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Barbados Sports Tour

Our Hockey and Netball girls have travelled out to Barbabos to play against local teams and immerse themselves in Caribbean culture. As they go through this unique experience, they will be writing updates for the website, to give those back home a flavour of the trip.

Day 1

Danielle Benger (Fifth Form, Gascoigne) writes…

After 2 years of waiting for our hockey and netball tour to Barbados, it finally arrived. At exactly 4am on Sunday morning everyone was dressed in the matching tour kit, ready for the long haul drive and flight to Barbados. The excitement was overwhelming but no one showed it until we were nearing getting on the plane.

On the flight we were able to watch films and play games on a small screen placed in the back of every seat. The flight was very long, being just over 8 hours duration and when we landed the relief was clear on everyone's faces. Afterwards we collected bags and were driven to our hotel; it was so hot!  From the long flight everyone was tired but we carried on until 9pm, sunbathing and going into the sea and hot tubs.

Today we all woke up and came down for breakfast in the hotel before sunbathing and relaxing in the pool. Later today we have our first netball match of the tour which everyone is really excited for.

Day 2

Sasha Hargreaves (Fifth Form, Swift), Grace Henstone (Fifth Form, Queen Anne) and Niamh McCall (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne) write…

After a really tiring day of traveling yesterday, we all woke up early because of jetlag and spent our morning trying to acclimatise for our match by lying by the pool and going to the beach. Half reluctant to leave the beach, we were eager to begin our first netball match of the tour. After a short bus journey we arrived at the local school. Keen to meet our first foreign opponents, we watched the girls file out of Springer School.

An intense warm up in the heat prepared us for our first match. Unfamiliar with the physicality throughout court, the girls had to get used to the physical play. The C team, led by captain Verity Smith, made a strong start to the first match of the tour, unfortunately, due to a strong opposition, they narrowly lost. We felt that there was exceptionally strong play from Lydia Warnell as she moved the ball brilliantly through the centre court.

Next it was the B team’s turn to face the heat and the well-prepared Springers. Captained by Charlotte Bury, the B team made a remarkable effort to defend against the agile opposing team but also marginally lost this match. From this match we thought that Grace Henstone showed exceptional skills in her WD position. Finally the A team, captained by Sasha Hargreaves, took on an athletic side containing players of a national standard. Once again we fought a well contested match and although we struggled due to heat in the second half, we continued to play until the final whistle blew, the A team, although it was a very close match, lost by six points. We thought that Emily Kent shot brilliantly against the Springers’ most aggressive national player.

After a few photos with the opposing side and an exchange of gifts, we found the energy to make a trip to the island’s main supermarket to buy some sweets and supplies. In the evening, we relaxed in our rooms while waiting for our well-deserved pizza delivery and preparing for the Cokethorpe Olympics on the beach tomorrow. 

Day 3

Hannah Craig (Fourth Form, Gascoigne), Scarlett Jewson (Fourth Form, Swift) and Georgie Vallance (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh) write…

We started off on Tuesday morning with a leisurely sunbathing session by the pool. This was the day to relax and regain our focus for tomorrow's hockey matches. In the afternoon we spent a lot of our time on the beach where we had a water aerobics class led by Mrs Floyd, it was really funny and actually quite tiring! A sand castle competition was the next activity of the afternoon. In teams we had 20 minutes to sculpt a sandcastle using the set theme food and drink. Groups made things such as carrots, fish and a banana split; some were better than others! The winning team were Scarlett and Georgie who made Scarlett into a human pizza.

In the evening we went to our rooms and had a shower and Sophie Gordon set up a hair braiding station in her room and braided all the girls’ hair before dinner. The teachers cooked us a selection of pasta sauces and we cooked our own pasta, it was delicious!  

We are all really looking forward to our hockey fixtures tomorrow, so we are going to get an early night in preparation. 

Day 4

Jen Wells (Fifth Form, Queen Anne) and Hannah Craig (Fourth Form, Gascoigne) write…

After a hot day in the sun lounging by the pool, we headed out, focused and pumped for our first hockey matches. Our opposition was the University of Barbados Under 23s team. They were very strong and had experience in the field. The 2nds had their match first and started with a powerful and skilled Verity in the middle, she worked hard, transferring the ball from side to side whilst moving up the pitch. The University side were very strong and scored a goal in the opening minutes. This unfortunately meant that Cokethorpe's sprit was low, which led to them letting in a few goals. However, with Grace in defence overloading the ball with pace to Hannah, who skilfully made her way up the pitch and passed it on to Evie, we were looking strong for a goal until the whistle blew for half time. After half time, Cokethorpe returned to the pitch with a positive mental attitude and a good outlook for the next half. Ellie and Georgie defended short corners well, with Charlotte in goal making some good saves. Despite a loss, everyone came off the pitch with smiles and made light of the game. ‘Player of the Match’ went to Verity for her supportive role, keeping the play linked together.

