This year's hockey tour to Holland was a great success and has definitely taught us all things collectively and individually. Over the course of the weekend we played three matches against tough opposition. Having arrived Friday, we had a quick stop over in the hotel then went straight to Myra Hockey club to play a local team. The game started very strongly with our strikers entering the opposition’s D frequently; however, as the game progressed the Dutch skill and fitness prevailed as they came away victorious.
Later that night we went to the opening match of the European Championships, where we watched the Netherlands vs. Spain, two of the best women’s teams in the world. The game was very exciting as we sat right behind the Dutch attacking goal. This gave us the opportunity to pick up tactics and techniques to hopefully put in our games at home. However, the game was stopped for a period due to a torrential thunderstorm which resulted in us having to make a ‘quick’ escape (as quick as it can be with 34 girls…).
On Saturday morning we started off watching Scotland women play Ireland, cheering on our home team. Little did we know we were in for a treat when we met Kate Richardson-Walsh, the GB women’s Rio 2016 captain, who led them to gold.
We then headed back to Myra to play our next round of opposition. Both teams played very solidly and real strengths were shown as we began to bond together and this really showed in our teamwork on the pitch; however, neither team came away with a victory. The girls then mixed with the opposition as we had dinner with them at the club house.
On Sunday morning we had our last matches of tour as we split into two teams. We played really well at the start of the game, with the Dutch breaking down our defence only once to go in at half time 1-0 down. However, our determination showed as we fought back into the game and ended up winning 2-1: a terrific effort by everyone.
Overall the matches helped us gain experience against some of the best hockey teams in Amsterdam. Everyone's hockey improved dramatically and the tour allowed the girls to work as a team and get a feel for what the season ahead holds. On the last day we were given an amazing experience in a training session with Julia Müeller (a German defender who has 273 caps for her country) and Kenny Bain (a top-tier Scotland player). Both of these incredible players took time out to show us some of their top tips and give us their advice on improving our own individual hockey skills.
The tour has put us in a great position for the season ahead, and huge thanks must go to Miss Simpson for organising the tour, Mrs FitzGerald, Miss MacNeill and Mr Ralph, as without them this trip would not have been possible, nor would we have been able to improve as much as we have. We look forward to working with the squad this year, after a very promising tour.
Nina Boothby and Emily Duncan
(1st XI Captains)