Day 14

Day 13 saw our girls play their final games of the tour with great wins for all three age groups.

Day 14 today ...A little sleep in before heading to the Somme region for a little history lesson on World War 1. We were able to learn about and see many sites where numerous battles took place and many over a number of years.

We were able to walk into a trench used by Newfoundland and it was amazing to see the German trenches only a few hundred meters away. We were also able to visit numerous sites where the Australian soldiers fought and where some have been laid to rest including Pozieres and Villers Brettonaeux. A quick bite to eat before heading into Paris for a ride on the metro, a trip up the Arc de Triomphe, a stroll along the Champs Elysees and magical views of the Eiffel Tower at night.

Day 11 and 12

We said our goodbyes to the spectacular (and a little spooky) Heythrop Manor Resort and headed into London. We were dropped at St Paul's Cathedral and from there meandered out way to the Thames and across the Millenium Bridge, past Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and through the London Bridge area to the Borough Market for lunch. While it was not nearly as hectic as when we there previously we were still able to grab a great lunch before jumping back on the bus and heading out to Essex. In a first for all our girls, we played 7 x 7 minute quarters (or actually sevenths). The U14 and U16 teams both played Manor Netball club with the U14's again winning convincingly and the U16's going down but playing some very good netball. The U18 game against Barking Abbey Netball Academy was an excellent match with our girls jumping out to an early lead before Barking Abbey stormed home to force a draw. Without doubt the most entertaining game of the day was the much anticipated players v parents/staff match. In a very competitive and close match the parents/staff came home with the win!
An early pick up this morning from their newly made friends before crossing London to play more matches against the Beaconsfield School. The U18's started strongly but were massively outsized and found it tough going against a very good team who had an U17 and U21 England player. The final score was Wanderers 16 - Beaconsfield High School 34. After a lovely lunch in the school cafeteria which really was like something out of the movies, the U14's were up next in what they were hoping would be there toughest game yet. The match did not disappoint with some fantastic netball being played by both teams. The U14's held on for a 5 goal win to remain undefeated throughout the tour. The U16 team faced a very tall and well drilled team that gave them very few opportunities up the offensive end. The girls worked hard and when patient demonstrated some great passages of play but unfortunately went down 35-12.

Day 10 Blog

Yesterday we had three great games of netball against our hosts with the third grade team remaining undefeated, and our 1st and 2nd grade teams narrowly going down.    Today we explored the spectacular region of the Cotswolds, with limestone villages set among the hills and rivers. The region is quite amazing with very strict building laws ensuring only the building of limestone cottages similar to those already in existence. We passed through a number of villages including Stow-on-the-Wold, Upper Swell and Lower Swell (where the Beckams are allegedly buying), crossed over Foss Way (a very straight road running from Bath to Lincoln built by the Romans 2000 years ago) before arriving at Guiting Power for lunch at the Hollow Bottom pub. Our guide Mike lives in Guiting Power so was able to give us a very detailed account of the area and a tour of his village, past the post office and the bakery (run by 94 year old Mrs Watson) and on to the local church. While some villages have been bought out by wealthy Londoners looking for a weekender (and essentially leading to the death of the villages), Guiting Power (population approx 300) rents only to locals and keeps it cheap to allow young families to stay in the area. We finished our tour at the very scenic town of Bourton on the Water (the home of Brum) and then headed to our hotel for the night, Heythrop Park Resort. A 300 year old Manor House built by Charles Talbot, the 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Shrewsbury. Ballrooms, meeting rooms, a golf course, walking tracks, restaurants, a fitness center - so much to do. An incredible building steeped in history and absolutely massive!

Day 7/8

We picked up the girls from their new friend/billets and headed to Nottingham for games against against our new hosts. Great wins for the U14's and U16's, and a very close game of a great standard saw the U18's come away with a 3 goal win. Another night of billets where the girls were spoilt with amazing dinners, desserts, trampolining and most importantly 'high pressure showers !

Off to Warwick Castle today where we had a chance to see numerous shows and places such as the birds of prey, trebuchet, dungeon, time tower, and the Horrible Histories Maze. A few jelly legs following the 530 step climb up the tower for a magnificent view of the castle and surrounding areas. An early night tonight as some very tired girls following 3 nights of billeting (although maybe not much sleep for those who undertook the dungeon tour ! ).

Day 5/6

Day 5 & 6
Up early for the 2 hour drive to Birmingham and lunch at the Bullring shopping centre before continuing on our way to Stoke on Trent. This afternoon's drive gave us our first glimpse of the country and the narrow roads that confront our driver Kerry. He was up to the challenge and after some curious looks from the locals and a police escort we arrived at Cheadle Academy to play the first of 2 games against a collection of girls from the Stafford and Newcastle Netball Clubs.

