Barcelona Tour Report 2017
With so many fantastic things taking place in such a short space of time it is difficult to know where to start.
This has without doubt been the most successful of the previous 6 European tours that we have taken away.
The Clubs were great hosts, the meals were perfect for the players; the itinerary worked out fantastically well and the small changes that we (Dr. Hammond) made as we went just enhanced it even further; the weather was amazing, the tourists were not only well-behaved but were good company; the bus driver (Danny) was brilliant and exceptionally accommodating; the training sessions all went very well; the parental support was amazing throughout the whole tour – indeed on Monday night 65 of us sat down to dinner; the hotel (as always) was perfect and they were very good with our pupils; the excursions worked out superbly well; the staff (Mr. Means, Mrs Pearce and Miss Williams) all of whom were on their first tour were not only extremely helpful, thoughtful and supportive but also enjoyed it (I think!) and the Spanish skills of Dr. Hammond were required on many occasions and finally……… the hockey was some of the best we have played in Spain – it was certainly the most successful from a sheer results’ perspective.
The Spanish Clubs (Egara, Athletic Terrassa, CD Terrassa and Linia 22) are some of the best clubs in Spain. Indeed CD Terrassa is Spain’s oldest club and Egara is the second oldest, whilst the facilities at Athletic Terrassa (3 full size Astros and a full size indoor pitch) along with its state of the art clubhouse and viewing facilities make it a joy to visit. Likewise Egara and CD Terrassa are ‘proper’ sports clubs with fantastic facilities that more than rival any of our National League clubs.
Training in the Olympic Stadium was also a joy for all whilst the girls played Linia 22 in the Spanish National Stadium which was also a great experience (even if they were still doing a ‘minor’ construction work).
There are many facets to a tour that involves taking thirty six 11, 12 and 13 year olds away to a major European City for 6 days and the scope for things to go wrong is vast. However, whilst the tourists had a fantastic time they were also very mature, sensible and trustworthy – which they needed to be when dealing with airport check-in procedures, especially when you are trying to conceal the fact that you are actually on a sports tour so that you don’t incur any extra luggage costs. Indeed when Archie was asked at Luton airport what was in his huge goalkeeper bag he didn’t panic he simply replied ‘telescopes’! And when Elisabeth at Barcelona airport was confronted with the check-in lady stating ‘that bag is bigger than you’ was then asked what was in the bag, Have you got a body in there?! Without batting an eye lid replied, ‘towels, clothes and toiletries’! What a cool customer!
The airports are always the tricky parts of the tour, trusting children with hand luggage, boarding passes and passports and then allowing them to look after those items whilst going shopping in the departure lounge gives plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong however, apart from a passport left in the back of a seat chair (a different chair to where that person was actually sitting!) and a brief panic in Barcelona airport only to find that person’s passport in the end of a Beeston bag was about the extent of our airport dramas.
A tour like this is certainly an experience that the players will never forget and they will have, on many levels, matured as people. Travelling as part of a large group requires a great deal of individual responsibility and I am delighted to report that no individual or year group let the team down. It would be wrong of me to suggest that any year group was better than the other or that the girls were more sensible than the boys. The staff were able to trust each and every individual and thankfully we were not let down.
Saturday (Day 1) is always a long day. We met at Beeston at 6.30am and arrived at the hotel at about 5.30pm (Spanish time). Having spent all that time travelling, after checking in and sorting out rooms we walked to a local park where the traditional game of football took place between our players and the local Spanish children. Miss Williams couldn’t wait to get involved and I am led to believe that we came out on top. Whilst many of the girls relaxed on the rope swing others took part in Gymnastics with the local girls. A fantastic dinner of pasta, chicken, potatoes and fruit was then served up in the hotel where the Websters arrived just in time to join us.
Sunday (Day 2) saw a 9am wake-up however, with the time difference of 1 hour ahead and the clocks moving forward another hour this was actually a 7am wake-up with a 7.30am breakfast before a 8.30am depart to train at CD Terrassa. Hockey in this region is huge and all I could negotiate with the club was half a pitch for an hour from 11.30am – 12.30pm due to the fact that the demand for pitch time is massive on a Sunday. Nonetheless, getting all of our players ‘acclimatised’ to training and playing in 20 degrees was useful for all involved!
