Shield

South Africa Sports Tour Diary 2015 23.07.15

On the last day of the Summer Term, twenty year 12 and year 13 students along with four members of staff embarked on a Sports Tour of South Africa.

This is their diary………

Friday – arrived safely and the girls put in a good training session. Our Carnivores meat feast dinner was a great experience. The staff did a special welcome song for us as well…. Fantastic.

Saturday – GAME DAY. An early start and arrived at Cornwall College ready to play!

Netball – Lost 40 – 17. The girls started REALLY well and took an early lead. Cornwall then found their form with superb shooting. The score certainly didn’t reflect the game, it was very competitive and Loughborough were great.

Hockey – Won 4-3. A very positive first game, starting well with two lovely goals from Siena and Evie P. We had a dip in form and lacked work rate, but then re-grouped and dug deep to score two more nice goals from Siena and Ellie A. Overall a fantastic start.

We enjoyed lovely post match hospitality from Cornwall College and then headed off to Leesidi Cultural Village. This was a great insight into the traditional tribes of South Africa, watching and taking part in some African dancing and then enjoying a gorgeous traditional African buffet style dinner.

Sunday – we all enjoyed a nice lie in and a day at the Gold Reef City Theme Park in Johannesburg, starting off with the group on the biggest roller coaster all together, taking over the entire ride. We are currently supporting Federer before heading out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Monday

We have had a lovely experience at the Welwechia market….the girls have done extremely well with their bartering abilities….landing themselves with some great bargains.  We then made our way to play against a wonderful school, Woodlands. This has to be the most welcoming school I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

For the hockey is was a 10-0 win, playing nice hockey, but we were heads and shoulders above them.

For the netball, the girls played extremely well and yet again were the strongest team by far and won 33-2. The post-match refreshments was absolutely wonderful…. I think our girls have made friends for life….it was fantastic to see.

Tuesday

A nice early start against Hoerskool Marias Viljoen, a big African School, the netball was extremely strong….we played extremely well and did not give up, the score did not reflect the game, it was the first quarter that took us off guard….we then got into our stride and went from strength to strength. Losing 30-15.

For the hockey this was our first game on grass…it was an interesting first 10 minutes, which was sadly when they scored their only goal. We then got back into our own game and played extremely well. Against a team that play on this surface every week, our girls were outstanding, which was a true testament to their hard work and determination. We drew the game 1-1.

We made a long journey down to Pilanesberg Game Reserve; the girls checked into their mini houses, it was a beautiful setting. Our first game drive was an unbelievable experience; we saw so many things, we were so lucky; lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, rhinos and many more. This has to be the most successful game drive I have ever experienced.

Wednesday

Not everyone enjoys waking up at 5.30am, but when you wake up to male lions eating their breakfast, a family of rhinos, a pride of lions and actually witnessing a leopard hunt water hogs, I couldn’t think of a better way to start a day. Many people never see a leopard and what we saw today will stay with us forever.

We then went to Sun City; a beautiful water park on a beautiful day. Everyone started in the wave pool, then hitting the flumes and rides and then doing a spot of sunbathing. It was perfect!

This has been yet another fantastic day.

Thursday

Sadly with our first week over we head to very different weather in Cape Town-rain and wind! It would appear that our beautiful weather has come to an end. Due to the bad weather we were unable to go up Table Mountain, so instead we had a nice freshen up and hit the Aquarium.

Friday 

Unfortunately the rain and wind has increased so we were unable to play the hockey game. We arrived in time to play with the local Langa Township kids. The netball game moved to indoors, and the girls were absolutely fantastic, it was the best display of netball on the tour. The Langa Township were fantastic, with one player having South Africa Country trials. We played together and kept working extremely hard and we fully deserved the win.

We then went on a tour of the oldest township area within Cape Town. This is an eye opener to say the least. Some of the sights were unbelievable and something I’m sure the girls will not forget….it made them realise how lucky they really are. Staying in the township we had lunch at Sheila’s house. She is a wonderful lady and the food was fantastic. We had a local band playing throughout the meal and then our girls had a go….the Loughborough High Music School would have been proud.