After watching the 2nds play, the 1sts then followed. The girls started off strong with an early goal from Maddie, supported by India. The team continued to look very strong, with Keely and Danielle putting pressure on the forwards. The forwards created space for Rosie and Lydia to make some breaks into the "D" and pass on to Sasha for a shot on goal. Unfortunately the older girls got the better of us and came back with 2 more goals. This made Cokethorpe even more determined to get their first win of the tour and this showed, with players applying early pressure to the university side, frustrating them a lot. With the help of the mids and supporting forwards, Yasmin evened the score with a strong strike. In the final few seconds Yasmin secured the win, showing her skill in the attacking "D".

This made the final score 3-2 and Maddie earned a well-deserved ‘Player of the Match’, showing support, skill and speed throughout.

After some gruelling hockey matches we returned to our hotel. We had quick showers to freshen up and then headed downstairs into the hotel restaurant to have some much deserved food. We ate a selection of meat and fish with some salad and rice. There was some entertainment in the restaurant and after little persuasion we all hit the dance floor. It was a really good atmosphere and all the guests in the hotel joined in our circle where we were dancing. We learnt some new dance moves to some new, catchy songs. We all did a big conga around the restaurant and down by the pool, everyone joining in again.

We had a great day and we are really looking forward to the boat yard trip tomorrow, where we will be doing lots of water activities. 

Day 5

Ellie McBride (Lower Sixth, Gascoigne), Georgie Edwards-Lowe (Lower Sixth, Feilden) and Niamh McCall (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne) write…

We started the day with a short bus journey with Junior, our driver, to the Boatyard-a tropical water adventure in the sea. We were greeted at the door and given a choice of lunches, before we headed onto the beach and chose our sunbeds. All the pupils chose a four post wooden sun bed; they were very luxurious. We spent most of the morning in the sea and also on the trampolines and inflatable iceberg, it was so clear in the water that it felt like you were in a swimming pool. The rope swing and diving board proved to be very popular with both students and staff.

We then headed back to shore for a game of volleyball on the beach, with the teachers showing off their skills before going in for our lunch; we had a choice of fish, chicken, burgers and hot dogs. Once we had finished our lunch, we were straight back in the sea to finish off our trip before going back to the hotel. After relaxing in our rooms, we went down to the pool to enjoy the last of the sun before going to get dressed for our Bajan barbecue dinner at the hotel. It was amazing, we were given steak, chicken, fish and loads of rice, salad and garlic bread. Whilst having dinner, there was a man playing the steel drums.

Tomorrow we are having our Beach Olympics competition with loads of different events and are off to Oistins fish market in the evening for dinner; we can't wait! 

Day 6

India Hurford-Jones (Fifth Form, Swift) and Lydia Wannell (Fifth Form, Feilden) write…

Today after a relaxed morning by the pool, we began our beach Olympics where we took part in team actives to win a champion title. Starting with a running relay, we stepped it up with an egg and spoon race which proved difficult for everybody, though Rosie Hunt and Sasha Hargreaves looked like naturals! After a long jump round and hoop throw, we moved on to an exciting human sandcastle competition with teams making things such as an astronaut in space, dog and mermaids. We then continued with a tense wrestling game. Moving to the pool, we showed off our group synchronised swimming pieces, with many creative ideas and moves! After an exciting final, with the Barbarians crowned as the champions, we finished the afternoon with chill time in the water, ready for the evening ahead. 

This evening we went to Oistins fish market to try some of the local food of Barbados. We were given the chance to explore by ourselves, having the opportunity to look around the stalls and buy gifts. After a delicious dinner and ice cream we mingled with the locals on the dance floor, embracing the party spirit and joining in with another group of school girls who were also on tour. We danced the can-can, took part in the limbo and won a dance-off, before going back to the resort to sleep. 

Day 7

Emily Kent (Fourth Form, Harcourt) and Maddie Garrett (Fifth Form, Feilden) write…

On Saturday, we woke up at 5.30am which was early for us, as we had all recovered from jetlag. We travelled to the Barbados netball stadium to play some fixtures against the Barbarians; the national U16 side for Barbados. After a well-led warmup from our captain, Sasha, we were ready to play! The girls from both sides showed great skill and determination as the ball was passed down the court with speed and strength. Early on in the first quarter despite all the hard work the Barbarians made steady progress, giving themselves an early lead of 5-1. However, the determined Cokethorpe side, with the help of GK Louisa Mattinson got the ball out of the D and kept the shooters out. This meant our shooters could take more possession, with goals resulting from Emily and Evie.

