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26th April 2020

Association Football at Oakham School

Did you know that pupils had been able to do Basketball, Boxing, Girls’ Cricket, Cycling, Fencing, Fives, Golf, Gymnastics, Rugby 7s, Sailing, Shooting, Squash, Boys’ tennis here at Oakham School? In this month’s blog post, we will explore the history of Football at the school, a sport played and enjoyed by our boys and girls.

Actions of a football match.

Football has been played since the 19th century at Oakham School. Until 1884 and the publication of the first Oakham School Magazine, we do not possess any information on football at school. The 1884/1885 season was a triumph, with only 2 defeats against Nottinghamshire County XI.

Team: J. Briddes, W. Gordon, C. MacGregor, H. Barraclough, T.L. Pawlett, F. Lovegrove, T. Bryan, T. Allen, K. Pearce, F. Douglass, A.P. Field, E. Bramall.

The following year, Oakham School Football XI played 12 matches, won 9 and scored 58 goals overall. It seems that boys stopped playing football as a major sport in 1892 with the apparition of Rugby Football.

In 1960, under the headmastership of John Buchanan, the school entered a team in the Annual Public Schools’ Six-a-side soccer tournament at Charterhouse. The team was coached by the chaplain, E.J. Coleville, and captained by T.A. Dexter. But football was only officially re-established in 1972.

The 1972 boys’ first football team.

Three boys’ football teams: the 1973 Under 15 XI; the 1994 first XI; the 2007 second XI.

Girls’ football started at Oakham School in 1985. Ken Grocott, then Master of Soccer, introduced a Societies activity for Girls’ soccer. It was however short-lived.

Girls’ football was re-established in 1993. Fourteen motivated girls decided to build a team and to organise a match against Uppingham. The final score was a draw, 0-0. They played in front of more than 200 spectators and raised £96 for Comic Relief.

Team: Sam “Pam the Ram” Hale, Suzzie Flooz Phillips, Amy “Chief” Tavner, Bex “King Kong” Long, Liz Carter The Unstoppable, Luce Juice Whyte, Lisa Wood, Miranda Bowen, Sophie Parker, Jenny Hall “Run with the ball”, K. MacDonald, Em Dempsey, Debbie Heard, Fredder “The Header” Taylor.

After that one match, girls’ football has only been yearly recorded since 2000.

A girls’ football team.

Football at Oakham gained an even more prominent place with the instalment of the Tom Grant Football Festival, in memory of O.O. Tom Grant who died in 2006. Every Summer term, houses compete against one another, with girls and boys, and junior and senior categories.

Girls at the Tom Grant Football Festival.

Notable O.O.: Arthur Cursham went to Oakham School from 1867 to 1870. He was a keen cricketer and football player. He went on to play for the England football team in 1876 and even captained the national side in 1878.


If you have memories of playing football at Oakham School that you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact us at archivesuser@oakham.rutland.sch.uk.

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