Farewell !!!

Hi everyone,

Well the group have had a couple of great days in London playing hockey.

they played the final matches of the tour with our toughest games last , with our boys having a stunning 2-1 victory over our hosts, the first time we have won in 3 years ! Our girls 1st lost 0-2 and our 2nd girls lost 0-6.

We have added some photos of the last few days.

This will be our final update of the tour.......A big thanks to all the parents who have supported the team allowing your kids to come away for us...More news soon ! We hope to see you on another Wanderers Australia adventure in the future !

England Part 1

Hi to all parents and supporters and apologies about the delay in our next blog as we have had to wait for internet access.

The group is now in London after a great couple of days in England thus far. We had the teams play on Sunday for the annual cup against our hosts where we lost the "ashes" again with 2 close losses and a draw.

Monday morning saw the teams tour manager Kay's own Brewery which was very interesting for everyone, . Monday afternoon saw the girls play some additional matches that have been arranged with great 3-0 and 2-0 victories. Two games to go for all teams and a great time being had by all.

The most recent photos are attached. We ask parents to please be patient for updates as the guys are trying to get these through asap, but are limited with time and internet access !

More updates soon.

Holland to England !

The dawning of today marked the beginning of the last full faun in Europe before the group invades England as part of the final leg of the tour. The efforts of yesterday at a local hockey shop were no more evident than the packing of the stick bags on the bus this morning as many of the bags which had previously fitted into a particular space no longer did this morning.


Our first planned stop was that of Amsterdam with its bustling cobblestone streets, multi story bicycle parks, all manner of souvenir shopping and the trams and bicycles that must be avoided at all costs.


The group toured the Anne Frank house and tiny secret attic where the Frank and another Jewish family hid from the Nazis during World War 2 in an attempt to avoid the Concentration Camps. The message left by Anne's father was poignant in that he begged people to not only remember what has happened in the past but try to work towards ensuring that nothing like this ever happens again.

From here the group toured Amsterdam's famous / infamous Red Light district which most of the group were agog at due to the openness of the Dutch to this industry.

The day was rounded off with any last minute souvenier shopping required and an opportunity to compare the chip shops of Belgium and Holland. To date our panel of experts has voted Holland the winner.


After three countries and 1,300 kilometres in ten days our time in Europe has come to an end with the group now comfortably ensconced in our cabins aboard the ferry. The top five comments heard during the European leg of the odyssey are listed below.

1 -  When talking to a member of the group from /Tasmania a young lady from the group was heard to ask 'do you ever come across to real australia'?
2 - A young lady from the group was heard to ask a staff member 'why didn't we visit the Leaning Tower Of Piza whilst we were in Paris?'
3 - A young gentleman from the group was heard to ask a staff member 'after we finish in the Netherlands, is the next country that we go to Amsterdam?'
4 - A young gentleman from the group was heard to ask a peer which they enjoyed more, being searched by French Customs agents in France or Korean Customs agents in Hong Kong.
5 - A young gentleman from the group was heard to muse 'if we are in Holland and they speak Dutch, then why is the country called the Netherlands?' - Editors note: Good point there.

Land ahoy. With this simple phrase being boomed through all cabins on the ferry at 6.15am this morning the United Kingdom leg of our journey officially began (albeit a little earlier for some peoples liking). The trip from Rotterdam to Hull had been relatively calm despite some initial pitching and rolling most of tge group survived relatively unscathed.


Upon disembarking and clearing immigration and customs formalities we were met with an overcast gloomy day, however unlike Europe at least the temperature was in double figures and there was no sign of the forecasted five to eight cm of rain.

With a number of hours travelling on the bus today many took the opportunity to catch up on sleep. The first stop was in the city of Nottingham Forest for lunch before the group joined the locals in their pilgrimage to the City Ground to watch Nottingham Forest do battle with Portsmouth in the English second division. Upon arrival at the ground the group very quickly acted to soak up the atmosphere and after invading a souvenir tent were all soon decked out in the red and white colors of the locals.  Even to the point that the local television station filmed the group believing that we were local supporters.

