Day 12 Wednesday July 31st
Not much needed for breakfast-still full after last night’s meat feast.
We leave the hotel at 8am-What no Kanga!! Mrs O’Sullivan can’t find it-we’ll have to purchase a new one. I hope we can get a replica, it would be tough on Mr Richards if he had to redo all the Kanga posters around school.
We meet up with the students at school at 8.30am. There is much chatter amongst the students about their experiences from the previous evening. No-one could better Cameron Clayfield and Iwan Jones though, their host had taken them jet skiing on the river.
I ask Fergus Leslie if there had been any problems overnight, “None at all, in fact several of my parents were just telling me how delightful your students had been.” Again it’s good to hear.
We travel to the school that is billeting the girls-Lindisfarne. As we drive there we pass through some areas of beautiful scenery and exclusive housing.
When we arrive we are met by Damian Clucas the Head of Sport and Headteacher Stuart Marquardt. Stuart welcomes us and informs us that the school has 1200 pupils and puts out 17 netball teams each week. Rugby is in its infancy but is a growing sport at the school. The netball and hockey captains both welcome us and Casey Williams and Fern Evans respond on our behalf.
While the girls get changed the boys go up to the top field and play touch rugby for 20 minutes.
We watch the first half of the netball before we have to leave. There was a great atmosphere in the sports hall with our boys encouraging the girls and a lot of the young netball players from Lindisfarne doing similar for their heroes. Before we leave I speak to several of the young ladies from Lindisfarne, they are really pleasant and respectful. One of them told me our team was amazing-I think she was amazing too.
We are back at the Mantra Legends and check in by 2pm.
Billy Davies tells me that he doesn’t want to be in a room with Henry Aiono. “He snores.”
Six of the year 10 boys shout to Mr Lewis, “The lift’s not working, sir.” “I’m not surprised,” he replies, “That’s the one that goes down to the car park!” The boys sheepishly come out and cross the corridor to the lifts that go up to the rooms.
We watch the video of the under 18 game-Adam Williams had told us after the game that he’d ‘put a shift in.’ the video told a different story.
We receive reports of the girls’ games. The netball team had lost 37-9 and the hockey team went down 8-0. The game was a bit of a mismatch with the Lindisfarne team including 7 boys. Chloe Collins received a nasty bang to her leg and needed to go to hospital. Mrs O’Sullivan took her and thankfully an x-ray confirmed that it was nothing worse than strained ligaments. Chloe’s leg is put in a brace.
The boys depart for Helensvale rugby club where they are due to play a Gold Coast under 16 and under 19 team.
When we arrive, the under 16s are warming up-we thought it was their under 19s because they are huge, unfortunately it was the younger team. One dad tells us his son weighs 120kgs and is on the bench. There are 3 or 4 lads who look even bigger.
The coaches tell us we are playing an under 17 team and watching them warm up it looks like it may not only be a physical mismatch, but their skill level looked good too.
At half time we trailed 25-5 and the score line was that close only because they had missed all their kicks and we had tackled unbelievably bravely. The physical mismatch had seen Will Thomas taken off with a damaged shoulder as a result of a collision between a ‘good little un’ and a ‘very big un’. Robyn Williams received a bang to the head in a similar collision and has to go to hospital to be checked for concussion.
At half time, Mr Thomas speaks to the opposition coaches and says that the physical contest is inappropriate and we should cancel the game. They respond by offering us their replacement front row-all of whom are well over 100kgs. It evens up the physical contest up front, but we are still up against it behind the scrum.
However, the second half is a much more even contest and we draw the half 7 points all, eventually losing 32-7. Again our boys do not shy away from the physical confrontation and were denied a second score on 3 or 4 occasions only by some last ditch defence. At full time, I could not have been more proud of our players than I was. They had not shirked a challenge they shouldn’t have faced. Had you said at the start of the game that the final score would have been as competitive as it was, I’m sure few would have believed it.
We will make representations to our tour co-ordinator to ensure it doesn’t happen in our next game as we are again due to play an under 16 representative team.
During the game, the lady staff arrived at the ground to support after overseeing the billeting of the girls. Despite the results they had been really well received at Lindisfarne and expected that the girls would be really well looked after overnight.
Post match we assess the injuries to Will and Robyn. We and Will agrees that he’s received an impact injury and the best thing is to assess it in the morning. However, Robyn is showing signs of being concussed and we feel it would be best to get him to hospital to have him checked.
We transfer by taxi to A and E at the University hospital. It is very busy there, but when he sees the doctor he receives a thorough examination which confirms he is not concussed. We will need to check on him during the night and Peter Cort sets his alarm for 3am to allow him to go to Robyn’s room and check on him.
Robyn and I are back at the hotel by just after 10pm and the teams have just returned following the games and presentations.
Confusion had reigned at full time in the under 19 game with both teams celebrating victory by a point. A check of the referee’s scorecard confirmed that the hosts had come out on top 17-16. In school, our numeracy drive had seen a significant improvement in our GCSE maths results-I bet that if Mrs Parsons is reading this she’ll be puffing her chest out. It’s a good job none of the questions had asked; what is the sum of 15 + 2? If so, perhaps some of the maths department may have been looking for another job!
The boys return to the hotel by 10pm and can grab something to eat before having to be in their rooms by 11pm.
As we are going to our rooms the police arrive, blue lights flashing. Rumour is that they are investigating the suspected misappropriation of photographs from the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Thankfully they are investigating another issue and a very relieved student and member of staff make their way up to their rooms.
A very big day tomorrow-the 1st Ashes test starts at Edgbaston!
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