Hockey and Netball Tour of Barcelona, Spain

16/11/2018

During half term, the Year 8 girls - consisting of the 1st Hockey team and the U13A and U13B Netball teams -   travelled to Barcelona in Spain.  The tour provides the girls with a startling insight into the standards of hockey on mainland Europe, especially in Cataluña where "Hockey is life”!  The girls played against local club opposition made up of girls who play hockey all year round; they train at least three times per week and play league games twice weekly.  This super-talented bunch also played netball against British opposition who had also travelled to the area. Our Year 8s played Year 8 and Year 9 opposition.

We arrived at Westbourne House very excited for the days ahead.  The girls looked exceptionally smart in their tour kit and felt like VIPs as they were “tapped” by their parents who excitedly waved them off to London Gatwick with Mr Whitehouse, Miss Chambers and Mrs Sleep.  At the airport, Lulu James’ fear of escalators brought some humour to check-in as did the automated passport scanning machines!  After a spot of shopping for our lunch, we boarded our flight to the sunnier climes of southern Spain.  The first to fall asleep was Mr Whitehouse!

After a 90-minute coach journey to Lloret de Mar, we tucked into our dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and then the girls bedded down for the night.

Our first day began with a 90-minute netball coaching session. The girls worked on their reaction speeds to whistles, quickness of feet when outmanoeuvring opposition and driving forward into space. In the afternoon, the girls played their first netball matches.  The U13A team played the Year 9 team from Crickhowell High School. Westbourne’s shooting was on-point thanks to Issy Rose and Sophia Tracey. Centre-court play was fast-paced and centre Elsie Mackenzie left no ball unchallenged. The first game of the tour left Westbourne with a win, 20-0. 

The U13B game was against Bexley Grammar School. With a very tall GA, Amber Nelson as GD had a hard game to stop the over-head passes. Daisy Doherty as centre supported Polly Bigham (GK) well with offloading the ball up court from the Bexley shooting third and Tallulah Partridge (GS) ensured all balls into the Westbourne D were converted into goals. Westbourne secured their second win of the day, winning 7-5.  

After a sunny interlude eating our packed lunches, it was the Bs turn again to continue our winning streak, this time playing Crickhowell. Tallulah’s shooting continued to not disappoint and Lulu James was a very safe pair of hands in attack. Daisy was buzzing around the court effortlessly and Melissa Marlin made some good inroads into the opposition’s attack as WD.  A third win, 13-2. The final game of the day was between the U13A and Bexley (Year 9).  Imi Marley put on an exceptional show as GD and challenged the very tall GA with her holding in the D. Venetia McMorran as WD seamlessly connected the defence with the attack and supported at Westbourne centre passes. The As did not disappoint and secured an undefeated day for Westbourne with a win 18-0.

After an action-packed day, we headed back to our hotel to don our brand new hockey kit. We travelled over to Matadepera (due north of Barcelona) to CD Terrassa for our first hockey game of the tour. The girls were overwhelmed by their surroundings. Over 1000 people train at this prestigious club every day and it seemed more like a little town with its own gift shop, bars, restaurants and clubhouses.  As soon as the game started, the girls realised that this was going to be a tough game. The CD Terrassa girls were confident and quick on the ball and chased down each and every ball to try to overturn possession. Our girls seemed slightly intimidated but the opposition's speed and grit and gave them too much time and space on the ball. Sadly, this gave the team even more confidence and they quickly converted their possession into goals…lots of goals. Polly and Elsie were gutsy in goal but the opposition were able to find each of them our corners of the goals.  Bella Rank played some very clever and logical hockey and was a calming influence on her team. Issy was her speedy self charging up and down the pitch but too often robbed of the ball by the slick opposition. Lulu demonstrated the grit she is all too well known for and Daisy and Imi kept the energy up for Westbourne, even when yet another goal was scored against them.  A final score of 14-0 didn’t leave us deflated however. Hockey is a life choice in this region of Spain and these girls play all year round. It was a privilege to play such a lovely group of girls and our Westbourne team learnt a lot from them.

