Friends’ girls enjoy hockey tour to Holland

FRIENDS’ Junior hockey players set off for Amsterdam recently, for the 2012 hockey tour.

Upon arrival in Amsterdam the Friends’ tourists visited Dam Square, where they enjoyed the hot waffle stands and candy floss, not to mention some scary rides.

The girls travelled to the Wagener Stadium the next day to watch their hosts, HIC play in an U15 final against Amsterdam HC. They were treated to some top class junior hockey but sadly HIC lost 2-0. The tour party then transferred to HIC clubhouse for a tactics sessions taken by Dutch coach Edwurt. The girls were introduced to new formations and roles which they plan to perfect during the rest of the season. This was followed by some fast and skilful hockey from the HIC men who won 3-1!

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Next morning, was an early start as it was the day of the tournament. The first match was Alkmaar HC v Friends’ U13’s. A bright start saw Olivia Reid go wide with her shot. It was then constant pressure by the Friends’ midfield including Amy Brown, Erin Rennie and Lucy Fitzpatrick. Olivia Reid peppered the flick spot with cross after cross as well as testing the Alkmaar GK. However these near misses were to prove costly as Alkmaar, excellent on the break and with the instinctive clinical Dutch finishing, won 3-1.

The U14’s had been spectators up until this point. It was then their turn to take on Myra HC. The team lead by captain, Eve McCready began well adopting their new formation and Anna McDermott, slotted in the centre back position with ease. Similar to the U13’s many chances were created but the Dutch ran out 4-1 winners.

A planned hour’s lunch break, was dramatically shortened due to a delay at the start of the morning. The ‘pea soup’ fog which all had encountered meant the tournament was behind schedule and the visiting teams insisted on a prompt Dutch start. The fog had totally lifted and brought with it blues skies and 22 degrees. Both squads faced their hosts HIC. HIC U14’s having had a longer break looked fresher and punished Friends’ with 3 early strikes. It was a fast and open game. Again, Anna McDermott commanded at the back but silky skills form the HIC midfield and forwards meant despite a goal from Mollie Newell they lost 7-1 which was no reflection on the hockey but more on exhaustion. The U13’s faired much better, with Rachel Barnes enjoying her new role in the centre and Lucy Fitzpatrick and Olivia Reid getting a hat-rick. The final high scoring game resulted in Friends winning 8-4.

It was goodbye to the hosts and even Edwurt who had taken the girls for the previous day’s session made a special journey on his bike with dog in tow, to congratulate the Friends’ girls on their play. He was especially pleased to see the squad work hard on the new Dutch formation of play.

It was back to the hotel for a well earned rest and recovery. The next day saw an early start with a second trip into Amsterdam. It was then a brisk walk to the Anne Frank museum along the beautiful Princegracht canal. The girls found the images and story of Anne Frank very poignant indeed.

Back to the hotel, a quick lunch and the coach then transported the tour party to the now traditional end to a Friends’ Junior hockey tour...indoor go karting.

An action packed tour had come to an end, as an exhausted group of young hockey players returned home after an excellent tour.