This October, we had the opportunity to take over 200 students overseas over half-term. Six groups toured Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with a further two in Sri Lanka, for their Cricket, Football, Hockey, Netball and Rugby tours, in what was a successful and enjoyable month for all.
Naturally, the key aspect of a tour is the fixtures, and we were treated to some excellent games across all our sports. In particular, hosting our first hockey tournament in Dubai with Wycliffe College, a rugby game with St Edward’s Cheltenham that ended with 100 points on the score board, and an entertaining football fixture with Akeley Wood.
In the hockey, a tense end-to-end final between Wycliffe College and Dubai Ladies ended with the home side eventually securing a hard-fought, 1-0 win. We are sure that this will be the first of many such tournaments as we look to increase the profile of hockey in the UAE.
“The tour was superbly organised and run from start to finish of the tour, having an on ground rep was very reassuring. The level of opposition was well matched but challenging for the girls in both netball and hockey. The apartments were excellently located near the Metro and the organised excursions were fun and exciting. We all had an amazing time! We will be back to explore one of your other tours soon!”
Wycliffe College in Dubai
Secondly, St Edward’s Cheltenham finished up 51-49 victors against Al Yasmina in one of their rugby matches, which is a victory any team would be proud to declare, and rivalled a Barbarians RFC game for spectator entertainment, even if the coaches were nervous!
Akeley Wood at the Zayed Stadium
Whilst victories on tour are great morale boosts for the season ahead, losing certainly provides tourists with a learning experience that shapes their coming season just as much; Akeley Wood were eventually defeated by Spanish Soccer School in a 3-2 win for the hosts, but the game itself was of great quality, played in true spirit, and typified the attitude that made it one of the best matches of October.
Meanwhile in Sri Lanka, we hosted cricket tours for the Barmy Army and Stanmore CC, during which they visited locations across the country – Colombo, Negombo, Mount Lavinia, Hikkaduwa, Galle and Kandy. As cricket is Sri Lanka’s national sport, the quality of opposition and grounds make for a challenging and highly enjoyable tour:
“[We] were blown away by our Sri Lankan oppositions’ technical ability. Their love and passion for the game was inspirational, and their discipline and respect was humbling”
Stanmore Cricket Club in Sri Lanka
Worth a mention too from the Stanmore CC tour is the undisputed “Shot of Tour”, a clean six hit by Jishoan that soared past the boundary!
Stanmore Cricket Club in Sri Lanka
In both Sri Lanka and the UAE, there were also moments to relax and enjoy the breadth of downtime activities available to the tourists. In Dubai, St Edwards Cheltenham became our first tour group to go on a catamaran cruise, enjoying a four-hour trip around the coast of Dubai to cap off the final day of their absolutely jam-packed tour. In Sri Lanka, a chance to visit the Elephant Orphanage was an unique experience for the touring students. Having said that, fierce inter-tourist competitions in the hotel pools between Stanmore CC and Barmy Army, kept the kids entertained too!
St Edward’s enjoying the final day of their tour
Many thanks to everyone involved in each of our tours this October, and we hope to welcome all of these touring groups back on their next tour in the near future.