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Barcelona Hockey Tour

Barcelona Hockey Tour

The end of the Christmas break provided the opportunity for the Boys’ Hockey 1st XI to start their pre-season training and improve their fitness and skills on a tour to Barcelona. Sixteen boys and three members of staff headed to sunny Spain for five days from 4-8 January. 

1st XI Captain Monty shares his account of the experience:

After a very early start, and a straightforward transfer, the squad arrived at the hotel in Castelldefels situated next to miles of sandy beach. After unpacking and having a quick snack we were all keen to get stick on ball and headed by coach to the pitches adjacent to the Olympic stadium for our first training session. Melissa, as she did throughout the tour, warmed up the team thoroughly before Mr C and Mr Forbes put us through our paces in the evening sunshine with a great view of the city. Despite being tired, our first training session gave great promise. After the warm-down, we headed back for dinner where we replenished our energy with a huge spaghetti bolognese. Perhaps wearing our brand new white tour tops was not the best of ideas with a few of us ending up wearing it rather than eating it!

The next day we enjoyed our only lie-in of the tour and before lunch travelled back to the training pitch to work on our short corners, with the classic tunes from the travel speaker providing the backdrop. After a quick shower, it was time for the sightseeing side of the tour, with the cable car ride from Montjuic to Port Vell which gave us amazing views of the harbour. We then walked through the famous Gothic quarter, buying ice cream as we watched some street parkour.  A burger and hotdogs kept us going before taking in a European Basketball League

match, between FC Barcelona and Bologna, which was an exciting and close game.

Friday morning saw more blue sky for day one of the Reyes U18 Festival held at the iconic Real Club de Polo. Our first game before lunch was against Calday Grange from the UK, and we played well on the main pitch (Campo Eduarde Dualde), beating them 2-0. Later on in the day and after an ice bath in the hotel pool we played against a very talented Catalan Select U16 side (who went on to finish Runners Up in the tournament).  With hindsight, a 2-1 loss was also a decent outcome.

Day two of the competition was also a step up in quality, with our first game against a Dutch club Bloemendaal. We lost 2-5 but played some impressive hockey, especially in the second half when we came back from 0-4 down. Finally, we were up against Pedralbes HC, a physical Spanish side, who with some home advantage, managed to get a short corner in the final play of the game to equalise, 1-1. We definitely deserved the win here, but learnt some tough lessons about game management. That night, dressed up for the Gala dinner, where we had the best seats in the house. It was a good opportunity to socialise with the other teams.

Our final match on our last day was possibly the most frustrating as the Dutch team we played, Willem College, weren’t the best sportsmen but we created lots of chances and learnt from the process, despite a 1-4 reverse. So, we finished 6th out of 10 teams, and were the highest placed finishers from the UK cohort.

Overall, this was a fantastic experience and opportunity, to not only improve our fitness and hockey but also to get closer as a team which I believe has real potential to do well this season amongst a tough fixture list. During the festival everyone had their moment of magic but the overall player of the tour was voted as Sam, whilst Elliot picked up the ‘Top Tourist’ award.

Huge thanks to Mr Collison for organising the tour and thanks to Mr Forbes for his insight and to Melissa for keeping us match fit.

Director of Hockey Matt Collison commented:

This tour was an invaluable opportunity to play competitive sport and also to bond as a team through shared experiences, on and off the pitch.   It was an excellent chance to play against some quality opposition in the prestigious Reyes Festival and we learned a great deal which we will carry forward into our school fixtures over the course of the term.  Many thanks to everyone involved in organising this pre-season tour; players, their families and staff both at Canford and at the Real Club de Polo.”