Before I went to bed the previous evening, I see the pre-lunch session at Old Trafford. England are in strife!! They are 30 for 3 at lunch.
I go to sleep quickly, but a little worried that we may get bowled out.
Next morning I am awake early and up by 6am. Another fantastic sunrise across the Pacific. My first thought is for the cricket. ‘Englandare saved by the rain’ is the headline. Thank goodness for the great British climate. Not long after I’d gone to bed the rain had come and England had retained the Ashes.
A big day for Hannah Breeze-Jones – she’s 16 today. I’m sure she’ll always remember she spent the day in Mooloolaba.
I check the blog, my emails and planner, and reply to communications from home and we are out for breakfast by 7.45am. We board our coach and travel to school. The students are all there on time as usual. I check on Rachel Walsh – she is better and Nia Devonald, she feels a little worse – but still wants to play!!! We’ll try to get her to a chemist this morning to ask advice. As the students get on the bus, I check that all is going well – all are smiling. We leave school just after 9am and travel to Underwater World. Yesterday we had met up with Jack and Harri Hooper-Lewis. They had emigrated to Australiajust over 12 months ago and now live in Perth(about 3000 miles away). They had flown over to see us and were staying in Mooloolaba. They joined us at Australiazoo yesterday and were waiting for us at Underwater World.
En route to Underwater World Miss Jeffreys had organised the ‘Donkey of the day’ vote. Unusually there were only 4 nominations. Everyone must be thinking before they speak. No one wants to wear the shirt, particularly after I had just worn it!!!!
Anyway, the contenders;
Tom Wallace, like myself, had just lost his credit card, which had £500 of spending money on it. He was ringing home to cancel it. Don’t expect any presents mum and dad!!
Lewis Macdermott continues to have issues with his tour clothing. He left his hoodie in Australiazoo.
Emma Kieft had raised a few eye brows when Harri Hooper-Lewis told her he was going ‘to hire a board to go surfing’. ‘Is that a type of animal?’ she asked him.
Jayde Andersen had tried her own ‘sting’ by telling Jack Cambriani that ‘a volcano had erupted in her hosts’ living room. Jack believed her. I’m not certain which one should have been nominated for that, but Jack was.
When the vote was taken, 8 votes went to Tom, but Emma took the rest of them and the shirt. It was a little ‘baggy’ on her after being worn by Mr Mason.
Just after the vote was taken, it came to light that Miss Jeffreys had been ‘guilty of a faux pas’ herself. She had posted a photo on Facebook of her ‘cuddling a Koala’ and put the comment ‘Emma cuddling a Kangaroo’ beneath it. Well they both are Australian and begin with a ‘K’ she said – surely that’s close enough!!
She had been inundated with comments from friends at home who pointed out her mistake!!
We arrive at Underwater World at 9.30am and will have just under two and a half hours there and arrange to meet at 11.50am before going to ‘Fasta Pasta’ for lunch.
The highlight of our stay at Underwater World is the seal show at 11am. It is really entertaining and quite humorous. The seals appear very intelligent and graceful in the water.
Jade Meredith volunteers to feed the seals and holds a squid at head height, the seal bursts from the water to take it from her hand.
Eight of the boys had not paid to go into Underwater World and they go with Mr Walters to the beach and enjoy a couple of hours in the surf. Mr Walters said it was one of the highlights of his tour. I wasn’t certain whether that was because he was away from me or because he enjoyed the sea and beach-I’ll let you make your own mind up!!
We walk from Underwater World to ‘Fasta Pasta’. It is an excellent restaurant and we dine for $10 each. We enjoy a choice of 8 meals and soft drinks. It is excellent value for money. Katy Baran really enjoyed the calamari.
We finish at 1.00pm and have an hour to explore the shops and beach area. Several students take the opportunity to have a swim and Kira Button, Elaine Tucker, Jayde Anderson and Molly Kabia all have a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
At 2.00pm we bid a slightly tearful farewell to Harri and Jack, it’s been great to see them again. I’m sure we will see them again soon. In their place have come Mrs Thomas, her husband and sons Morgan and Osian. They are doing their own tour and have linked their itinerary to ours for 24 hours. It is nice to see them, and as Mrs Thomas is also Hannah Breeze-Jones’ form tutor – she takes the opportunity to wish her a Happy Birthday. She tells me she always wishes those in her form a ‘happy birthday’ but hasn’t been able to wish Hannah ‘Happy birthday’ before because it’s in the summer holiday.
We transfer to Ballinger Park which is where the hockey is to be played at 3pm. It is about 300m from the school, and in keeping with all the venues we have played at, it is an excellent facility.
