Twenty three hockeyplayers from four year groups flew out to South Africa at the beginning of August to embark on a thrilling twelve day hockey tour around Johannesburg and Pretoria. The girls played eleven matches, winning six, drawing two and losing three. Amongst the opponents were University of Johannesburg Ladies 1st XI and 2nd XI teams, containing three national Olympian players: there were also teams from Waterkloof High School, Garsfontein High School and Eldoraigne School.
The squad was led by Steve Batchelor and Richard Organ, and superbly supported by Jackie Batchelor, Mary Booth and Harry Thomas. Each player saw a tremendous improvement in their hockey game in terms of tactical awareness as well as what they could do with the ball. They enjoyed the use of some tremendous sports facilities, including those at the national High Performance Centre.
The most notable feature of the whole trip was how well all of the players integrated despite being in a range of ages from 14 to 17 years old: there was a warm and supportive spirit, and they all felt that they had made new friendships. There was plenty of laughter around the breakfast and supper table as well as in a big amusement park.
There was a wonderful spell in the middle of trip for the girls to appreciate the outstanding scenery and intriguing wildlife. They were able to handle lion cubs, as well as watch memorable scenes on two beautiful game drives. It certainly proved to be a trip of a lifetime in many ways.