We wasted no time this morning. We got up early, breakfasted and then packed as quickly as possible. All of the girls were awarded with certificates and small prizes, recognising their individual contributions to the week, and Miss Scott-Kilvert was thanked for organising such a fantastic tour. We then made the short journey to Disney.
The girls made the very most of their last few hours at the park, exploring the various shops and attractions, and enjoying as many rides as possible.
It was then time to say ‘au revoir’ to a few tourists but, before they left, we made sure that each registration group was photographed.
We then had to take an extra photograph when we bumped into a familiar face . . .
With the final purchases having been made, it was time to head for home. We boarded the coach and made ourselves comfortable. The journey was perfectly straightforward and we arrived at the tunnel near enough on schedule.
It would be fair to say that everyone felt a range of emotions as we drove the last few miles from Folkestone to Canterbury. Whilst excited at the prospect of seeing friends and family, people were naturally sad that the week had come to an end.
What a BRILLIANT week it has been, however, from start to finish. Our days have been extremely busy but the experiences that we have had will stay with us for life. Many thanks to one and all for making the Junior King’s Hockey Tour 2017 such a resounding success.
Doei-doei, au revoir, goodbye!
What a wonderful day we have had. We all enjoyed a much needed lie in, although some still managed to fit in a swim before breakfast!
Then it was time to set off to EuroDisney, having plied ourselves with sun cream (who would have thought that we would have needed that in March!?!) and packed our new hoodies for later in the day.
We all enjoyed the opportunity to explore the different areas of the park and to meet some of the characters wandering around.
We found the perfect place to watch the famous parade; the girls (and staff!) got plenty of waves.
Having told the girls we were heading back to the hotel, we then shared the final surprise of the day; supper at Planet Hollywood. It was here that Miss Scott-Kilvert was praised for her amazing French!
We left the restaurant after our main courses so that we could make the amazing firework spectacular . . .
. . . and then we headed back to Planet Hollywood for our desserts.
It was then time to go to bed. After all, we want to make sure that we are as rested as possible for our final day of the tour . . .
Well, the girls have been fantastic today! They were up at 6am and ready to leave an hour later. They then coped brilliantly with our rather lengthy journey to Paris! Nobody had anticipated it taking over eight hours!
Thanks to some careful negotiating (in our best French!), we were able to reorganise everything that had been so carefully planned in advance. Admittedly, we ended up doing things in a slightly different order!
Our first port of call was the Eiffel Tower. We climbed as far as we were able (some of us found it easier than others, and hats off to Mrs P who ran two thirds of the way!) and then caught the lift to the top. What wonderful views we were able to enjoy.
These views were equalled, if not bettered, at our next destination: the roof top garden of Zoé’s mother’s workplace. Although our time there was all too brief, we were still able to make the most of some fantastic photo opportunities. We were also treated to a fine spread of food. The tarte aux pommes was especially tasty!
Our final Parisian adventure was a boat trip on the Seine. The beautiful weather meant that we were able to sit on the top of the boat whist we listened to the interesting commentary about the city’s key landmarks. Once again, Mr Smith was busy with the camera!
We then boarded the coach once again and set off for our Disney hotel. There was time for little other than eating and unpacking before bed. Everyone settled quickly, however, knowing that they will need all of their energy for tomorrow. EuroDisney here we come!
We certainly made the most of our final day in Holland - a day blessed with blue skies and warm sunshine.
We ventured back to Amsterdam this morning, to visit the Anne Frank Museum. Many of the girls were visibly moved by what they saw, heard and read.
The afternoon was spent at Amersfoort Hockey Club, where we were warmly welcomed by eighty young players. Each of our teams played three twenty-five minute matches, giving their absolute all. Unsurprisingly, they were ready for their ice-lollies at the end!
The A team put in three fine performances to record three victories. These results mean that the girls have completed an unbeaten tour; what a marvellous achievement! This determined group of players should be enormously proud of all that they have achieved, not only this week but also throughout the year. They have been a great team to coach, and Miss Scott-Kilvert thanks each and everyone of them for their commitment and dedication to their own performances and to the development of the team as a whole.
The B team rounded off their tour with a draw and two wins. It was lovely to see the progress that they have made since arriving in Holland. The girls really have come together as a team, saving their best hockey for the final day. Mrs Pattinson thoroughly enjoyed working with the team and thanks them for all of their efforts. Well done!
The C team saved their best until last, ending their tour with two highly commendable wins. The girls attacked and defended with equally high levels of determination, and their enthusiasm was unwavering. It was wonderful to see them celebrating their numerous goals. Mr Smith and Miss Hayward are hugely impressed by how much these girls have improved over the last few days. Very well done to them all!
On the way back from Amersfoort, we stopped at a surprise location; a rather special crêperie. It was here that we enjoyed a delicious supper.
