Follow the Netballers on Tour in Hong Kong and Australia

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Leg Five- Cairns 

After an early morning flight from Brisbane we all arrived in sunny Cairns for the final stop of this incredible tour. The girls wasted no time in checking out the hotel pool and the nearby golden beach before exploring the picturesque town of Port Douglas in the evening. The following day after a lazy morning by the pool it was time for our final fixtures of the tour against St. Monica's college.

Match report- Hockey: Captain Frederica Robbins

We were determined to end tour on a high and losing was not an option. We were once again faced with the challenge of playing on grass but instead of letting this intimidate us we used what we had learnt from our match in Sydney and adapted our game accordingly. We fought hard in the heat and maintained possession of the ball, after a number of strikes on goal Fred finally scored resulting in a Bromsgrove lead of 1-0 at half time. The ball barely left Bromsgrove’s possession in the second half of the game. The few attempts that St Monica did have at goal were well saved by Hannah Taylor and Bromsgrove succeeded in conceding no goals the entire game. Bromsgrove secured another goal set up by Fred and executed by Izzy. A fantastic way to end our final game.

Match report- Netball team 1: Captains Imogen Sapstead and Alice Vaughan

In Cairns the first team finished their final netball match of tour with an impressive 38-8 win. The team dominated and played with confidence throughout the match with Chloe and Immy’s excellent shooting and overall play. The whole team played well down the court with Mille Chapman making numerous interceptions in the centre court supported by Alice at WA to get the ball to the attacking third. This paired with strong defence from Lois Brown gave the opposition very little chance to score. Exceptional play also came from Carly (c) and Jess (GK), for both whom it was their last match in a Bromsgrove team, their enthusiasm and knowledge of the game has helped to drive the team throughout the tour.

Match report- Netball team 2: Captain Sophie Zagraja

The final game of tour proved to be the most competitive. Fuelled with hope from our last match and back up to full strength we were excited as we stood in the locker room at St Monica’s. We used some dynamic and engaging warm up drills to get us into the zone. The possession and alertness these quick drills promoted was effective from the starting whistle however the oppositions strong defence gave way to a 8-2 defeat after the first quarter where we struggled to get the ball to shooters Oliva and Amy.
Success was in Bromsgrove’s sight as we settled into the second quarter. There was some fantastic defending from Claire and Sophie who worked hard to move that ball back up the court. Feeding into our circle became more consistent with Sophie have outstanding forward vision down the court spotting opportunities and executing these well. We were back into the game. Unfortunately St Monica’s took the lead again in the third and this time we were unable to catch up. The final quarter was intense. We had to play our best netball yet and we did. Despite Charlotte and Abbi scoring a number of goals we failed to make up the difference. As we bring the matches of tour to a close it is evident that the second team have developed remarkably and this has been reflected in recent scores.

The tour finished off with a bang with all of us spending the final day on the incredible Great Barrier Reef. After a choppy ride out to the reef we all got their snorkels and fins on and went exploring the corals and marine life which the Great Barrier Reef is home to. The girls swam with turtles, hordes of fish species including clown fish (nemo) and even a reef shark! Alongside this some girls even went in a Helicopter and got to view the reef from above which was a spectacular experience whilst others went down in a semi-sub to see the reef from a diver’s perspective without having to get wet!!! The highlight for many this was a fantastic way to end tour.

