Bloxham's Holland Hockey Tour - Blog
14th February 2017 - A winning start!
Bloxham vs Noordwijk
The first stop on Bloxham's hockey tour was the sunny town of Noordwijk on the Netherlands coastline. After arriving at the Zorn Hotel Duinlust, we did a recce of the local village and found some lunch at a well known eating establishment under two golden arches. The evening match vs Noordwijk started with a team talk from Ben C and Fergus D and ended with a presentation of the Noordwijk HC emblem to Fergus. The game itself ended in a 3-0 win to Bloxham, with goals came from Beever, Canale Hopwell and Cook. Sam C-H opened our account with a fine strike from close range, whilst Ben C and Jack B took their chances from Penalty Corners. The newcomers to the group Lloyd, Hopwell, Cronin, Prior and Stapleton added energy and quality; all of whom looked comfortable when playing at this level. The Man of the Match was Sam C-H, who demonstrated drive and direction from the midfield. Bloxham did miss chances in the second half of the game, so training tomorrow morning will include a large amount of shooting, a long stretching session and Penalty Corner focus.
15th February 2017
Bloxham vs HC Alecto
Day two started with a relaxed breakfast, closely followed by our pitch session. The warm up consisted of Champions League quality football and a stretching session led by the skipper. Afterwards the team focused on the consistency and accuracy of shooting at the top of the D. As well as this we focused on making good decisions in the D and being in the correct positions to score simple team goals. After training, "Bridget" from Noordwijk HC entertained us with a splendid lunch before our departure to one of Europe's greatest water parks. The water park proved to be a greater hit than first anticipated and coach Symons confessed that it was better than any in Australia, praise indeed. After the water park, we headed to a snow covered pitch; unfortunately we couldn't play a full game but instead settled for two 7-a-side (2 X 15 minute) matches on the pitch that was clear. The scores were 7-0 (Beever 4, Cook 2, Stapleton 1) and 1-2 (Canale-Hopwell 1) at full time. After our match the team headed into the clubhouse of HC Alecto, for man of the match presentations, thank yous and speeches. We were hosted superbly by HC Alecto and thank them again for their hospitality.
16th February 2017
Bloxham vs Hisalis HC
Our penultimate day in the Netherlands was all about hockey. Our training session in the morning at Noordwijk HC focused on 1 vs 1 elimination and ball retention, as well as counter attacking in space. The afternoon was relaxed and mostly filled with buying souvenirs before heading off to our final match against Hisalis HC. This was our toughest game of the tour, the opposition were both Skilful and well organised, their movement continually disrupted our structure and created problems for our defense. After an even start to the game, with both teams sharing possession and territory, Bloxham opened the scoring through an individual goal, from Jack Beever. However, having taken the lead, Bloxham relaxed and Hisalis scored an excellent team goal. For the rest of the half, both teams created opportunities and Fergus continued his good form in goal, preventing any clear shots from hitting the back of the net. When the half time whistle came, frustration was evident, as was a deep will to win the game. With some clear analysis from the team as to how to dominate possession, they did so for the first fifteen minutes of the half .
This pressure led to guilt edged chances for Beever and Simons and our 3rd corner of the game; which created the opening we needed. Simons injected, Canale Hopwell stopped and Cook flicked the ball low and hard to the bottom left hand corner, goal, 2-1. The final twenty minutes was scrappy and tense, some dogged defending and determined minds meant that Fergus didn't have to make a single save. The final whistle went and the team celebrated together. There was "Wonderwall" on the way home and Dinner at the local Pizzeria.
The game was a fitting end to the teams attitude, they were determined and dogged throughout but not only this they demonstrated how to perform quality skills under pressure.
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