Then it was back to the hostel to pack, in preparation for our early morning departure to Paris. We shall be sad to say goodbye to Holland but we have had a wonderful time and played some great hockey. Many thanks to all of those parents who came to join us. You wore your blue hats with pride and provided wonderful support; it was lovely to have you with us.
After a great night’s sleep, we headed off to Amsterdam this morning for our first cultural experience of the tour. We spent a very interesting couple of hours at The Van Gogh Museum. Thanks to special headsets, we were able to learn all about some of the artist’s most famous works. We discovered why he painted so many self-portraits, for example, and why he regularly painted himself as having different coloured eyes.
After a treat in the cafeteria, a group photo and a visit to the all-important shop, we ventured outside in the sunshine to have yet more photographs taken, one outside the museum and one on the famous ‘I Amsterdam’ structure. You will do very well to spot all of the girls!
We returned to the hostel to get changed and then set off again, this time to Leusden Hockey Club. Everyone wondered how we would fare against this traditionally strong club. Time would tell.
The A team enjoyed a thrilling 6-5 win that went down to the wire. Having been 1-4 down just after half time, this really was quite a feat. All of the team deserve to be congratulated on their performances, but particular mention must go to Esme for her excellent conversion of five goals. The B team played their best hockey to date, refusing to let the strong Dutch opposition dominate. They defended fiercely and took the opportunities they had. They were unlucky to concede near the end of the game and therefore lose a game that could so easily have gone either way. They should be proud of their performance. The C team had a tough afternoon but worked well as a team and kept their heads held high. The words of encouragement from the side lines were much appreciated.
From Leusden we headed straight to El Sueño, a Tapas restaurant in Soest, to enjoy a meal with the parents. We celebrated Kitty’s birthday in style, Miss Scott-Kilvert thanked the parents for their unwavering support, and then the parents thanked the Junior King’s staff for their efforts.
We said our goodbyes and then headed back to the hostel. At the end of another long day, everyone is certainly ready for bed!
Having lost an hour due to the clocks moving forward, we all felt a little jaded this morning. That said, the girls got up quickly, proudly put on their tour kit and made their way to breakfast. Little did they know that after breakfast they were going to have to change! Indeed, once the girls had finished eating and made their packed lunches, they were each presented with a second playing shirt and pair of socks. It was lovely seeing the girls’ faces as they read the many amusing nicknames printed on the shirts.
Once changed, we then headed off to MOP Hockey Club, where, once again, we received a wonderful welcome. Our travelling supporters did us proud by arriving in their blue hats, and all of the girls mixed well with each other. There was certainly no sign of a language barrier.
The matches were organised slightly differently today. All three English teams played all three Dutch teams, with each game being twenty minutes long. The Dutch teams were completely mixed in terms of ability so there was no way of predicting how the games would go. We just knew we would have to work hard and build on yesterday’s positive start.
The A team backed up their impressive start to the tour by securing three victories against MOP. The games were diverse. In the first, the girls played with a high level of skill. An effective passing movement off the ball allowed the girls to score six fantastic goals. The MOP girls were without a goalie during the second game so we lent them one of ours. She did a fine job, thus making it much harder for us to score. That said, we still managed to secure a 3-0 victory. In the final game, which was the toughest of the morning, it was lovely to see the girls' strength of character; they refused to be beaten by their tired legs. The final 3-2 score was thoroughly deserved.
The B team was full of determination after yesterday's match . The girls started their opening game in fine style and it wasn't long before they scored their first goal. They quickly followed this with a second to clinch a 2-0 victory. Although they went into their next match feeling positive, the Dutch team was quite strong. Despite our great defending, we couldn't quite keep them out; we lost the match. Undeterred, the Junior King's girls gave their all in their final game at MOP, coming away with an impressive 2-1 win.
The C team came out with the intention of building on the solid foundations they laid yesterday. Despite their stalwart efforts in the first two games, MOP clearly dominated. The girls were in no way put off, however, and came out fighting hard in the third and final game. Having scored two early goals, their self-confidence began to grow. They then went from strength to strength. The girls powered through their fatigue to secure a very well-deserved 3-1 victory. They should be hugely proud of themselves.
Having made a short presentation to both MOP and Mr and Mrs Wells, who head back to England this evening, we then boarded the coach and headed to another club; Kampong. How excited we all were about watching and meeting GB and Olympic gold medallist, Sophie Bray, MBE.
Having watched a very exciting match between MOP and Kampong (naturally we supported both teams!), we then had the opportunity to meet Sophie. Many of the girls asked her questions before we presented her with a tour hat, shirt and various other goodies. We then lost count of the number of shirts, sticks and pieces of paper that she signed! How lovely it was when Sophie, GB number 19, met Milly, our very own number 19!
Before we left there was just enough time to pose for some photographs.