Upon our return to dry land it was time for the end of tour dinner. The girls all got dressed up ready for our evening in Port Douglas at 'chillies' restaurant. Once the food had been served the girls enjoyed a tour themed quiz to test them on their knowledge of the past 3 weeks. Questions included facts and figures on the places we have been as well as funny things people have done and said whilst we have been away. Following this it was time for the tour awards. The big winners of the evening were:

Lois Brown- Netball Sportswomen of Tour
Freddie Robins- Hockey Sportswoman of Tour
Georgie Lord- Trooper of Tour
Chloe Crean- Personality of Tour

This has been a truly memorable tour for all pupils and staff involved. We have had many incredible experiences varying from the light show in Hong Kong to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, holding a koala at Australia Zoo, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and learning to surf in Surfer’s Paradise playing a little bit of sport in between. This has been a trip of a lifetime and all the girls can't wait to return to Australia in the future. The girls were fantastic ambassadors for the school throughout conducting themselves faultlessly and making the most of this unique opportunity. They have laughed a lot, sung a lot and learnt so much about themselves and their peers. They come back a tight group of friends bursting to share their experiences with family and friends at home.


Leg Four- Brisbane 

Touch down in Brisbane and we couldn’t quite believe that our cheery Auzzie bus driver really was called Bruce!! Brisbane holiday village was a perfect place for us to stay; each group had their own chalet where they could cook, relax and unpack knowing that we were going to be here for the next few nights. The first night we went down to the pool for a BBQ then spent the rest of the night snuggled under our duvets on the sofa watching a film.

We woke up buzzing with excitement at the thought of Australia Zoo today, something that many of us had been looking forward too since we arrive in Australia. After stopping for a couple of photo opportunities and a lot of singing on the coach we were there! For all of us it was a jam packed day with many taking the opportunity to have their photo taken holding a snake, koala or alligator whilst other rode a camel and Amy and Ellie even went in the tiger enclosure! In the Crocaseum we saw a range of birds and of course crocodiles although it was the snakes that proved the most frightening for one member of the group who ran out of the stadium petrified. After about half an hour of trying Miss Law finally managed to get a selfie with a kangaroo, her biggest achievement on tour so far!! A most memorable day for all.

Another sunny day and it is beach time! This time we travelled to Surfers Paradise. Whilst many relaxed some hit the waves for a surf lesson. After many hilarious miss attempts everyone made it up on their boards with some taking to it naturally whilst for others it was a little more of a challenge! After a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sun on the extensive beach we headed into ‘the bush’ to Warwick to be hosted by Scotts College. We dined with the boarders then spent the evening socialising with them in the boarding house. It was interesting for us to compare the routines and facilities with those at Bromsgrove.
The morning was an opportunity for a little bit of group bonding as we attempted to talk to a local waterfall and have a game of rounders in the local park! Unfortunately the former was called off prematurely when a massive snake crossed our path and we all ran back to the car park screaming. After lunch we got back into the zone and ready to play our hosts.

Match report- Hockey: Captain Kat Walton

The hockey girls were in high spirits welcoming back our goalie Hannah Taylor from injury. We dominated the first half. Despite the ball being in the oppositions half in the later part of the game a combination of good teamwork and strong defending resulted in no goals being conceded. The attacking forwards showed great skill with Fred scoring a hat trick resulting in a 3-0 win. We are all set for a repeat performance in our last match in Cairns.

Match report- Netball team 1: Captain Millie Chapman

Bromsgrove struggled to get into the match starting slowly and we were behind at the end of the first quarter. In the second and third quarter Chloe at Goal Attack and Immy at Goal Shooter worked well together with the assistance of Carly at centre. By the end of the third quarter the score was even- Bromsgrove had to step it up if they wanted to win, and they did. In the last quarter the defence unit of Jess (GK), Lois (GD) and Alice (WD) we effective in turning over a number of balls and bring play back to our attacking third. The game ended in the opposition’s favour with Bromsgrove narrowly missing out on another victory.

Match report- Netball team 2: Captain Paige Maddox

Bromsgrove team 2 had their best game yet playing well in a new structure. Some excellent defending by Jemma and more great shooting from Charlotte held in the centre by Sophie Z meant that Bromsgrove were well matched to their talented opponents. Whilst Scotts won the first and third quarter we came back in the second and despite a fourth quarter score of 6-1 to Bromsgrove we were not quite able to make up the difference. It was good to have Ellie back strengthening the wing after a period of illness but Elle was missed in our defence line. We hope to come out fighting and at full strength for our final game in a couple of days.