After being announced to the crowd by the Match Day Announcer as visiting hockey 'dignatories' we settled back ready to absorb the battle that was about to unfold. The game had it all; balls thundering into the woodwork, near misses, great tackles and exciting counter-attacks. Against the run of play and despite having the majority of the scoring opportunities the locals were soon behind (Editors Note: Haven't we all had one of those days). Just when it looked like all was lost for the locals desperate pressure allowed them to equalise which re-energised the crowd. Then with ninety seconds left in injury time they scored again to take maximum points much to the joy of their delirious fans. Many of the group despite confessing that they never watch soccer admitted that the atmosphere and game thoroughly enthralled them.

After a lengthy drive we arrived at our next hosts ready to resume on field hockey action tomorrow.

More Photos from Holland

Hi Everyone.

Please find attached more photos from Holland. Coach Dion from QLD has adopted a hat for the day theme for the tour..today is Elvis day !

More news soon...

News from Holland

 

Firstly, our thoughts are will all the families in QLD who are caught up in the latest flooding dramas. We hope all are safe and well.

The squad have had a couple of amazing days in Holland...

Our first night we received a coaching clinic from the first team players of our hosts who play in the Dutch National League, and the scond night we played a mini tournament featuring a number of clubs.

Today was spent visiting some of the world war 2 memorials and learning about the battles that took place in Holland all those years ago...

Tonight we played our next hosts with the boys recording a 2-1 win, our girls 1sts having a 2-2 draw and our 2nds a 0-0 draw.

Tomorrow is going to be a hihghlight visiting the chees and clog factories and one of the biggest hockey stores in Holland !! Parents we take no responsibility for their spending habits ! More news soon...

Match 2 - Belgium


Girls #1

2-2 draw.

The girls started out strongly in this game commanding the bulk of possession during the early going. 

However failure to utilise early first time passing options resulted in a number of offensive turnovers.

Undaunted the girls kept pushing forward with Ashley Finegan and Jessie Lucas experoencing good opportunities only to see the opposition goalkeeper deny them or them go wide of the mark. Despite some excellent searching balls forward their goalkeeper repeatedly denied us. Our hosts then made the most of their single goal shot for the first half by picking up a rebound off an initial shot was saved by Sarah Lucas.

With renewed focus of running for their mates to offer themselves as a secondary option the girls then piled on the pressure in the second half courtesy of great running from Danni Staff and Georgia McCormick and finally scored after Rachael Fraser picked up the fifth rebound after a goal circle scramble. However again the opposition scored against the run of play after a breakaway. After repeatedly being denied by their goalkeeper after another goal scramble Holly Marriott put things back on level terms with ninety seconds left to play which is where it finoshed. Although we were unable to score a winner the girls can be proud of their efforts and ball movement in the second half.


Boys

5-5 Draw

The boys found this game a bit more difficult as compared to to last game in France. The game was controlled better in the centre and with more possession through short passess and transfers. Communication is coming along well with players having more confidence in themselves and others.


Girls #2

7 to 1 win

What a game! All the girls came together today and played as a team. Our strikers performed very well with Katie Hobden and Ayeisha 'Lethal Force' Milner scoring a hatrick each and Tarah 'Rookie' Youngston opening her international scoring tally. Midfielders played well together with the fullbacks and provided a rock solid defence. In summary a great result and a great game to watch.

Day 6 Blog


At the conclusion of the morning's matches our hosts put on a lunch for all players and officials before the group headed into the city of Antwerp for an afternoon of exploration along the many small winding cobblestone roads that are home to Belgium's top three tourist attractions; chips, chocolate and the return of the Wanderers Ice Dancers. Yes you guessed it we came across another outdoor rink that allowed the crew to perform for their minion of fans.

After watching their ice dancing heros one crowd member was heard to muse of Sarah 'Makes the hard things look easy and the easy things look hard' Lucas about how she can be so graceful and perfect on ice and cobblestones whilst managing to trip over when walking along a flat pavement. After the ice skating the main focus was firstly Belgium chips and more specifically the up to thirty different flavours of sauces that can be used to flavour these chips.

From here the group laid seige to the many chocolate shops dotted around the surrounding streets, firstly taste testing and the purchasing many boxes of the best chocolate to bring back to Australia. After further shopping and the revealling of the long awaited verdict that the Belgian chocolate is better than the French chocolate tasted two days ago it was back to the host families for the final night in Belgium.

