An inter-school game gets unruly

By Lorna Monroe

It was the penultimate game of the Netball season of 1959-60. The reigning Champions, West Park, were leading St Margaret’s 36-24 midway through the final quarter. Sports Mistress Amanda Spencer could barely conceal her pleasure. Her girls were going to do it again. All her hard work was coming to fruition, and retaining the trophy would be a rather large feather in her cap. But, the best laid plans o’ mice and men?”

It was a nothing thing really. West Park’s Sandra Dixon jumped for the ball slightly later than her taller and more athletic opponent who, as she grabbed it, caught her under the chin with a flailing elbow. To Amanda’s horror, her player lashed out at the other girl, pushing her in the face and knocking her to the ground.

Immediately, the St Margaret’s team captain rushed over and slapped Sandra. All hell broke loose, with a cat fight in which West Park’s Cordelia Stanhope and Jane Saunders were also leading participants. It took several minutes for the Umpire to restore order, at which point she abandoned the game.

Watching her disconsolate team trooping off the field, Miss Spencer’s delight had changed into an incandescent rage. Ever the professional, she had managed to rein in much of her fury by the time she had consulted the headmistress, who was also in attendance, and had joined her players in the changing room, but this was going to be a very different post-match review to the kind of triumphant dispensing of praise the West Park team had become accustomed to.

Normally, the cavernous room would have been filled with chatter and giggles as the girls stripped for their showers, but that afternoon you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. Sports were given a very high priority at the school and the young players took setbacks very badly. Not only was there an air of sullen dejection, but none of the girls could even bring themselves to look each other in the face.

When she finally broke the silence, the teacher’s voice assumed a tone as dark as her deep brown eyes.

“Please sit-down, girls. There are matters to be dealt with before you shower. I am sorry to have to say that what took place out there today was the most disgusting spectacle I have ever witnessed on a school playing field. I take some small consolation in the fact that not all of you degraded yourselves and embarrassed the school in that most unladylike and unsporting brawl, but Sandra, Cordelia and Jane, I am utterly ashamed of you all.

“Under normal circumstances, the three of you would be up before the Head on Monday morning, but Mrs Unsworth was so distressed that she has asked me to deal with you immediately.”

The guilty trio exchanged nervous glances, not sure what to make of the evolving situation. They were not left in the dark for long.

“I am not noted for being a caning teacher, but I have, on occasion, resorted to physical punishment when absolutely necessary, and if any situation ever merited a thrashing it is this one. You will each receive six of the best. The other team members, including substitutes, will observe and hopefully learn a lesson that will serve them well in the future. Ok, let’s get this unpleasantness over with. I want you all to remove your skirts, shoes and socks and sit down on the bench.”

The girls were mystified by this instruction. Perhaps they were only going to be caned on the hand? All were shaking a little as they undressed, but particularly the little blonde, Sandra, who had never received corporal punishment before.

On completion of their preparations, the young athletes were shocked to the core by their teacher’s next command.

“You will lean back on the bench and hold your legs in the air, gripping them just below the knees.”

Fearing the consequences of any delay, the girls obeyed immediately but not before team captain Jane registered what started as a protest but ended in a plaintive whimper.

“Please Miss, not like this Miss, It’s so undignified.”

“Not nearly as undignified as your behaviour on the field today, as you of all people should understand, Jane,” Miss Spencer replied with a logic that brooked no further discussion.

“It is just as well that Mrs Unsworth had her cane in the car,” she added, producing the previously concealed whippy length of rattan from her locker.

The penitents were now arrayed in this unseemly position that left their legs in the air. Their chastiser elected to start on the left with her team captain. To the latter’s horror she aligned the rod across the thighs of her coltish legs. Not what the girl expected at all.

“But Miss!” She began to blubber as a wristy cut rendered her breathless for a moment, before she squealed and kicked.

“Keep your legs up, girl. Show some decorum.”