The end of the first quarter resulted in a tie of 7-7. After a few change of positions, Cokethorpe came on with more energy and spirits livened. Once again the Barbados side took a four goal lead but after some tight marking from the defence we kept the ball out of the D, giving fewer chances of scoring. The centre court, especially Sasha, offered constant passes in to the shooters meaning a great result for Cokethorpe; we came up and drew 14-14 at half time. We came on in the third quarter tired and hot as the sun and humidity started to rise, especially as we obviously have no experience of this heat. Barbados took a six goal lead at the end of this quarter. After another change of positions we went with more determination then ever and hunger to regain our draw; in the first four minutes we had done it and were back on a 24-24 goal draw.

The girls all played extremely well and everyone was extremely consistent. This resulted in the final score of 28-28 a fantastic result against a national side. It was very clear to see the improvement and gain of knowledge from every single girl on the court.

A special mention must go to Maddie Garrett for her superb work as GD partnered with Louisa Mattinson, who turned over a considerable amount of balls, India H-J for her consistent offers to ball and Emily K for her work in the circle. The Player of the Match was awarded to Sasha Hargreaves, who showed strong leadership throughout the game.

Match Report by Charlotte Bury (Fifth Form, Vanbrugh)…

Today the girls woke up at 6.00am for a 6.30am departure to go to the Barbados National Netball stadium, where we had two matches against the Barbados national netball team.

The B team started the morning off with a close match, with the Barbados team ultimately winning. The match was a hard fought match and all the players put all their effort into the game, especially considering the heat. Ellie Clarke deserves a mention for her intelligent play, creating fluidity in attack. Lydia Wannell was strong throughout the match, consistently bringing the ball from the defence up to the attacking defence. 

Mrs Floyd writes...

It was an impressive effort from all the netball girls particularly against these quality players. The opposition were from the U16 national development squad and really gave us a few things to think about on court.

The B's had a great experience but weren't quite a match for the athleticism of the Bajan girls. Charlotte Bury was outstanding in defence and gained my Player of the Match nomination for her relentless approach to deny the opposition any more goals.

I was also very proud of the A’s who in 33C heat battled in the final to claw back 6 goals to end the match 28-28! Sasha Hargreaves was my Player of the Match for being exceptional in her play and as the tour netball captain.

Day 8

Samara Clark (Fifth Form, Feilden) writes…

This morning we visited Nightingale Orphanage. Though we knew little about what to expect, all of us were looking forward to meeting the children but also anxious about entering their home. On arrival, we discovered the orphanage was for both orphans and children who are severely disabled. As we disembarked from the bus the children were eagerly waiting on their terrace for our arrival, we gave them all hugs and said our 'hello's' before entering.

Once inside we played many games with the children and gave them presents, they especially enjoyed the balloons we brought with us. It was simple things like this which brightened their day; having us there brought a smile to many of their faces. Though it was difficult for some to understand the situation fully, for some their disability meant they preferred to just sit and listen. The lives these children live are without luxuries such as cameras and other electronics and they seemed somewhat fascinated by our phones. For one particular child Miss Williams' camera was especially interesting, he went around taking photos of everyone and having a really great time doing something different. We also got the chance to go into their sensory room, simple features such as twinkly stringed lights made a difference to the children.

We spent about an hour overall in the orphanage, it was a truly eye-opening experience for all of us to see a brief glimpse into the lives of these children. Their lives differ so much from our own, they don't have such privileges and are grateful for everything they get. Our visit was something out of the ordinary for them, which they seemed to greatly enjoy, and so did we, playing games with the children was fun as well as meeting new people. It was heartwarming to meet such lovely children who just wanted to have fun; they welcomed us into their home and were so friendly. For some of us, it was emotional to see the children with so little, even though they were enjoying themselves. It was such a contrast to the lives we have, and to some this was shocking. We left wanting to do some fundraising in the future to raise money for them, as a group we feel inspired to try and help the children more by hopefully raising some money to send over to buy them some of the things they need.

It had already been an amazing day, and we still had the hockey fixtures to come!

We travelled to the University via the scenic route through Bridgetown and we got to see things like the Government buildings, defence base and the harbour.

When we arrived at the university we saw our opposition warming up on the cricket pitch; they looked fierce! The A team were up first this time and took to the pitch to warm up to get match-ready. At the beginning of the match both teams lined up and walked out side by side to the middle of the pitch to shake hands and wish each other good luck for the game.

