Benalmadena October 2016
The VCB 2016 Hockey Tour to Benalmadena began with an early start. We all managed to get to school at 3AM, the Loanes at 3.15. The voices on the bus to Dublin soon faded as everyone tried to get some rest, except for Paddy who's constant talking managed to keep those unlucky enough to sit at the front of the bus awake. The 7AM plane to Malaga had mini TVs so instead of sleeping most of us ended up watching movies. On arrival the fleeces came flying off in the well anticipated 24 degree heat. From the airport we got settled into our hotel in Benalmadena, right beside the sea. There was no waiting around as we all got ready to go kayaking in the sea. As the first group set out in the kayaks, everyone else swam in the waves. This kayaking soon became extreme-kayaking as we tried to get the best videos on Caitlin Murphy's Go-Pro of people jumping/falling off, we soon came to realise, extremely unstable kayaks. A couple of minor head and belly-flop injuries later we all made our way back to the hotel and wasted no time in getting straight into the pool. After a long day we had dinner in the hotel. That night the Upper Sixths called for a squad meeting to announce this tours initiations, which were met with a wide assortment of emotions to say the least.
Thursday began with a relaxed morning by the pool followed by a beach side lunch from Mama Gina's, which despite its misleading title of "pizzeria" offered everything from pasta to fresh seafood and steaks. After lunch we departed for Retamar Hockey club at 14.30 for a two-hour training session by a Spanish coach at the club. This session offered some great tips on pre-scanning and on receiving the ball. This was followed by matches against teams from Benalmadena. The 2XI played first against CH Benalmadena Cadete and went from being 2-nil down at half time to winning the match 4-2. The 1XI then played CH Benalmadena Juvenil and fought well to win the match 7-0, with Robyn Chambers scoring a hat-trick. The players then returned to the hotel for a buffet dinner and relaxed to the sound of some live music.
On Friday morning we walked to the beach with Emma Conlin using the time to perfect her catwalk technique. The beach provided the perfect setting for a bit of light training, consisting of a 4K run along the beach, which for some was a casual run and for others a test of their fitness followed by some yoga led by the very talented Mrs Loane. Following this we had lunch and spent some time around the pool before travelling to Retamar hockey club, Benalmadena, for friendly matches. The 1st XI played first against a select Andulacia squad and after a slower start than the previous day won 9-0. Scoring 6 goals in 15minutes! The 2XI then played CH Benalmadena Cadete and won 4nil showing an improvement from the previous day after settling into the climate. After a busy day we returned to the hotel for a well deserved dinner followed by Birthday cake and going out for plenty of dancing to live music celebrating Odilia Goldsworthys 18th Birthday, which to quote was " The best birthday!"
Our final day in Spain began with another 9:30 start and needless to say not everyone was bright eyed and bushy tailed after our night of celebrations. Nevertheless, spirits were still high as we embarked on our journey to our final day of matches which included some necessary UK Top 40 chart hits. The 2XI's kicked off our final day, playing against Benalmadena Hockey club's under 16 boys team. We were certainly put through our paces with the quick speed of play, not helped by the intense midday heat. We were slow to start, being 3-0 down after the third quarter but Ara McCarton was able to score taking the final score to 3-1. The 1st XI played second with the tough opposition of the Benalmadena boys under 18 team. The first quarter ended 5-0 to the boys, but in the next quarter following another goal from them, we scored from a short corner with a great deflection by Caitlin Murphy from the post. The final score was 7-1 but we showed much perseverance despite being our first match against a boys team. After a quick turn around we were on the bus again heading for some retail therapy. Here we had a relaxing lunch and also was were many initiations took place including a temper tantrum from Emma Conlin. It was soon time to head to the airport for a late flight, arriving back to Cranmore park at a respectable 2am.
It was a fabulous trip with stronger bonds formed between both teams which will help us with our hockey back in Belfast.