On the penultimate day of the Lent Term, a party of 31 LVth pupils departed for Holland for a four-day junior hockey tour. The trip was organized by SLG, and accompanied by DRB, CEN and Claire Higgins (South matron). Travelling by coach via the Channel Tunnel, the outward journey occupied most of the first day, and after passing several bicycles, windmills and tulip fields, the group arrived at Noordvijk youth hostel a few miles north of The Hague.

The next morning brought a post-breakfast trip to the nearby beach, allowing the boys and girls to sample the delights of the impressive dune-backed coastline, with its vast expanse of sand and sea. The glorious weather encouraged several to test out the temperature of the sea, and the various balls and frisbees brought along were put to good use.After a change of clothes for some, a brisk walk through the dunes to the nearby coastal resort for lunch followed, with matron’s supply of sunscreen much in demand.

After a quick game of volleyball back at base, the group set off for Leiden HC for the first matches of the tour. The club welcomed us warmly, and we were all impressed by the fact that even just a provincial hockey club should boast six artificial surfaces all being used throughout the afternoon every day of the week.  After a good warm-up together the boys’ and girls’ teams put up strong performances in their contests, losing narrowly with scores of 2-3 in both matches.  After the heavy defeats incurred by last year’s team, the girls were particularly pleased to be able to provide a decent challenge for the opposition this year. The teams then joined their hosts for an informal post-match supper in the club’s recently opened new clubhouse.

The following morning saw a trip to the town of Haarlem, where a visit to Hockey Republic was followed by some time wandering around the shops. Mid-afternoon we arrived at the local Noordvijk HC ready for the boys’ game that had been arranged. It had not been possible to find any opposition for the girls on this Saturday afternoon, as all local girls’ teams were set up with league matches of their own. However, a last-minute cancellation by Noordvijk’s opposition for their U17 team meant that the girls managed to get a match after all. The girls did very well to only go down 0-1 to this older team, and the boys won their match 3-1. Back to the youth-hostel, and then a very enjoyable meal out at the pancake house across the road finished the day off.

On the final day of the trip an early start was needed to pack up and arrive at the well-known Klein-Zwitzerland HC on the outskirts of The Hague in time for the matches at 11am. Again, we produced pleasing performances against this high-standard club, with the girls losing 0-2 and the boys losing 2-3. After a quick lunch and exchange of gifts, some of the group left with the small group of parents who had made the effort to come along and support, and the remainder of the party travelled home in the coach ready to enjoy the rest of the Easter holiday break.

Overall the trip provided a great experience of Dutch junior hockey, and the boys and girls were credit to the School both in the standard of hockey they produced on the pitch, and in their behavior off the pitch.