St. Mary's U13 Sports Tour
Date: Friday 15th & Saturday 16th March 2019
Venues: Durham, Cumbria & The Lake District
At 1300 on Friday afternoon a squad of excited girls (and staff) set forth for Barnard Castle in Co. Durham, the first destination of our two-day adventure. After a journey which lasted considerably longer than the sat.nav. suggested, we arrived at Barnard Castle School. Conditions were very blustery to say the least and cold, but our slightly late arrival fortuitously meant that we missed a three-hour deluge and we stayed dry throughout!
The game itself was a brilliant encounter. Barnard Castle were undoubtedly the strongest side we’ve come up against this season (and for many past) and they had a couple of outstanding individuals. Their strength and skill took us slightly by surprise and we were 3 – 0 down by half time. Playing ten minute quarters allowed us to regroup regularly and swap the girls on and off. After the half time break, the girls found another gear and took the game by the scruff. The grit and work rate on show was inspiring; these girls simply weren’t going to be beaten! A brace from Hannah C and one goal from Eliza, levelled the score which was nothing less than they deserved. Molly, Amelie and Lucy worked tirelessly at the back and Lucy’s two goal line clearances undoubtedly kept us in the running. Rosie, Eliza, Emma and Libby occupied the midfield and their tenacity made it very difficult for the Barney girls. Mhairi and Hannah C having initially found it difficult to make an impression, soon found their mojo and they looked threatening with every attack. Anna and Hannah F shared the keeping responsibilities and both girls were busy! They made save after save which raised spirits and hope! Hannah in particular made three outstanding saves, which deservedly earned her the team’s ‘Player of the match’ award. With 2 minutes to go, a defensive blip allowed Barney to take the lead, a blow I thought was going to cost us the game. However, from the restart Hannah finished off a brilliant move which involved most of the team and scored her third of the afternoon. But more importantly, it earned the girls a draw against a brilliant side. Final score, Barnard Castle 4, St. Mary’s 4.
Following a delicious match tea (Chilean / Spanish cuisine!) the tour bus made its way to Sedbergh and Robertson House. The girls were treated to an evening of popcorn in front of a film, washed down with some singing accompanied by Lucy on the guitar.
We woke to perhaps one of the wettest days of the year and after breakfast and assembly, we paddled our way down stream to Casterton, Sedbergh Prep School. Sadly their astro was somewhat submerged, so we settled for a morning of netball. Adrvreck were also visiting, so the morning consisted of games between Sedbergh A, Sedbergh B, Sedbergh C and Ardvreck.
Our first game was against a very competent Sedbergh A team, who put on a very impressive display. Their movement off the ball as well as their knowledge of each other’s game, made them very tricky opponents. However, Molly’s team also worked hard and made some inroads. Libby and Hannah made the most of their opportunities and as ever, Mhairi (WA), Eliza (C), Molly (WD), Amelie (GD) and Rosie (GK), found some rhythm and put together some lovely passages of play. Final score: Sedbergh A 14, St. Mary’s 4. Eliza was awarded player of the game.
Next up saw St. Mary’s B take on Ardvreck. This was another great game which saw Hannah F (GA), Lucy (GS), Emma (GD) and Anna (WD) take to the court. Ardvreck played well, as did the St. Mary’s girls and the game was eagerly contested. Cheers from the travelling supporters encouraged the girls on both sides and the game finished honours even, St. Mary’s B 4 – Ardvreck 4.
Sedbergh B were waiting for the next game with St. Mary’s B and this proved another excellent encounter. Given the strength of Sedbergh A, their B side were no slouches either! However, we played some lovely netball and shot very well too, which perhaps was the difference between the two sides. The final score of this one was St. Mary’s B 9, Sedbergh B 4
Any chances of a game of hockey to round off the morning were scuppered. The rain was relentless and thoughts were turning to the possibility of getting stranded by the flood water. With this in mind, a quick match lunch and a couple of phone calls later, we said our thank yous and made our way further west, to Windermere for the final leg of our adventure.
It was no surprise that the weather limited our sporting options here too. Not that I thought it possible, but the rain if anything was getting harder, so we once again took to the netball court. We followed a similar format to the morning’s competition and once again the short 7-minute half matches, worked well.
As with the Sedbergh girls, the Windermere girls were tall which gave them a slight advantage in some key positions. The girls therefore had to rely on their speed and dynamism around the court to get the better of the their hosts. In the first half of our first game (Windermere A v St. Mary’s A) we again took time to adjust to the speed of the girls. That gave our hosts the advantage which they capitalised upon and we found ourselves 5 - 9 down at the break. The second half however was a completely different story. The girls were fabulous, worked some brilliant lines and scored 7 unanswered goals. Final score Windermere A 9, St. Mary’s A 12. Hannah C was awarded the ‘player’ prize.
Windermere B v St. Mary’s B was also a great game. Of particular note in this game was again our shooting (Hannah F and Lucy), although Anna and Emma, both playing defensive roles, did a marvellous job thwarting the Windermere attack. The Windermere girls awarded Lucy with the ‘player’ award in what ended up being a St. Mary’s B 7 – Windermere B 1, final score.
We had two more games, repeats of the previous two but this time the Windermere A earned themselves a win (Windermere A 8, St. Mary’s A 5) and the St. Mary’s B won the second game (Windermere B 4, St. Mary’s B 9) Amelie deservedly earned herself the ‘player’ prize.
With 25 minutes until tea, we had time for one more game, a precursor to the match due to kick off at Twickenham at 1700; England v Scotland dodge ball. The rules were simple, get hit below the shoulders and you’re out. Catch a ball thrown by the opposition and the thrower is out and one of your team members is back in the game. Unlike Gregor Townsend’s men, we got off to a flying starting, losing one or two players early on but taking out more of them. I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer so went and joined the ranks and we managed to out manoeuvre the English and claim the most important victory of the tour!
With match teas and formalities done over, we cheered on the boys at Twickenham as we headed north up the M6 arriving in Melrose twenty minutes ahead of schedule. Tour stats reveal that including all matches, we played 8, won 4, drew 2 and lost 2.
A final thanks to all the staff at Barnard Castle for getting us off to such an enjoyable start. To Mrs Christie and Mr Lilliard at Sedbergh for making us so welcome, to Mrs Rollings and Mrs Shopland at Sedbergh Prep for organising such an enjoyable ‘plan B’ at the last minute and to Mrs Hesford at Windermere for giving us such a fun final leg to our tour. To Mrs Wright for all her help in making the trip such a success and for her sense of fun throughout and of course to the girls, for their enthusiasm, not only on tour but throughout the entire season.
Mr P & Mrs Wright