys train together on Fridays. The teams compete against Eton and Stowe (for example) and often as part of a ‘double-bill’ with swimming competitions. Matches and training with the Oxford University Men’s team will take place on an ad hoc basis. New players are always welcome to come along for a trial, especially boys in the 1st and 4th Years. No previous experience is necessary but being a confident swimmer is essential.