Having arrived at CD Terrassa half an hour or so before training we discovered that the Men’s National League match that we had come to see was actually a very important match for both CD Terrassa and FC Barcelona as both teams were fighting to stay amongst the top 10 teams in Spain and therefore we could expect to see a highly partisan crowd at CD. Indeed I had received a message the previous evening to ask our players to all wear red (the colour of CD Terrassa) to help support their players. Indeed if you watch the tour video you will see some of our players join in the celebrating with the CD Terrassa players after they score their 2nd goal.
Having spent several hours at CD Terrassa we headed for the beach in Barcelona where it was time to relax and enjoy the weather. It would be fair to say that the sea is never warm at this time of the year (I know from previous experience) however, that didn’t stop our hearty Beestonians from jumping in, head first in several circumstances. After that, Touch Rugby, Netball, Volleyball, relaxing and Pole Vaulting into the Mediterranean all took place. Dinner was then taken in McDonald’s, although this was a little time-consuming due to the fact that the automatic ordering machines were not working at this time.
Monday (Day 3) saw us visit probably my favourite club in Spain (Egara) where we have always been looked after fabulously well in the past for a 2 hr training session in the morning. Egara is only a 15 minute drive from the hotel and is therefore ideally situated to use as a training base and also has fantastic facilities. After an excellent morning session in the sun, the rain came down very lightly whilst we were eating lunch before the sun reappeared as we departed for our afternoon excursions. The girls visited Casa Mila a house designed by Antoni Gaudi and then walked into the centre of Barcelona where they spent some time in El Corte Inglés (a huge department store) before stopping for ice cream and taking some photos of another of Gaudi’s houses, Casa Battló. The boys visited the Barcelona Football stadium the Nou Camp and bought souvenir’s from the shop – the most bizarre being the little pot of grass from the pitch bought for 5 euros!
And so after 2 training sessions and several excursions the players were eager to get started on the matches. The boys facing probably their toughest game first up whilst the girls were due to face probably their easiest. And so it proved with the Boys 1st drawing 6 – 6 having been 4 – 0 up and the Boys 2nds going down 5 – 1 whilst the Girls 1st were dominant against Linia 22 winning 7 – 1, the Girls 2nds found things more difficult and went down 6 – 3 although they were 3 – 2 up at one stage. Rafe grabbed all 6 goals for the Boys 1st VII and Rosie grabbed 5 for the Girls 1st VII. Egara then managed to cater for 65 of us for dinner due to the fact that the parental support was so fantastic.
Tuesday (Day 4) started with an early rise and a 50 minute journey up to the Olympic Mountain where all of the facilities are based. It must have been quite some Olympic Games to be a part of as the views over the City from up high are quite spectacular. Although the facilities are now 25 years old the hockey pitches are in fantastic condition as no local club has ever made the facility their home ground and therefore the pitches and stadium have had very little use during that time.
The two hours of training that took place that morning in 18 – 20 degree heat was some of the best, most focused training I have seen from this group of players and every one of them left the pitch a better player. The afternoon was spent only a short coach journey away at Pueblo Espanyol which is a small walled area which is a reconstruction of all of the different areas of Spain. It was originally built in 1929, however, it was greatly enhanced for the 1992 Olympics.
The evening saw the Boys taking on CD Terrassa and the Girls playing Athletic Terrassa. All teams had successful evenings with the Boys 1st’s winning 5 – 3, the Girls 1st’s winning 7 – 2, the Boys 2nd’s drawing 3 – 3 and the Girl’s 2nd’s winning 5 – 1. Dinner was then served at CD Terrassa where 54 of us where fed and watered and were witness to Archie and Hari receiving their 1st team colours. Congratulations boys.
Wednesday (Day 5) would have seen an 8.30am transfer back to the Olympic Stadium for an hour’s training however, after several late nights Dr. Hammond was not only able to liaise with Danny re the pick-up time but was also able to move the training from a 9.30am start to a 10.30am start. This was much appreciated by all of us! After training we managed to sneak into the Olympic Stadium to see the track on which Britain’s Linford Christie powered to the Gold Medal in 9.96 seconds and then jumped back on the bus to have lunch in a local park. After lunch it was straight into the heart of Barcelona – Las Ramblas and specifically a visit to La Boqueria, an undercover market with some fantastic food, fruit and sweet stalls. It was here that Bertie (after many failed attempts at various venues) caught his first pigeon and some of the boys bought what was without doubt one of the strangest gifts I have ever seen!
