Claverham Community College Blog – Sri Lanka 2017 Football and Netball tour 

Claverham Community College are currently out in Sri Lanka for their Football and Netball tour. They are blogging all of their trip, with some impressive photos to accompany their live updates. It is fantastic to see that they are enjoying their trip! An excerpt of their blog is below:

After our long but smooth journey we have finally arrived at the Camelot Beach Hotel in Negombo, Sri Lanka! The teams are all in good spirits and are are impressed by their rooms with pool and sea views! They are desperate for a swim but that will have to wait until ‘Day Two’ as we have a boat ride and bbq on the beach for this evening’ entertainment! So far we have seen rain and sun with a balmy 27C reading on the temperature gauge which we are all enjoying.

The most notable part of the trip so far, apart from being in such a beautiful country is most definitely the children. They have been complimented by both staff and holiday makers on the flight, they are building a rapport with each other and our tour guides and we are extremely proud of them.

A half hour coach ride away we started our walk towards the river. We boarded 5 boats and set off on our journey; and what a journey it was. Every moment gave way to another incredible view or spot of wildlife! There were soaring eagles, huge bats, herons, lizards and families of wild boar to name a few, it was truly breathtaking. The skies also gave way to some fantastic sights as the sun lowered in the sky. The end of our tour took us to a river mouth with impressive waves crashing over the fisherman’s lines where we docked at a jeti and disembarked.

We were greeted by a family who had been preparing our meal with a Beetle Leaf and an oil lamp that we lit in celebration of our arrival. The food was freshly prepared and an amazing spread of salads, meats, fish and local produce. We ate with our hands, as is local tradition, under the lantern lights with good food and great company. Following our desert of fresh fruits we all stood for our hosts as they sang their National Anthem in a touching display of local tradition which we applauded enthusiastically as we gave thanks and said our goodbyes.

Back at the hotel we have enjoyed an evening by the pool with the boys playing football warming up their skills for tomorrow and the girls chatting and playing games. A first memorable day of what we all now realise is not an ever age school trip and one that we all feel very fortunate to be a part of. Time to sleep now before our first game day!

DAY TWO – POOL TIME….(at last)
A well deserved lay in was had by all this morning prior to meeting for our buffet breakfast at the hotel. We have been enjoying the sunshine by the pool ever since; playing catch, table tennis, swimming and human skittles in the water. Again, the spirits are high as we continue to soak up the sun and fantastic location. The teams are being drawn up by Head Coach Harley, in preparation for later this afternoon. Soon we will have lunch and get our game heads on.

The boys were up first at St. Judes school in Negombo. We were greeted by the team as they presented our players with leis and escorted us to the pitch holding hands. After a photo opportunity the game started with cheers from the spectator stand and excitement in the air. The first ten minutes showed the boys were nervous about their international debut but soon settled and started to create some chances. We soon realised we were not going to win the aerial battle and started to adapt accordibly; keeping the ball on the ground with short intractae passes. There were numerous on target attempts and some missed opportunities from the opposition. We finally conceded what was to be the winning goal 5 minutes before the whistle. However, the boys played valiantly in the 28C sun as they ended the game with cheers from the stands.

Players of the match:

Player’s Player: Josh Naylor and Ralph Doncaster
Manager’s Player: Aston Sweetman
Spectator’s Player: Louie Hoad

Next, it was time for the girls games. After a short coach ride we arrived at the Alfred. F. Netball Court to play Ave Maria Convent and Wennapuwa Convent. We made a strong start in our first match drawing after the first quarter against a very tall Sri Lankan team. However, they adapted their play and we struggled with the heat as our oppositions lead started to increase. The final score does not give a true reflection of the play on court at 29-8.

The second match started equally as strong and gained an upper hand early on. With a forceful attack we gradually created opportunities and began to dominate the game. With several changes to the oppositions team we reacted well and continued to increase our lead. With smiles all round the final score was 7-2 to Claverham as the whistle blew.

Player’s Player: Sophie Legg
Manager’s Player: Hannah Glasper
Spectator’s Player: Erin Wright

The three hour bus journey to the elephant orphanage provided an opportunity to see some of the views or have a nap! On arrival to Pinnawala a short walk from the coach soon opened up with a view of the river with elephants bathing in the water with their keepers washing them down or spraying them to cool off. We soon had lunch with the stunning view of the elephants with the weather being undecided between torrential rain or glorious sunshine. With a break in the showers we went to the open land areas of the orphanage where we saw more herds grazing and their babies being fed milk. Some students even took the opportunity to feed a magnificent bull pineapple and melon which he accepted greedily as they had their photos taken. Once feeding time was over we made our way back to the coach just as the heavens opened again.

Our next stop was to a tea factory just outside Kandy where we were informed of the tea making processes for the various types that make Sri Lanka the second most exported tea manufacturer in the world. Once we had learned how they produce their world famous teas we all enjoyed a cup of black tea to be drunk with a local made honey sugar. Much to the surprise of the majority, the tea want down very well and several purchases were made for family and friends back in the U.K. Some people at home may be receiving some silver or gold tea that can only be purchased in Sri Lanka – you lucky things you!

Finally, we made our way to what is to be our base for the next three days; The Oak Ray Regency, Kandy. After taking cases to our rooms it was agreed that the first stop should be the rooftop pool where we enjoyed the next two hours as the sun went down. There was a strong social divide which brought about a healthy and well matched battle of the sexes in an entertaining competition of catch. It was a pleasure to see all the students interacting so well and securing new friendships. As darkness grew and rain clouds loomed overhead, our games underneath the brooding skies and homeward bound bats came to a close as the warm rain drummed down… was time for showers and dinner. As always, the teams had a good feed and have relaxed with sharing stories or watching the Liverpool v Tottenham game in their temporary home from home. Tomorrow we shall have a slower morning with more pool entertainment, some shopping and visit to the Sacred Temple of the Tooth.