Jane waited in dread for a second stroke that failed to materialise. Instead, Miss Spencer had moved on to Cordelia; ‘Cordy’ Stanhope. As she did so, she could not help noticing that Anne Robbins, one of the substitutes, was ashen-faced.

She smiled inwardly, having heard the rumours that Anne had a passion for the beautiful Jamaican girl.

Cordy winced and bit her lip at the searing pain, but remained commendably stoic despite what was undoubtedly a vigorous stripe.

The same could not be said of Sandra Dixon who gave a high-pitched yelp as the cane caught her slightly heavy thighs leaving a livid red line across her pale flesh.

Returning to the start of the punishment line, Miss Spencer, being possessed of a tidy mind, elected to place Jane’s second stroke just below its scarlet predecessor. A particularly nasty lick drew forth a squeal of distress from the unfortunate girl, as well as a swish of her curtain of dark hair.

Cordelia again demonstrated exemplary courage as the whippy bamboo left an agonising double-edged imprint on her firm thighs. She managed to keep her legs perfectly straight in the air, but could not contain several silent tears from trickling down her elevated cheekbones.

The normally cheerful and delightfully mischievous Sandra was already whining, deep blue eyes widely dilated in fearful anticipation, when Miss Spencer stood in front of her. A dramatic pause and then the teacher lashed the cane down, generating a scream that echoed round the changing room as the girl’s toes curled in her transport of pain.

“Compose yourself girl!” came the severe command.

Contemplating the final round of ‘thigh strokes’, as she had decided to call them, Miss Spencer was determined to make it an exemplary one. She was particularly displeased with Jane, whom she regarded as a special prodigy; she was determined to make her feel the full force of her disappointment.

Placing the bamboo rod diagonally across the previous tramlines, she prepared to take the chastisement to a higher level. Realising her intention, Jane cried out in terror.

“Please, Miss, No Miss!” but her plea was swept away in a surge of torment that saw her shriek accompanied by frenzied air-kicks which her teacher had only previously witnessed in a team training session.

Moving on to Cordelia, Miss Spencer resolved to be more lenient and the whack she awarded her, while eliciting a pitiful sob, by no means tested her beyond the limits of her endurance. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Anne, the young beauty’s not-so-secret admirer, dabbing her eyes furtively.

Having been somewhat irritated by her histrionics thus far, she decided to give Sandra a shock, positioning the cane across her previous welts in the same way as she did with Jane. As she grasped what was about to happen, the girl uttered a strangled scream, only for the teacher to give her meaty whack just below the twin cuts.

All three penitents were now absorbed in rubbing frantically at their well-tanned thighs. But for their rueful sobs, not a sound could be heard in the room.

If any of the culprits were entertaining the hope that Miss Spencer would consider they had been punished sufficiently and would refrain from chastising them further, they were soon disabused of the notion.

“You will now kneel on the bench and raise your bottoms as high as you can,” the implacable sports mistress announced in a tone which allowed no margin for dissent. Her next statement was to form a part of the school lore for a generation.

“It has always been the accepted practice at this school to cane pupils on the seat of their knickers. However, this has never been codified as a formal rule, and such is the contemptible nature of your offence, Mrs Unsworth has instructed me to punish you all on your bare bottoms.”

A collective gasp filled the room, followed by girlish whispers to the extent that it was necessary for the teacher to issue a curt “Enough” to the enervated girls behind her.

From her kneeling position, Sandra released a forlorn wail which would have befitted a Greek Tragedy.

The more assertive Jane began to verbalise what was probably going to become a form of protest, but Miss Spencer made haste to stifle it.

“Jane, before you decide to play ‘Captain Courageous’, I must caution you that your attempting to do so will result in the award of an extra cut.” With that warning, she peeled the girls’ sports knickers down to mid-thigh.

The stroke was a carefully-measured slice to the middle of the bottom where even the athletically toned Jane had a modicum of plumpness to mitigate the sting. Her reaction was confined to a jiggle of the hips and a throaty groan as she bit her lip.