Tour trooper Leg 4- Charlotte Fraser

Leg Three- Sydney

Sunny Sydney lived up to all expectations and more. Our first evening and we all piled on the Ferry from the harbour over to Manley for a bite to eat and to familiarise ourselves with the city. It is one of the most beautiful things to cruise past the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House as they are all lit up at night. The next morning was a highlight for many as they climbed the Harbour Bridge for undoubtedly the most stunning views of Sydney. Meanwhile the others explored the city, visiting view points at the botanical gardens, going to the observatory or simply having a wonder. In the afternoon we headed to Ascham School where we met up with our billets. We were blown away by some of the places we were staying; whilst some had their own pool house others were enjoying the games rooms in the extensive luxury houses which our new friends lived in. However it was the home cooked meals and having someone to do our laundry that was the real highlight for us. And of course experiencing a real Australian home, and getting to know them and their families which we hope will come and visit us in England in the future.
Day ten and after a half day tour of Sydney including the Harbour, Bondi beach, the botanical gardens and much more. Then friend tuned to foe as we faced our billets in the first of our two fixtures in Sydney.

Match report- Hockey: Captain Izzy Richards

We were prepared to face a tough match on the back of our outstanding victory against Ballerat. The hockey team were up against our billets at Ascham School, one of the top girls schools in Australia. We started the match well and used our team spirit and determination to win to pile the pressure on early. The teams were evenly matched with both teams having a number of opportunities at goal. However the half time score of 2-0 to them did not reflect this. We regrouped at half time and came out fighting. There were some fantastic group performances from Frederica Robbins and Phoebe Schofield setting up a goal which was finished off by Georgina Lord who scored her sixth goal in two games. The match ended 2-1 and despite feeling robbed of an equalising goal in the final minutes. Bring on Brisbane!!

Match report- Netball team 1: Captain Chloe Crean

As we started the game the defence were strong with Lois Brown making a number of interceptions supported by Jess Dunn’s great commination. Despite this strong pair work at the back Ascham took an early lead. Bromsgrove remained committed and motivated. Alice Vaughan linked the defence and the attack playing short quick passes and unitedly commutating and alternating Goal Attack Chloe Crean and Goal Shooter Imogen Sapstead out of the D allowing space for either one to receive outstanding passes from Millie Chapman or Carly Nutt. The game was intense them matching us goal for goal however as the final whistle blew Bromsgrove lead 32-31 in our closest game next.

Match report- Netball team 2: Captain Charlotte Fraser

Our third match saw our best play yet. We stayed determined throughout and we saw some great goals and defending that helped set back Ascham. Despite this, the opposition proved strong and we failed to catch up the lead they made in the first quarter. The tracking from Jemma Salmon together with strong forward vision of Sophie Zagraja and accurate shooting from both Charlotte and Abbi proved particular strengths. We hope to see a more favourable score further up the coast as we develop as a team and use these strengths.

After saying goodbye to our fantastic hosts at Ascham school we all headed back into Sydney where a number of the girls enjoyed an exhilarating thunder jet boat ride round the harbour. During their 30minute ride they took in all of the sights at high speed and was an experience they all thoroughly enjoyed and for many a highlight of their time in Sydney. Following the jet boat ride all the girls boarded a more relaxed and slow paced boat ready for their harbour cruise and lunch. With the sun shining it was a perfect opportunity for the girls to relax on deck and take in the incredible views that surrounded them. Georgie Lord and Abbi Davies even managed to get on the captains deck and have a go at driving the boat!!!! Luckily we all made it safely back to shore where we boarded the coach ready to face our next school Northern Beach College in Manly.