The u14 team started strongly with all girls playing in numerous positions and contributing to a 52-5 win. The u16 team started slowly and were down at quarter time but regrouped to play some great netball and come away with a 31-11 win. The u18 team also started slowly with scores level at quarter time. A strong second quarter saw them take the lead and race away to a 47-24 win. The girls then headed off with their billets for the first night of two nights, excited but a little nervous.
The girls arrived this morning buzzing from the night away and ready for their next round of games at St Joseph's Sports College at Stoke on Trent. The u18's started strongly and raced away to a big lead at quarter time before the opposition fought back to close the gap to 2 just before half time. From there it was all the Wanderers girls as they won comfortably 42-25. The u16 game was close early with our girls leading 7-4 at quarter time. A 9-2 second quarter and a dominant second half saw them take the win 34-13. After the u14's big win yesterday we decided to mix the teams up with the girls playing against each other and alongside their billets. It proved to be a great experience for all the girls and a much closer game with the pink team defeating the green team 30-22.

The surrounding area is well known for it's pottery, and in a lovely gesture, all girls were presented with a piece of their own pottery to take home. The girls then headed off with their billets for the second night while the parents headed to Trentham Gardens for an afternoon of exploring

Day 4 - Superleague Netball !

This morning we had a much appreciated sleep in before checking out of our hotel and heading to Windsor to explore the amazing Windsor Castle. While the Queen was home we unfortunately didn't manage to have tea with her, but had a great time exploring the extensive grounds, viewing the incredible dolls house and walking through the opulent state apartments while imagining what it would be like to actually live there. A few snaps with the guards and lunch in Windsor before heading to our next destination - Hertfordshire. As we approached the hotel we noticed a large Nike (among other shops) factory outlet across the road so after checking in we headed over for some retail therapy. Tonight we were able to go and watch a Super League Netball match with the Hertfordshire Mavericks proving far too strong for the Yorkshire Jets. Some photos with some of the players and then home to bed.

Day 3 - Match Day 1

We set off this morning to North West Kent College to play the first of our games for the tour against the Kent County Rep Teams.
As our girls had only meet a few days previously and had never stepped on the court together it was always going to take a little time for the teams to gel. The girls were a little nervous but excited to finally hit the court.
Our third grade started slowly with Kent quickly jumping to a 5-1 lead. From that point on it was all Wanderers as the girls played some lovely team netball to come away with a great first up win.
The second grade team faced up against a very tall, athletic and well drilled team. While the girls worked very hard it was a tough match with Kent coming away with the win.
The first grade team also faced a tough challenge but started strongly, taking it right up to the opposition early. The team chemistry of the Kent team shone through with them coming home with the win. Our girls showed really positive signs and will look to improve in our next game.
A lovely post game supper and mingling with the opposition before boarding the bus home.
Best players for the day as selected by the opposition:
3rds - Catherine D
2nds - Molly N
1sts - Rebecca L

More updates soon !

Day 2 London

Another beautiful, sunny (and cold) morning as we headed to our first stop - the Tower of London. Driving through London on a Saturday morning allowed us to not only pass most of the sights from yesterday but also see that even the centre of London can at times be relatively quiet. We had a quick look at Tower Bridge and the River Thames before heading into see the Crown Jewels, the Bloody Tower, the torture chamber and the enormous Ravens among other things at the Tower of London. Lunch at the Borough Market was simply amazing. The choice of foods was endless and the array of cakes, pastries, fudge, chocolate and other sweets was certainly tempting. Back on the bus and off to Cravens Cottage (there was actually a cottage overlooking the ground) to see Fulham play MK Dons. With the loser of this game facing relegation there was certainly a great atmosphere and the crowd was very entertaining in Fulham's 2-1 victory. Dinner and a little shopping before heading back to our hotel for a good sleep before the first game of our tour tomorrow. Some very excited (and a little nervous) girls.

In London

Greetings from glorious London !

Apologies for the delay in our post as we are having some issues with the internet !

Here is a summary of Day 1..

An early arrival into London, and after finding our bags, Mik (our tour guide) and a hot chocolate, we headed into the city. We climbed off the bus to a chilly (3 deg) but sunny day and found ourselves at the gates of Buckingham Palace. We headed off on our walking tour with Mike informing us of how old (and I mean really old) the buildings are, the notable people who lived where and did what as well as many other interesting pieces of information. We saw numerous Monopoly places and the changing of the horse guard, spent time at Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus, and strolled along the Thames up to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. A quick (and much needed) shower before we headed to Windsor for dinner and a glimpse of the incredible castle. Off to bed early for a good nights sleep before tomorrow's adventures begin.

More updates soon. Please also check out our twitter, facebook and instagram pages for more photos and updates !