From the off, both teams battled hard and proved themselves to be very skilful. Georgie Edwards-Lowe and Keeley Harding were strong in defence and distributed the ball well, enabling our halves to attack. Maddie was strong in the middle, passing the ball out wide for our wingers to offload into the attacking D. The girls had some chances in the D in the first half but the opposing team were also strong defensively, denying us a goal.

After the half time team chat the A’s went out and battled hard. Niamh, Sasha and Yasmin rotated in the forward role and each looked strong in the attacking D. Each looked as if they were going to score from some intelligent building play from the rest of the team, however, they were all unexpectedly taken out by the opposing goalkeeper.

The heat took its toll on our players and you could see they were struggling to close down the opposing side early, allowing them to attack our D. They made an early strike and took a 1-0 lead. Despite some great efforts from our side we were unable to pull back a draw.

Player of the Match was awarded to Georgie- who played exceptionally well, made some hard tackles and looked untouchable moving the ball forward.

After watching the A's play, it was now the B's turn to take on their opponents. Feeling ready for a victory the B's took to the hockey pitch and set in their positions awaiting the whistle.

Within the first five minutes of the half, the Barbados side were quick to attack our D. They were awarded about four consecutive short corners. We managed to deny the opposition a goal with some fine saves from Charlotte Bury, and with Emily Kent making it hard for them to get a shot off.

This seemed to lift the team and thereafter we saw an attacking performance from the Cokethorpe side. We had a few chances on goal in the first half with one just going wide of the right post-this worried the opposition.

At half time we all seemed positive and believed we could win the game. Barbados came at us hard at the start of the second half and scored an early goal past Charlotte who had kept out their shots a lot in the first half.

This didn't put us down, we came back fighting and with some great play from Verity and Ellie C, Evie scored a terrific equaliser, raising spirits.

Charlotte continued to play outstandingly, scoring a goal to take the lead. A special mention to Grace Henstone also for her defensive work, as she applied the pressure extremely well and made some strong tackles, infuriating the Barbados team.

Despite our best efforts we couldn't hold them back and the University team took a 2-1 win.

Player of the Match was awarded to Charlotte Bury, who was outstanding in goal. She made some amazing dynamic saves and communicated well at the back.

Day 9

Sasha Hargreaves (Fifth Form, Swift) writes...

As it was the last day of the tour we set off early to spend the day on a catamaran cruise of the west coast of Barbados. The cruise, which was shared with another English school, started with a short sail, where we all sunbathed on the netting. Our first stop on the boat was to see some turtles. After we were kitted up with snorkelling gear, we got in the water and spent half an hour swimming with some turtles; they were amazing; loads of them came really close to us. We then got back onto the boat to travel to our next snorkelling destination to explore some shipwrecks, which were filled with exotic and colourful fish. Some of us swam down to the shipwreck and touched it; it was like nothing I had ever seen before.

We then all got back onto the boat to dry off and have some lunch, this consisted of fish, chicken, rice and salad with banana cake for desert.

Our next destination on the cruise was to sail around the west coast, where we viewed celebrity houses including Rihannah's, Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Simon Cowell’s. These houses were massive and right on the waterfront, unfortunately though, we didn't manage to see the celebs in person!

The boat came in quite close to shore and anchored, which gave us a chance to jump off the side of the boat into clear sea and swim to the beach. We tried different jumps, some in groups, some backwards and Mrs Floyd even did a back somersault!

On the way back to the harbour, we played our music, topped up our tans and danced on the roof; it was such a good day! Once we got back to the hotel, most of us had a short swim before returning to our rooms to get ready for our last evening at Harbour Lights.

After a few pictures and a short bus journey, we arrived at Harbour Lights and queued outside (in the rain!) before going in, choosing our meal and getting our welcome drink. Then we made our way down to the beachside stage and restaurant. By the time we had finished our welcome drinks, the rain had stopped, so many of us made it onto the sand dance floor to make the most of our last bit of live Bajan music.

We then got a barbecued dinner and sat down to enjoy it while the entertainment began. First we enjoyed a Bajan band with dancers, before enjoying toasted marshmallows, ice cream and a chocolate fountain. We then danced to the band a little more before taking our seats to watch a fire eater, a limboer, stilt dancers and some gymnastics. Once this incredible performance had finished we took to the dance floor for the final time before leaving, excited and sweaty from the atmosphere but also sad as we realized our tour was almost over.

Once we got back, we all went straight to our rooms to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for packing, catching the last rays of sun and the long journey home.








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