On the way back to the hostel, we made a brief stop at a supermarket. The girls were then told of our plans for the evening: a talent show! Having been divided into groups, they were each given a small sum of money to spend on props. Needless to say we could hardly wait for tea and rehearsal time to be over. We were eager to see their creations!
Some performances were more polished than others but all of the groups enjoyed themselves and all of those watching were extremely encouraging. The effort with many of the costumes was quite extraordinary, and it was good to see the more reserved members putting their heart and soul into having fun. Everyone laughed with rather than laughed at; well done to one and all! The winners were very appropriately the girls who performed a highly original hockey-themed dance! Many congratulations to them!
We were all very grateful for the leisurely start to the day. We were able to enjoy a relaxed breakfast, before spending some quiet time in our rooms. The ‘Tidiest Room Competition’ has begun in earnest, with Harriet, Esme, Elizabeth, Poppy, Renée and Amaryllis currently leading the way (even their toothpaste tubes have been lined up in height order!). Here’s hoping they can maintain their extremely high standards! This morning, the girls were each given a scrapbook, kindly made by Ms French. We hope that the girls will use them to record special moments from the week. They should serve as a wonderful memento in years to come.
The girls had a lot of fun in a local swimming pool. Then it was back to the Stayokay for a bite to eat before heading off to our first fixtures. The girls were extremely excited when they saw their new tour kit; many of them were lost for words!
Everyone was quick to put on their new attire (woolly hats included) and then it was back to the bus. The drive to Kromme Rijn Hockey Club was not the most straightforward thanks to a few diversions but we arrived safe and sound . . . and feeling very excited! It was lovely to see some familiar faces on our arrival: a number of parents and siblings were there to meet us, together with Mr and Mrs Wells. The club gave us a lovely welcome and then it was time to warm up. The B and C teams were the first to play.
The U13C team was a little slow to get going; their legs looked rather heavy! Within the first minute, they found themselves a goal down. They soon settled into the game, however, and by half time were looking more confident, despite the 0-2 score line. Two wonderful goals early in the second half made things very exciting. It was so tense at times! Sadly for us, the Dutch scored with two minutes to go, and we couldn’t quite summon up the energy to score a third goal. The girls should be proud of their performance, however. They showed great strength and determination today.
The B team opened their tour with a fast and furious game against a well-matched opposition. The girls worked well as team and, despite going down by a goal in the first few minutes of the game, they responded magnificently to equalise. Some great attacking play saw us go 2-1 up but we were quickly put under pressure from our opposition, who then equalised. With minutes to go, we found ourselves defending fiercely once again. Unfortunately, we were not quite able to prevent our Dutch opposition from securing a victory. The girls should be proud of their first performance, however; well done to one and all!
The U13A team was involved in another exciting end-to-end game. It would be fair to say that both teams created some fantastic scoring opportunities. The Junior King’s defenders were put under a great deal of pressure during the course of the match but typically remained strong, making it hard for the opposition to break through. That said, midway through the first half, we were losing 1-3. Great tenacity and perseverance from the whole team allowed us to finish the game in style, however, with an encouraging 5-3 victory. What a great start to the tour, girls; well done!
We are hugely grateful to Kromme Rijn for giving us such a warm welcome. We look forward to them returning to Canterbury in the near future.
Our day ended with a delicious pizza supper. We were thrilled that Mr and Mrs Wells were able to join us. We presented them both with their own tour shirts, so that they can wear them at tomorrow’s match, and Mr Wells gave a short motivational speech.
We are all now very tired and ready for a good night’s sleep. Until tomorrow, goodbye!
So we are officially on tour! Everyone was at school bright and early, looking very smart with their new kit bags and rucksacks. It is a real credit to the girls that they have managed to raise enough money to purchase these exciting extras.
Thanks to some clever packing, we managed to squeeze all of the luggage on to the coach. We posed for a quick group photo (note the smart pennant in the background) and then off we set.
The journey took rather longer than anticipated but the girls behaved brilliantly. The tour CD (cleverly created by Mr Smith) was much enjoyed, as were a couple of films.
We were all pleased to eventually arrive at the Stayokay hostel. We had a quick bite to eat, made up our beds in record time and then headed off to the bowling alley. Needless to say many people’s competitive streaks quickly became apparent!
It is now time to settle down for the night. We are looking forward to a leisurely morning tomorrow, followed by our first hockey matches. We look forward to seeing some of you there.
This time tomorrow, we will be well on the way to Holland!
Please do remember to check Twitter regularly for tour news; we intend to tweet regularly each day.
The Blog will also be updated on a daily basis. We shall try to include as many photos as possible!
It hardly seems possible that it is almost time to set off on our long-awaited tour. The final pre-tour meeting has been held, the first items of kit have been handed out and it is now time to get packing. Everyone is getting very excited, staff and pupils alike!