After safely negotiating 36 tourists in one of the busiest markets in Europe it was back on the bus for the 45 minute transfer to CD Terrassa where the girls were due to play and then up to Athletic Terrassa who were the boys opponents for the evening. If ever there was a way to end the Beeston Hockey careers of our Year 8’s this was it. The Girls 1sts had a tough battle winning 3 – 2 with Kate, Honoria and Rosie scoring the goals and the girls 2nds had things a little easier winning 7-1 with goals being scored by no fewer than 5 girls, Rebe scoring 3 of them. The boys 2nds were involved in a huge battle with Athletic Terrassa only managing to scrape home 3 -1 in the final few minutes with goals by Joseph, Cameron and Sam whilst the boys 1sts put right was has unquestionably been a frustrating season with an outstanding display of team, passing hockey. Goals from Rafe 4, Hari 3, Josh 2, Henry 2, Toby 1, Bertie 1 and Archie 1 just reinforced what could have been.
One of the main reasons for organising these tours is to hopefully help instill a love of hockey into the players and to give them memories that will last a lifetime. Here are a few of the things that I and the other staff will remember:
Henry who, before the tour, had played for the Boys 3rds, Boys 4ths and the Girls 2nds this year, whilst on the tour not only played for the Boys 2nds also had 5 minutes on the pitch for the 1sts and scored two goals! I am sure he will never forget this year’s hockey.
Cameron winning a tackle in his own ‘D’ and then dribbling straight through all of the players in the middle of the pitch and scoring at the other end.
Rafe scoring 13 goals and taking his goal tally for the School to approximately 200!
Bertie catching a pigeon and then the pigeon getting his own back by leaving his mark on the back of Bertie’s shirt!
The four Year 6 girls not only scoring goals, saving goals and holding their own on the pitch but I thought the way that they conducted themselves and embraced the tour was a huge plus for the future.
Eliza asking for four scoops of ice cream and being told in no uncertain terms by the other girls that three was plenty.
Charlie in the first 5 minutes of being in the Park in Terrassa holding an audience with about 5 Spanish Children before the bi-annual game of ‘mob’ football commenced.
Boris pretending to be the President of Spain when Romilly rang his room to ask him to wake-up and go to breakfast.
The glass blowing in Place Espanyol, where several children bought gifts for family, such as glass cats, seals, snails, although bulls and horses were most popular. They used coloured powders to create amazing variation, and were quite happy creating to order.
Staff, parents and pupil touch rugby on the beach was great fun, where the experience and guile of Geoff and Jack Webster along with the quick hands of Mr. Means and Mr. Pallister was well matched by the rapid feet across the sand and nimbleness of their much younger opposition.
The Year 8 boys goat’s head purchase, to scare the girls was an interesting buy from the market, and is not one that will be forgotten in a while. Apparently it only cost €1.75!
Mr. Williams and Mr. Thoday finding themselves at a motorway tollbooth after a wrong turn, whilst out cycling is not something that I would think they are keen to repeat.
However, they say ‘what goes on on tour, stays on tour’, so I had better end this little section here!
I am grateful to everyone, pupils, staff and parents for making this such a fantastic experience for all involved. The future of Beeston Hockey looks very bright.
I wish you all a wonderful Easter.
Barcelona 2017 Results
Team Opposition Result Goal Scorers
1st Boys Egara Drew 6 – 6 Rafe 6
1st Boys CD Terrassa Won 5 – 3 Rafe 3, Hari 2
1st Boys Athletic Terrassa Won 14 – 0 RL 4, HM 2, JM 2, HT 2,
TP 1, BP 1, AC 1
1st Girls Linia 22 Won 7 – 1 Rosie 5, Kate 1, Tilly 1
1st Girls Athletic Terrassa Won 7 – 2 KW 2, ID 2, HB-L 2, Rosie 1
1st Girls CD Terrassa Won 3 – 2 Rosie, 1 Kate 1, Honoria 1
2nd Boys Egara Lost 5 – 1 Cameron 1
2nd Boys CD Terrassa Drew 3 – 3 Sam 2, Cameron 1
2nd Boys Athletic Terrassa Won 3 – 1 Joseph 1, Cameron 1, Sam 1
2nd Girls Linia 22 Lost 6 – 3 Rebe 2, Alice S 1
2nd Girls Athletic Terrassa Won 5 – 1 Alice S 4, India 1
2nd Girls CD Terrassa Won 7 – 1 RH 3, AS 1, Alice A-N 1
ED 1, ID 1
Played Won Drew Lost
12 8 2 2
Team Captain / Vice-Captain
1st Boys Hari / Archie
2nd Boys Bobby / Rupert
1st Girls Rosie R / Emily
2nd Girls Alice S / Sylvie