Saturday
Waking up on Nelson Mandela’s birthday and ready to visit Robben Island was a real treat. It was a little touch and go at one point as to whether we would be able to make the short ferry crossing, due to poor weather in the night, but we made it safe and sound.  Robben Island was a fantastic experience and extremely educational. A journey around the Island and through the prison was a surreal yet rewarding experience, one in which I’m sure the girls will remember. With a brief stop for lunch we headed over to Stellenbosch for the Eagle Encounter and Bird Sanctuary area. This was rather interactive in the end and the girls were certainly kept on their toes. Finishing off the day of sight-seeing at the Somerset West Cheetah Outreach Centre, provided the girls with the opportunity to go into the Cheetah’s compounds and stroke them, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
What started out as a rather miserable day weather wise, ended up with the sun shining- perfect!

Sunday
Looking forward to another day of sight-seeing, our first stop was Hout Bay, to take a short trip to see the seals at Duiker Island. This was a rather rough ride in areas but the seals were great. The weather was still a little cloudy but thankfully as we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve the sky was clearing. With a quick photo stop at the bottom we started our 45 minute cliff side walk along the most beautiful stretch of Coast line, it was truly breath taking. Enjoying lunch with the most glorious view, we then made our next climb up to the lighthouse for a fantastic vision of False Bay. This was well worth the walk.
Our final stop was to visit the gorgeous penguins at Boulders Beach. This penguin colony was extremely entertaining and fascinating to observe.

Monday
Unfortunately due to high winds Table Mountain was shut so we treated ourselves to a spot of shopping at the Waterfront.

Now back to it…playing netball and hockey against Paarl Gymnasia; we had heard that we were going to have some extremely tough games against this School, with them being ranked within the top 10 sporting schools in South Africa. On arrival it was clear that they offered an unbelievable amount of sporting opportunities, I don’t think I have ever seen so many pupils doing so many sports at the same time. The amount of sporting facilities on offer was truly astonishing. Both games were tough and exciting, pushing us and testing us throughout: Netball drew 25 – 25. Hockey lost 0 – 3. The view from both the court and the pitch were a real treat and a pleasure to experience.

Tuesday
Our final full day on Tour and a very busy one; our first stop was something we knew the girls would absolutely love. Within the largest Township in Cape Town, with over 1 million residents occupying a sea of shanty houses, we visited Ntwasahlobo Primary School. This school is a world away from what we are used to seeing. We arrived straight onto the playground ready to lead an hours session to around 40-50 pupils. Our girls were a little tentative to start with, taking it all in, and then we did a little warm up all together and broke off into smaller groups. The local pupils had a fantastic time and could not get enough of our girls. The staff could only watch on with smiles and delight with how well the girls dealt with the pupils and delivered fun sessions. We then visited a lesson of 5/6 year olds and the teacher arranged for the young pupils to sing to us, it was a very special moment. We obviously then repaid the warm welcome and delivered our school hymn and jubilate! The pupils found it very funny….maybe that was due to the staff singing out of tune! I also have video evidence…something the Music School will be incredibly proud of. This is a memory that will stay with them.

With a nice lunch stop at a huge shopping arcade, we then made our way to our next round robin fixtures. The hockey team was dropped off first and faced the hosting school, Edgemead, winning 1-0, with a nice goal from Siena Hayes. This was a good match to start with. Going straight into our second match against Jan van Riebeeck, I think it really hit home that this was the last time our year 13s will play for LHS and it being the last game of a wonderful tour. We went out all guns blazing. Unfortunately for them they were not particularly strong and we walked away with a 12-0 victory. The netball was held at a different venue and the emotions were running high for all; year 13s who were leaving and year 12s ending their tour. They had a tough first game, just narrowly losing by 14-18. The second game was a different story and they became an unstoppable force, winning 28-16; a fantastic way for both sports to end the tour.

To finish the day we had a lovely evening meal in the wonderful area of Camps Bay. This was the perfect setting to end an unbelievable two weeks. We had a presentation at the end to celebrate a wonderful group of 20 LHS girls.

This really has been a fantastic Tour. With a jam packed two weeks of sport and sightseeing. We have experienced so much and the pupils have been outstanding. They have been a pleasure to be with and we have all had so much fun together. They have kept going throughout; keeping their game play to a good standard, tight friendships have been created, special memories have been formed….we could not have asked for anymore from them.

The Touring Team