It was a very early morning on Saturday 24th October when 25 teenagers and their tired parents arrived in plenty of time to board the coach to Stansted. Quiet chat ensued on the traffic free journey to our destination with everyone full of anticipation for the hockey tour to Barcelona.

All the players looked very smart and easily recognisable at the airport, dressed in their new black and green Tour kit, generously sponsored by JK Windows, Hounslow and supplied by The Pro Shop. The hockey coaches Kam, Matches and Jenny, as well as the parent helpers, Noleen and Rita, were very proud of the team’s image and their consistently respectful behaviour while on tour.

Our first training session on Saturday evening at Castelldefells, near our hotel, was just the start of a fantastic experience of hockey. The players listened attentively and worked successfully with the Spanish coaches on the well known pitches of The Polo Club and the Olympic Stadium in addition to playing memorable hockey games at Atletic Terrassa, Illhuro and CD Terrassa.

The boys played three matches, winning two and drawing one, while the girls played two matches, winning one and losing one. The enthusiastic and truly noisy support between the teams ensured there was no dampening of spirits allowed!

The quotes about the hockey in Spain say it all:

‘It was a great experience to meet other coaches and to learn different styles of play ‘- Sid

‘Being coached by the Spanish coaches was a great experience’ – Amaan

‘Hockey in Spain has improved and expanded my knowledge of the game. It has also integrated the two hockey teams and has built new friendships. Seeing an alternative style of hockey interested me also’ – Joel

‘I like how the girls and boys cheered each other on during matches, especially when it was really difficult! It made us feel more like a club and closer as friends’ – Trinity

The downtime activities included a visit to Camp Nou, shopping in Barcelona, eating as much as we could in B Wok, playing freely on the beach, swimming in the pool and just ‘chilling’ together in the hotel. This was undeniably the best bonding time for the U16 girls and boys.

‘Going to Barcelona, I didn’t really know anyone that well. However once it was over I felt I had been best friends with everyone for years! I had so much fun there, I was almost depressed for two days afterwards! Now I have two really close friends who I had almost too much fun sharing a room with.’ – Akash Soni

‘I really enjoyed my time in Barcelona and got to socialise a lot more and make new friends’ – Kiranpreet

‘I had an amazing time on tour. Both teams became much closer, supported each other, played great hockey and had a laugh. Would love to go again!’ – Charlotte

‘The coach karaoke was the best’ – Lucy (but would the coach driver agree?!) 

In contrast to the first coach trip, journeys to and from venues were full of excitement, laughter and singing, with girls and boys mixing together happily. The trip was a great success and will definitely be repeated, though perhaps in two year’s time, to allow the parent helpers and coaches to recover!

Click here to view the tour photo album.

With thanks to Jenny Wile – Indian Gymkhana Junior Coordinator