Match report- Hockey: Captain Phoebe Schofield

Match 2 in Sydney and Bromsgrove were initially caught off guard when they discovered they were to play on grass- a first form many on the team. The team adapted their game quickly and worked hard with high intensity throughout, encouraging and supporting each other. Despite this many of the skills we would usually use to gain advantage against our opponent proved hard to execute on this unfamiliar surface and Northern Beaches crept ahead. Just before the half time whistle we lost our highest goal scorer to date Gerogi Lord to injury- a massive blow for the team. She is a strong forward and holds excellent structure so with this we were forced to adapt our game yet further. We persisted in the second half, coming close to a number of goals from Kat and Freddie but unfortunately their defence held strong. A massive shout out goes to Jess Dunn, first team Netball player who played in goal supported by a strong defence line to prevent many Northern Beaches goals.

Match report- Netball team 1: Captain Jess Dunn

It was clear from the off that Northern Beaches took their Netball very seriously. A series of 45 Netball courts greeted us as we drove down the drive and we knew that we would have to bring our A game. Bromsgrove stayed calm and focused and despite strong defence from Jess and Lois Northern Beaches slipped into the lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter we came back fighting. Chloe and Immy worked well with the support of Alice and Carly to put us back in the game. The third quarter saw play nearly goal for goal as these well matched teams battled it out for victory. However it was Bromsgrove that reigned supreme after pulling away in the final quarter.

The girls all had an incredible 5 days in Sydney and completely fell in love with the city. Highlights include the Harbour Bridge Climb, the jet boat ride, the stunning views of the harbour from the botanical gardens and then beating our billets by one goal in netball and enjoying a home cooked meal. No matter which highlight was chosen it is safe to say that Sydney has made a big impact on all 35 Bromsgrove girls as well as the 3 staff.

Tour trooper Leg 3- Georgi Lord

Leg Two- Melbourne

We touched down in chilly Melbourne after spending most of day five travelling. Our hotel was on the outskirts of the CBD in the centre of the city and perfectly placed for exploring over the next couple of days. There was no time for jet lag as we were straight off to play hockey against West Victoria Select in the morning.

Match report- Hockey: Captain Emma Lloyd-Jones
Our first match in Australia started enthusiastically with the team working well together and dominating from the start. Scoring the first two goals very early boosted our confidence and more goals followed with us leading to 5-0 lead at half time. In the second half Bromsgrove continued to dominate with the match ending 10-0. Georgina Lord scored an impressive 5 goals, Frederica Robbins scored a hat trick whilst Emma Lloyd-Jones and Izzy Richards also contributed to the impressive win. This was only possible by support from other members of the team. This was a fantastic performance from all and we are now fuelled for a repeat further up the coast. After the match we got dropped off at the MCG so that we could catch a game of AFL. Although we spent much of the game trying to work out the rules a great time was had by all. It was a fantastic experience to watch two local teams, Geelong and Melbourne, fight it out in one of the best known sports grounds in the world which at full capacity can seat up to 100,000 spectators. We walked back to the hotel through Federation Square soaking up Australia and trying to adjust to the stark contrast between here and Hong Kong. In the evening we all wondered down to Southbank which was lined with restaurants and ice cream parlours. It was beautifully lit up and provided a much needed opportunity to relax after our hectic day. We even bumped into a couple of Bromsgrove teachers who were out visiting one of last year’s gappies!
In the morning we strolled back through Melbourne to the Rob Laver Arena, home of the Australian Open. We virtually skipped down the corridors with excitement at the thought of who had been there before us. The tour took us into the changing rooms, executive boxes and onto various courts where the like of Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal had previously won grand slam titles. A quick tram ride back into the city and it was off towards Ballarat for our Netball matches.

Match report- Netball team 1: Captain Carly Nutt

Bromsgrove’s Australian debut began in Melbourne against local club Mount Clear. A strong team performance earned a convincing victory of 31-14. Both a combination of sharp shooting from Chloe and Immy, partnered with a well worked centre court consisting of Alice, Carly and Millie gave us a solid advantage from the offset. Excellent communication from our back two, Lois and Jess, created consistent defence pressure which gained us possession throughout. Our collective and collaborative team effort earned us a well-deserved first win on Aussie turf.

