Gibraltar Hockey Tour 2014
On Wednesday 22nd October the 1st and 2nd XIA teams had an early start as we met at 6.45am, some of us slightly later than others, in Belfast International Airport to make the 3hour flight to Malaga. Once through security we managed to make a quick stop at Starbucks to grab a coffee before going to the gate, however to discover the one and only Sophie Hunter had managed to lose her boarding pass! Thankfully with a security escort we all managed to board the plane on time.
On arrival in Malaga we headed off to do some much desired shopping in Plaza Mayor Malaga, with our top shopper Rachel Hanley doing some serious purchasing, while others sat in the morning sun to catch some rays. At 3pm already exhausted we all loaded back onto the bus to travel to our first match. The 1st XI played CD Malaga and despite the intense heat won 5-0, Caitlyn Harvey scored the first goal with a one on one with the goalie, the second from talk straight shot by Sophie Hunter, the third was a slip into the back of the net by Robyn Chambers , the fourth was another straight shot this time from Lizzy Lawther and finally an albeit unexpected but fantastic reverse shot by Beth Walker to secure our comfortable win. The 2nd XI played another touring team from Manchester, Stoney Hurst winning 1-0, Sarah Hanley setting up the pass for Emma Conlin to deflect into the goal. After the matches were finished we once again loaded the bus to set off to Gibraltar with a quick stop on the way to grab some food on the go. Arriving at the Elliott O'Callaghan Hotel for some must needed sleep after the action packed day!
On Tuesday 23rd October after a good nights sleep we all headed up for breakfast on the top floor of the hotel, overlooking the whole of Gibraltar, only for a certain Rachel Hanley to set a bread roll on fire in a toaster! With the minor situation quickly resolved we went on our Rock Tour where all those willing got photos with the Monkeys on their shoulders, a really memorable experience for everyone Lizzy Lawther even got her hair tasted! That afternoon we played our second matches in the Victoria Stadium. The 1st XI winning 3-0 against the Hawks, Sophie hunter deflected a shot across the goal, Robyn Chambers and Oldilia Goldsworthy working together to secure the second goal and lastly Emma Conlin's effective placement created the 3rd converted goal opportunity.
The 2nd XI similarly played the Hawks winning 2-0, Victoria Johnston shooting a textbook straight strike from the top of the circle and then Sarah Hanley converting a second goal giving the comfortable win. That evening we all decided to go out in our chosen fancy dress, the theme being minions. Mrs Loane and Paddy attempted to disassociate themselves from the spectacle by running ahead of the mob but quickly realised they would only draw more attention as the group of yellow girls ran after them!
After lunch we returned to Victoria Stadium to play our final matches against a selection of Gibraltar's best girls. The 1st XI won 5-0 managing to come away with no goals against us on the tour, our unlikely goal scorer Megan Halliday converted a penalty corner, Robyn Chambers once again slipped another goal into the net for the second goal, and then managing another deflection with the help of a well placed pass form Beth Walker. Having worked superbly with Oldilia Goldsworthy throughout the tour the pair managed to score the fourth goal with Caitlyn taking the final strike and for the final goal of the tour she played a reverse shot from the top of circle. The 2nd XI finished their tour with a win also, winning 3-0 Victoria Johnston converted another straight strike, Emma Conlin and Gina Gilmartin sharing some great play together before Gina took the straight shot in the circle and for the final goal Emma Conlin scored her own straight shot. That evening we headed out to a recommended traditional Spanish restaurant for a last supper, after a slight delay and a lot of chips eaten we walked back to the hotel for our last evening.
On the final day we travelled to ‘La Canada’ shopping mall in Marbella and there was no stopping the girl’s retail spirit. On then to the airport for the final excursion back home, arriving very tired in Belfast at 11pm! This was a truly amazing tour, great hockey, lots of goals, team bonding and fun!