Senior Sports Tour, Edinburgh

On a September afternoon, 33 Senior hockey and netball squad members boarded a flight to Edinburgh for some top match play and bonding.

Our first two hockey fixtures were against Mary Erskine School. The 1sts kicked proceedings off and played with grit and determination. Despite some great defensive work by Natasha and Jessie, and some excellent attacking from Ellie who seized the ball from under the nose of many an opponent, Mary Erskine, who had the advantage of a season that had begun three weeks before ours, took the honours 6-0.

The 2nds also put everything into the game and there were some strong tackles by Joanna in defence and great channelling from Penny in midfield. However once again the extra weeks of training and preparation of Mary Erskine were evident as they overcame us to win 5-0.

We didn’t let these initial losses dampen the mood as we enjoyed a city tour of Edinburgh, topped off with a hearty lunch in the Old Town. Then it was time for netball. The 2nds played first against Holyrood Netball Club. Once again we had some brilliant and determined play, with Jade showcasing some lovely interceptions.  As with hockey, the early start of the Scottish season proved to be something of an advantage, as our opponents won 53-15. The final fixture of the day saw the 1sts take on Heriot-Watt University, some of whose players were four or five years older than ours. But we didn’t let that intimidate us; if anything it spurred on our players, especially Grace who exhausted body and voice by her fab jumping for rebounds and great communication. The score line didn’t represent the quality of our team’s play.

Tired after this match rich day, we enjoyed a meal out and a rather spooky ghost tour of the vaults under the city.

Sunday started with hockey fixtures against Grange Hockey Club. There was a special appearance in goal for our 2nds from Eden (normally an outfield player), who made some good deflections against fierce attacking. Our girls also made some lovely attacking breaks and had good one-on-one play, but alas our Scottish opponents were victorious.

Our 1st team managed to score two goals within the space of one minute, thanks to some great movement between the forwards and midfielders, and gave our opposition a tough match, resulting in a 2-2 draw.

The afternoon brought the final fixtures of the tour. The 1st netball team’s match was an exciting affair, with lots of skill and physicality on display from both teams. Although our opponents’ shooting was consistent, our new arrivals in defence, Nia and Charlotte, successfully forced them into silly mistakes. The final score, 23-41, was not representative of the great teamwork we had shown on court.

Our 2nds showed the same ferocity as they had day before, with some great movement in the circle from Mieke and Freddy and perfectly placed feeding from Impy. We put up a great fight, but the quality connections in the Scottish team brought them a 28-14 win.

Finally, our newly-formed 3rds, had their moment; great interceptions from Millie and Filipa helped them to our first win of the tour 16-10.

Before we headed home, awards for ‘player of the squad’ were presented to:

1st hockey- Jessie Lennihan

2nd hockey- Margot Birch

1st netball- Holly Castle

2nd netball- Jade Taylor

3rd netball- Millie Dunlop

We also said our thanks to the brilliant teachers who came with us: Mrs Whitton, Mrs Lock, Miss Pratt and Miss Blackwood. Miss Blackwood reminded us that “the score matters, but right now the process of becoming a team matters more”, and I can confirm that if you looked at our squad now, you wouldn’t be able to tell we come from different year groups.

Holly Castle, Sport Ribbon