France To Belgium

Bouyed by the euphoria of a winning clean sweep of the opening matches last night and the fact that many people didn't finish dinner until 11.30pm it was somewhat of a subdued start to the day as the group assembled at 8.00am around the castle ready to make our way in the bus across France and into Belgium to meet our next hosts.


Along the way stops were planned at various historically significant sites around the Somme region that were pivotal in the outcome of World War 1. Upon our arrival in the region if on queue the weather dramatically changed for the worse to allow everyone a truer appreciation for exactly the horrendous conditions that our diggers were forced to endure during the battles. In addition to the heavy clay fields, the landscape was dotted with plentiful reminders of the recent snow storms that have hit this region.


Throughout the course of approximately four hours the group visited: the Thiepal memorial to the tens of thousands of British soldiers whose final resting place remains unknown, walking through real trenches that have survived since World War 1, the town of Villiers Brettoneux that was saved by the Australians during that war and the efforts that the French have gone to to honour their Australian saviours and finally the main Australian War Memorial of the region which still bears the shell and bullet marks of when the Germans attempted to obliterate this memorial in World War 2.


After this very sobering experience many of the group expressed an additional level of understanding to the history topics relating to these battles that they have previously studied and a renewed appreciation for the horrendous conditions that the diggers faced on a daily basis.


From there it was time to say au revoir to France as we headed into Belgium and towards our next hosts.

Game 1 in France

 

1st Girls Match Report

3-2 win

The game started strongly with our structure causing the opposition to struggle to clear their defensive half with Rachel Fraser and Katie  Mazzochi forcing turnovers allowing continuous ball to be feed to our strikers. Any opposition forays were repelled by strong tackling by Shauna Truskinger and Dani Staff teaming up together well down back. Constantly keeping the ball moving didn't allow the opposition to settle and easy yards were gained by Amy Swanston on the right hand side. This lead to the first goal by Jess Lucas as she latched onto a cracking right to left cross from Rachel Fraser and slotted this past the goalkeeper. The second goal arrived shortly after arising from a strong circle penetration by Georgia McCormick and a direct shot from the top of the circle. As fatigue and skill errors set in the opposition gained the ascendency in the midfield and launched many attacking raids, which our defenced toiled valiantly to repel lead by some great saves from  Rhiannah Neaves and gang tacking from the defenders. After conceding a field goal we created a number a attacking chanes ourselves resulting in a near miss to Caitlin King after good build up work from Holly Marriott in the midfield. Jess Lucas scored our third goal after bursting through the midfield and penetrating the circle and clinically slotting it into the bottom lefthand side. With the pace of the game starting to take its toal we battled valiantly to keep the opposition at bay for the remainder of the game and despite conceding a late goal the girls celebrated a winning start to their campaign..

2nd Girls Match Report

1-0 win

The girls got off to a shakey start with a lot of them playing together for the first time and many not having played for a few months. But as the game progressed the girls began to work together and gain more confidence which enabled them to keep possession for the majority of the game.
The scoreboard read 1 to 0 at the end of the game, but did not accurately reflect the effort and fun the girls had. There is only more room for improvement.

Boys Match Report

5-2 win

The team started the game at a frenetic pace with more concern about trying to score rather than trying to maintain possession and build pressure. Slowly the communication came into the game and possession was maintained with greater use of shorter passes and transfers. As the tour goes on with more time on the field the players will learn each others game and gel more.

Paris Day 3

Today dawned very differently to previous days as it was relatively mild, however the biting cold had been replaced by a consistent driving rain.

First stop today was the Eiffel Tower, however unfortunately due to the adverse weather conditions the top level observation deck was closed. Not to be deterred and with the impending matches to begin shortly a concensus was taken to climb the 680 steps from the ground to the second level (yes okay that consensus may have been driven by the fact that the lift lines were so long).  Dillon 'Man Of Steel' Smith won the race to the top and was heard to mention that his next race would be the Rialto run-up.

Any disappointment about not being able to access Level 3 dissapated quickly upon the discovery of an ice rink set up on Level 1.

Note to parents:- if your son or daughter tells you they went ice skating up the Eiffel Tower it isn't as a result of delayed jet lag I can assure you it is real and there are photos to prove it.

