During the Easter holidays, 25 Netball players from Y9 to 13 departed to Vilamoura in Portugal for the 2013 Netball Tour. The tour departed school at 2.30am and as we boarded the plane, rain looked heavy in the grey clouds above in the typical English fashion we have all come to know. Many girls slept on the plane due to our early start, dreaming of sunshine and sandy beaches and Netball of course!. As we stepped of the plane in Faro, squeals of excitement swept through the group as we were met by a warm breeze and bright sunshine!
After a short transfer through passport control and the baggage re-claim, we were on the coach with our Browns rep and heading to Vilamoura and our destination; Browns Sport & Leisure Club. We were greeted off the coach by Mr Sinclair who had flown out prior to us. The rooms were more like apartments with a kitchenette, sofa and TV’s, perfect for a rest before a light training session and dinner. It had already been a long day but the pool outside did look very appealing to most although the temperature of the water wasn’t!
The food on the first night and every night was fantastic. A buffet style meal with healthy choices of meat, rice and pasta normally with a creamy mushroom sauce which most people had second helpings of. The orange juice tasted like no other as it had obviously been freshly squeezed on the same day and I as many of the girls did notice we passed huge orange tree plantations along the road near the resort.
We all had an early night after supper as the next day we had our first full day of Netball and looked forward to meeting the other teams that had entered into the ‘Cosmopolitan Cup’, competing for the three large trophies that were on display. Also up for grabs was a Most Valuable Player Award which also was gifted an individual trophy.
There were many weary faces on our first morning as we met for breakfast but the sun was shining, our shorts and tour t-shirts were on and we had a spread of fresh breads, cereals, fruit and hot food to help prepare us for the day ahead. It was clear the sun would be shining for the entire day and the talk of sun cream was spoken about from breakfast right through to dinner although some/most were left more than a little bit ‘red faced’ as they showed up to dinner glowing!
The Netball matches were of a good standard and the spirit in which everyone played was superb. Each match consisted of two 15 minute halves and the heat added to the intensity of the matches although with our snowy season in England as a distant reminder, there were no complaints of the glorious sunshine.
After the last Netball match was completed, everyone returned to their rooms to have a cool shower and get dressed for dinner. The evening’s entertainment was a live band in the Sports Bar which hosted a pool table, tables to play cards and Ex-England Rugby player Matt Dawson for company! It was a lively and fun evening but most were appreciative when the time for bed came around as we had yet another action packed day ahead.
The finals day of our Netball tournament was played with increased determination and competition. The final game came down to the 1sts team versus the 2nds from Framlingham College. The score went the way of the 2nds for the majority of the 30 minutes with the 1sts being denied at every scoring opportunity and the three youngest players from the tour, all in Year 9 were excelling down court. With just over a minute to play, a missed goal from the 2nds allowed the 1sts to capitalise and score the next three goals in a row and on the final whistle the 1sts cheered with relief as they so narrowly beat the awesome efforts of the 2nds by just one goal! A brilliant final! The Most Valuable Player trophy was awarded to Molly Drnec in the U16 Framlingham side for her outstanding contribution in attack throughout the tournament.
The third and final day started with a restful morning and a late breakfast. At 12.00pm the girls were invited to a Zumba fitness class followed by a class of Spinning. Many of the girls took up the opportunity to get active with the fun Zumba instructor who had everyone smiling as she wiggled her way through the routine. After lunch we met for a coach ride to Vilamoura Marina. It was a beautiful sight as private boats and yachts lined the marina edge and open front restaurants and ice cream parlours enticed groups of girls in after our short walk to the beach.
Overall the tour was a perfect blend of fierce Netball action and relaxed poolside chatter. We experienced some of the delights that Vilamoura had on offer at the marina and we were looked after superbly by the staff at Browns and our hotel. The girls were well mannered and polite and I received many compliments about their behaviour from other holiday makers whilst we were away. A great trip and lots of memories to take away and share.
Leah Webster, Head of Netball