Cordelia’s turn. The unveiling of her buttocks, which would have graced a sculptor’s dream, brought many an admiring, and indeed envious, glance from the onlookers. Miss Spencer was careful to note that Anne was now blushing deeply.

The dignified Caribbean girl revealed no sign of fear other than a sheen of perspiration on her up-turned cheeks which hinted at more than evidence of her exertions on the playing-field.

Carefully considering her options, the teacher elected to apply a vigorous swipe to the undercurve of Cordy’s opulent rump. She squealed sharply, her first real vocalisation during her ordeal, before once more restraining herself. Her bottom, however, expressed itself more eloquently as it surged into the time-honoured dance of the punished schoolgirl.

Sandra might have presented a problem as she had thus far exhibited little fortitude. Her slightly fattened nates were already beginning to quiver and clench in abject terror. Wisely, Miss Spencer opted for the proverbial ‘short, sharp shock’ and delivered an under-arm stroke, honed on her beloved tennis courts, to the very heart of the pallid rear. The recipient succumbed to a flood of tears.

On later reflection, she was to wonder if the next stripe she dispensed on the lean hinds of her team captain had owed a little too much to her profound frustration with a girl she had carefully nurtured. But she told herself that it was a teacher’s duty to administer a particularly strict correction to a prefect who was seen as both an academic and athletic high achiever. As she writhed in pain, Jane’s reddened bottom cheeks and equally flushed face offered reliable evidence that her conclusion was the right one.

Cordelia’s powers of endurance were also tested with her second stroke, delivered to catch her straight across the deep cleavage of her hams. The fiery sting induced a lusty scream followed by a wasp-like wiggle of her hips.

A flick of the wrist was enough to induce sobs from Sandra, but this time they were much more muted. She seemed for all the world like a girl resigned to her fate.

The strict teacher knew that final impressions matter most when it comes to punishment. She needed to imprint a lesson on the culprit’s minds as well as their bottoms that would last them a life time. The whole point of school sports was to inculcate a sense of fair play and self-discipline that would hold her girls in good stead when they encountered the unforgiving adult world they would soon be entering. She would act accordingly.

By nature a kind and gentle lady, Miss Spencer nonetheless resolved to emboss each penitents’ bottoms with a stroke aslant the previous two. She intended to ensure that their most severe school caning would be their last.

On receiving her final stripe, Jane screamed with a shrillness that none who heard it would ever forget. Her head collapsing on the bench as she intoned: “Please, oh please,” repeatedly as she desperately tried to rub away the unquenchable fire in her throbbing globes.

Cordelia’s shriek was just as loud, but not so long-lasting, as it soon morphed into silent weeping evidenced by the movement of her shoulders in time with that of her ample bottom. On the other side of the room, a friend held Anne’s wrist tight as she strained to offer comfort the girl she harboured tender emotions for.

Meanwhile, Sandra abandoned every shred of dignity as she begged piteously to be spared the agony she had witnessed her team mates endure. Miss Spencer quickly put an end to her ordeal, flicking the rod across the twin tramlines. As she drew breath, she couldn’t help noting with satisfaction how the crimson welts stood out on the weeping girl’s creamy mounds.

The exhausted and emotionally drained teacher did not waste any time reiterating the points she had made earlier. She simply expressed the hope that such regrettable scenes would never have to be repeated, and left to take her shower.

In the event, West Park was not expelled from the League. In its wisdom, the Disciplinary Committee chose the more lenient sanction of suspending the guilty players on both teams for three matches. The School even retained the Championship, winning the last game of the season, whilst St Margaret’s, with a smaller pool of players to choose from, lost their match.

To their teacher’s surprise, during the following week all three of the pupils she had been forced to punish approached her to apologise for their unacceptable conduct.

As chance would have it, Miss Spencer and Cordelia’s paths would cross again years later in very different circumstances, but that, as they say, is  another story.

The End

© Lorna Monroe 2019

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