It didn't take long until the Wanderes Male & Female Ice Dancing teams were putting on a show for their adoring fans. Special mention must go to Rachael 'Ice Queen' Fraser who was cheered on enthusiastically by a legion of French primary school students one of which was heard to say to their teacher 'Miss I just saw the Australian Ice Dancing Queen'.


From there we moved onto Napoleans Tomb and The Invalides to learn some more of the history of France.
We then left Paris heading to our first opponents on tour. Despite a number of the group trepidaciously asking throughout the day as to whether their hosting families would speak English there was a positive vibe about this priceless opportunity to learn more about French culture at the grassroots level.

After experiencing a dinner of French Provincial chicken and Pear and Chocolate Tart and about to sleep in the bedroom of a two hundred year old building overlooking the Seine, we wait with anticipation of hearing of others experiences. More to follow.

Tommorrow sees our eagerly anticipated first hit out of the tour early evening after a day of exploring the Pallace of Versailles.

Paris Day 2...

Hi all...A NEW GALLERY HAS BEEN CREATED FOR THE TOUR. NEW PHPTOS NOW ON LINE !

Here is an update below from Paris....

After concluding our Day 1 activities with the spectacular nightly lightshow put on by the Eiffel Tower from our vantage point our very travel weary crew headed back to the hotel for an eagarly anticipated good nights sleep.


Day 2 dawned with promising blue skies and even the appearance of the sun (albeit briefly) our crew headed out via the Metro to engross ourselves further with the sights and sounds of Paris. First stop today was Notre Damme where the stone and stained glass window work was met by all with universal amazement. From there we moved onto the world famous Louve for a brief visit hoping to catch up with the grand old lady (i.e. Mona Lisa). Armed with maps and a strategically planned course by Bess 'The General' Bencharongkul the Mona Lisa was easily tracked down in her fireproof, bombproof and bullet proof cabinet. Also eagarly anticipated were the Egyption artifacts and Italian impressionism paintings. Many were also very impressed by the paintings on the domed rooves of many of the exhibition rooms, however in most cases these proved in credibly difficult to photograph. Special mention must go to Jessie 'Flatout' Lucas for her ingenuity in deciding that the best way to capture this was on camera was by lying on the floor on her back in the middle of the room whilst others walked around her.


From the Louve we headed to the biggest department stpore in Paris (which is an upmarket Myers store spread over three city blocks) for a touch of souvenier shooping.

From there it was a short trip back to the Champs Ellyses for dinner. A portion of the group decided to taste test the most traditional of French cuisine that of frogs legs and snails. Our resident culinary expert readily declared that it is true that frogs legs due taste like chicken and the only discernable taste of the snails was the mountainous coverage of garlic sauce that accompanied them.


Tommorrow we head out to finish the remaining elements of our Paris adventure before moving onto our first match of the tour...

Arrival into Paris !

Hi everyone, the squad has arrived safely into Paris....

Bon Jour to all from Paris. After 232 games of Tetris, 27 movies and 21 episodes of Modern Family we finally arrived in Paris at 5.30am on a rather chilly (zero degrees celcius) and overcast morning.


Our first cultural lesson in Paris was what all sleep deprived /Australians do - replenish their caffeine levels.

With an entire bus load descending on a small cafe much to the bemusement of the owner that didn't speak a word of english and his regular customers who could no longer get through the front door.

The remainder of the day was spent touring the sights of Paris with the background being provided by our guide. All were very impressed with: Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Champs Ellyses, Arc De Triumph, Napoleans Tomb and 'Little Amsterdam' just to name a few of the many sites visited.  Many also enjoyed testing their negotiation skills with the Street Vendors to obtain the best price for their souveniers purchased.

The 'happy snapper' of the day award went to Ashley Finegan with an amazing 600 photos in the day with an honorable mention to Tarah Youngson for here photographic contribution of 120 during that same period.

Tonight we head out to see the Champs Ellyses under lights and view the amazing lighting display on the Eiffell Tower. More updates soon ....

Departed Hong Kong for Paris

Hi to All parents and supporters. Everyuone boarded to the flight to Paris from Hong Kong and the flight was on time and is due to arrive into Paris approx 3:50pm Sydney time this afternoon.

The Queensland players had a great day im Hong Kong yesterday seeiong some of the sights and had a quick look at Hong Kong Disneyland. Some photos are attached. More updates as soon as the guys arrive into Paris.