Over 100 OPs and guests came back to school for cricket, tennis, lunch, afternoon tea, a school tour, archive visits, reunions with contemporaries, or a combination of those in what turned out to be a successful and enjoyable day for all.
As well as a general opportunity for OPs from any year to get together with old school friends, there were significant leaving year reunions for the 1972 (50 years), 1982 (40 years) and 2002 (20 years) who all enjoyed seeing how the school has developed over the years whilst reminiscing about their own schooldays. There was also a belated 30 (plus 2!) year reunion at Thor’s Tipi in York for the Class of 1990 who were unable to make it on Sunday.
The new Head of Hospitality and Catering, Paul Freeman-Hacker and his team, put on a superb lunch for guests and cricketers. The OP President, Joan Gough (75-77) gave an update on OP events and activities before thanking everyone for coming and making special mention of the grounds staff, the catering team and those involved in the running of the day including the OP office team, sports staff David Byas and Henry Perham, and committee member Trevor Loten (70-80). The Headmaster, Toby Seth, followed with an update on the school and school life post-Covid and looking ahead at school trips resuming in the summer with the Sports Tour to California and the Volunteer Project trip to Namibia.
After lunch, whilst OPs congregated for school tours, the cricket continued with a surprise visit from Derek Whilesmith (former staff 59-94) who came to watch, and the Edmund-Loten Inspire tennis tournament got underway on the astroturf courts. A little later, afternoon tea was served in the dining hall to round off what was an excellent day.
In the OP v School 1st XI cricket match, the OPs batted first and made their mark from the off, setting the school a target of 234, built around a belligerent 75 from Henry Bayston (10-17) and a rapid-fire 37 not out from Henry Kay (13-21) leaving the school boys needing a strong start.
However, losing the skipper, Harry Jackson in the first over was a huge blow and as the school faced the loss of a further two early wickets, it was going to be a hard task. Olly Rook held much of the innings together with a patient 60 but unfortunately, he ran out of partners as the boys were bowled out for 142, 92 runs behind.
OPs 234 - 5 dec -- 42.5 overs (H Snelling 2 - 28, H Jackson 2 - 74)
Pocklington 142 all out 43.5 overs (O Rook 60)
David Byas, Director of Sport commented: “It was wonderful to have so many recent leavers back playing against the school and to play the ‘timed’ game in the manner they did was a great credit to them all.”
Over on the tennis courts, an excellent turnout of 12 mixed doubles pairs, including students, OPs, parents, teachers and retired teachers(!) competed for the Edmund-Loten Inspire Trophy. The tournament had not taken place since 2019 due to Covid, so it was great to see such a cross-section of players. It was a sunny and very windy afternoon, which made serving difficult, but there was some good-quality tennis played during the round-robin group stages before the standard increased yet further in the semi-finals.
Defending champion Frankie Marsh (06-13), with new partner Guy Littlejohn (00-07), battled through an extraordinary match against Isadora and James Philip, winning 10-8 in a tie-break, whilst three members of the Dyson family were involved in the other semi-final, with Jess Dyson (17-21) and Mohamed Gamal defeating Jess’s mum Eleanor and older brother Tom (15-22) 6-4 in another very close contest. The final kept the spectators on the edge of their seats, with Jess and Mohamed becoming the first student winners in the trophy’s history after a 6-4 victory against Frankie and Guy. Thanks to everyone who took part and who stayed on to support the finalists in what was an exciting afternoon of tennis.
Thank you to all who took part and hope to see you again next year!
The date for next year’s Summer Reunion will be announced soon!
Here's some feedback to give a flavour of the day:
“I just wanted to tell you that I genuinely hugely enjoyed the OP day yesterday and to thank you all for the great organisation, from seeing the archives, the meals and the tour. It was intriguing and quite inspiring to see how much has changed for the better to reflect today's approach to education.”
“My visit evoked many memories and emotions which I will hold dear. I don't know why I left it fifty years to return, especially as I now live locally.”
“It was great fun and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon… So I’ll be back…”
“It was a lot of fun and we will look forward to next time.”
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