Match report- Netball team 2: Captain Elle Feenan

We approached our second round of matches with resilience showing the strength of our team work and determination to perform to the best of our ability. A number of fantastic goals were scored by Charlotte Fraser and Abbi Davis but yet again our defence were challenged. Despite some outstanding play in the defending circle from Elle Feenan and Taome Jennings we were narrowly beaten by a very strong side.

We could have not been made to feel more welcome. The support from families of the opposition was great and they made us afternoon tea for when we had finished; finger sandwiches, scones, cakes the lot just so that we would feel at home. As our short stint in Melbourne comes to a close many of us have fell in love and do not want to leave. But Sydney and the next leg of our tour is calling- it has a lot to live up to!

Tour trooper leg 2- Georgi Lord

Leg One- Hong Kong

The girls were in good spirits if not a little nervous as we headed down to Heathrow. After a smooth check in and a spot of shopping we boarded our flight for Hong Kong. Many of the girls slept for most of the 16 hour flight whilst others made the most of the vast movie selection on board. Despite being late afternoon the humidity and heat hit us as soon as we stepped out of the airport. A quick turn around and we were straight down to the harbour to watch the spectacular light and laser show and see stunning views of the city at night.

Day three and we got up early to catch the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island where the girls were free to explore, having the opportunity to go up the longest escalator in the world, visit the botanical gardens and zoo or simply wander the street and soak up the culture. We then headed back to main land Hong Kong for out matches.

Match report- Netball team 1: Captain Lois Brown

Bromsgrove had a great first quarter Chloe quickly settled into her new position as Goal Attack and managed to find Immy and work very well with her securing a first quarter lead of 6-1. In the second quarter St Pauls came back, Bromsgrove then regrouped in the 3rd. Carley’s centre passes were consistently successful in being converted to goals. Lois was solid at the back offering numerous turnovers again being supported by the wings to convert to yet more goals. Final score 28-10 win.

Match report- Netball team 2: Captain Abbi Davis

Watching team 1 secure such a convincing victory fuelled us with anticipation for our match! We had a promising start adjusting well to playing with each other for the first time. We fought hard for the ball but our play was matched by the other team who unfortunately then managed to execute the final conversion to goals with confidence. The conditions were harsh; experiencing high levels of humidity and 38 degree heat. In the final quarter we struggled to keep up with the intensity of the game and unfortunately we were outplayed.

Match report- Hockey: Freddie Robbins

After an afternoon supporting the netball all 16 players were excited for the challenge ahead. We were not intimidated playing in the Hong Kong National Hockey Stadium where all major international games usually take place. We started well showing our attacking intension from the off. However it was soon evident that Hong Kong Select being a selective regional side and already acclimatised to the conditions were going to be a tough opponent for our newly formed team. Hannah Taylor performed heroics in goal making many fine saved until injury forced her to retire early from the game. We were relentless and battled hard until the final whistle, however on this occasion they got the better of us. We are now fuelled from our comeback in Melbourne.

We woke up to rain with mixed feelings; concerned about the visibility for our impending tour but hopeful that it would help with the humidity. Richard, our tour guide, met us at the hotel where we then took the tunnel back to Hong Kong Island. Luckily the weather cleared and the views from the top of the tram were exceptional. We then visited Victoria Park, Repulse Bay and went to Aberdeen market which is renowned for its selection of handbags and purses. For lunch we took a taxi boat out to the floating restaurant where we enjoyed Dim Sum and the students had the opportunity to dress for photos in traditional Chinese wear. Our day finished with a boat tour, all in all a fantastic finish to the first leg of our trip.

Tour trooper leg 1- Izzy Richards
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