Day 2 was another long day.  It began with an early-morning netball training session.  However, afterwards, we dashed back to our hotel and made the most of the 26 degree sunny day by bombing into the hotel’s pool! 

Refreshed, we returned to the sports centre and the Bs played first against Bexley Grammar School (Year 9).  It was a much closer game but the girls were spurred on by their undefeated day, the day before. The game finished 7-5. To stretch our girls even further, for the As first game of the day they played King Edwards Witley Year 10 team. Sophia and Issy came into their own working the D effortlessly ensuring all balls into our shooting third were converted into goals. Elsie kept the energy up throughout the court and Sienna Mitford was exemplary finding space and maintaining the teams structure.  She supported well around the D also. The match finished 11-8 to Westbourne House. It was then the B’s turn against KES but they played their A team. Rosie Clifford-Bowles demonstrated excellent versatility by playing GK/GD and then shooter. She shot well and managed to switch from a defensive to attacking mindset. The Bs drew 5-5.  The A team then played Bexley Grammar School Year 8 and won 10-3 with Bella and Sophia being voted the girls of the game. The last netball match of the tournament was the A team against King Edwards Witley, Year 8, which they won 8-4. Bella was again voted girl of the game but this time alongside our other shooter Issy, who scored 5 of the goals.

To celebrate our undefeated netball title, we took the girls for churros, the stick doughnuts served with hot melted chocolate. This gave the girls the sugar rush they needed for another hockey fixture. We travelled to a nearby club to CD Terrassa called Club Egara, even more prestigious than CD Terrassa. The game was much closer, with Westbourne playing two different teams across the two halves. In the first half we played the higher level team. Francesca Aston eliminated well and had great desire to drive forward, at times looking dangerous on the break. The first half finished 3-0 to Egara. In the second half, the Westbourne girls were more focused and ball-hungry. They chased down loose balls, defended well and took free passes quickly. Their 0-0 final score was a draw well-fought for and well-deserved.

After some well-needed sleep, we woke up on Wednesday excited for our tourist day in Barcelona. Whilst on the coach to Plaza de Cataluña, Mrs Sleep did a quiz with the girls about the city. Did you know that Barcelona is 400 years older than Rome or that Barcelona drivers are ranked the worst in the world with an accident happening every 19 seconds?! On arrival, we crossed the Plaza at the top of La Rambla and walked the Passeig de Gràcia towards two of Gaudí’s famous Barcelona houses, La Pedrera and Casa Battló. After, we boarded the Bus Turístic to La Sagrada Familia. We then completed the route by bus and saw Camp Nou and Park Güell. The girls were then given an hour to ramble down Las Ramblas to do some shopping. We bought some “helados” and happily boarded our coach back to Lloret de Mar. And of course, what better way to round off another scorcher in Spain than going to the beach and catching the last of 2018’s rays whilst swimming in the sea.

On our last night, we went out for dinner at a local bowling alley and crazy golf sports bar. We bowled and Miss Chambers and Mrs Sleep let Mr Whitehouse win (!) and the girls put on some very interesting bowling techniques.  We then had some pizza and began our presentation ceremony. Mr Whitehouse had been keeping a log of “Tour Points” throughout the week for silly or good things each of us did. For example, Mrs Sleep walked into a lamppost and subsequently received minus 5!  Highlights included: Lulu believing a monkey lived in a tree outside of Barcelona airport and Venetia speaking French thinking it was Spanish. Venetia was awarded Best Tourist for her attitude, effort and being an excellent ambassador for Westbourne House. We also presented Miss Chambers with some goodies for her organisation of our tour.

On Thursday, we were sad to leave but excited to get home or a well-earned rest. There was lots of French Oral cramming on the plane, but some of us used the flight as chance for some well-earned napping!  Thank you to all of our tourists for being such wonderful company, exemplary sportswomen and brilliant ambassadors for Westbourne. Here’s to our next tour!

Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018
Barcelona Sports Tour 2018