The game starts a little late at 3.10pm. Matthew Flinders are playing their UK touring teams in all of the games. (They will be staying with us during the first weekend of October). They didn’t have enough girls travelling to have an all girls team so we play a ‘mixed’ sex team.
The rugby and netball teams watched the 1st half and some of the 2nd half of the hockey before being transferred to the school for their games which are due to start at 5pm.
On the stroke of half time, a disaster, Molly Kabia goes to the ground on the half way line. She hasn’t taken a blow but has twisted her ankle badly on the surface. She is carried off and her ankle swells up really quickly. A Doctor on the site looks at it and decides it is best for her to go to hospital. We call an ambulance and Mr Walters accompanies her. She is X-rayed in hospital and released 5 hours later at 9pm. A+E in Australia seems to have similar problems to those in the UK. The Doctor tells us that she has damaged the ligaments on the outside of her ankle, but that she doesn’t need to go into plaster. They strap it up and give her crutches.
The hockey girls started their final game with a good start. All the team showed brilliant commitment when making tackles and getting the ball back from the opposition. Miss Jeffreys could not have asked for anymore effort from the girls during the game, it was brilliant to see the girls playing as a team and encouraging each other throughout. Unfortunately this did not show in the final result which was a loss of 2-0.
During the first half, many great saves were made from Rachael Williams and many strong tackles were made from our defence including Alycia Carpanini, Evie Powe, Nia Devonald and Katy Baran. First half ended 0-0.
Gowerton seemed to be the stronger team throughout but unfortunately they finished the game without a goal. The team had many scoring opportunities within the game with shots from Jess Rees, Kira Button and Ailsa Howells.
Great performances again from all of the girls including Georgia Davies, Hannah Williams, Hannah Breeze Jones and Jayde Anderson.
The netball and rugby games kick off just after 5pm.
For the first time on tour the rugby team are not playing a bigger team. The rugby pitch is excellent quality, full size and floodlit. When the school was built 23 years ago, the sports ‘oval’ was considered the nucleus, and the school was built around it.
We kick off and Rhys Cherry puts us on the front foot when he gathers Tom Froom’s kick and powers into the Matthew Flinders half. The ball is moved to Rob James and he is tackled into touch just short of the line. Scott Smith stole the lineout and Cherry powered over from the ensuing maul. Callum Macdermott converted.
Gowerton increased their lead in the tenth minute when good work by Jack Cambriani freed Keelan Giles who crossed in the corner.
In the 24th minute, Tom Wedlake sprinted clear from 60 metres and Callum Macdermott’s conversion meant that we led 19-0 at half time.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with our backs very well marshalled by Tom Froom, running and handling impressively.
Captain Tom Wedlake scored his 2nd try in the 31stminute when he again showed great pace to sprint 40 metres to outstrip the defence and score a try that Macdermott converted.
Matthew Flinders now enjoyed their best spell of pressure and pressed our line, but our defence, with Tom Froom prominent was unflinching, and when a misdirected pass results in a loose ball 10 metres out. Keelan reacts quickly, gathers the ball and sprints the length of the field to score a try that Callum again converts.
In the 45th minute, Tom Wedlake completes his hat trick when he finishes off good work by Rob James and Jack Cambriani. Callum again converts. There were no further scores and at the final whistle, we have achieved a comfortable and deserved win 40-0.
There were good performances from Alex Freeman, Max Harris, Dylan Treharne, Rhodri Tyrrell, Lewis Macdermott and Tom Wallace who was making his first appearance of the tour.
We award Tom Wedlake, player of the match and the hosts make Rhys Cherry theirs. The team are rightly proud of their achievement of remaining undefeated on tour-the first Gowerton sporting team to do so in the Southern hemisphere. They are reminded of the importance of being ‘humble in victory’-They don’t disappoint us.
After cheering on the hockey girls the netballers warmed up whilst they waited for Ailsa and Alycia to arrive from the hockey.
Miss Rushworth and Bethany Davies (captain) gave the team a quick team talk with the main focus being on starting the game fast and determined- and that they did.
Gowerton quickly went ahead with some fantastic shooting again from Ailsa Howells and Bethany and with Elaine Tucker and Emma Kieft supporting them well and feeding some impressive passes into the circle.
After the 1st quarter Gowerton were ahead-8-4.
Unfortunately, during this break Ailsa and Emma Kieft needed to be rested due to injury- we didn’t have any shooters. However, Alycia bravely stepped up into Ailsa’s shoes to help support Bethany. Gowerton’s defence worked tirelessly with some fantastic interceptions from Sarah Wedlake. Gemma Evans and Laura Baker continuing to make Matthew Flinders shooter’s job difficult. Unfortunately Matthew Flinders caught up and showed what a strong and impressive side they were. The end of the second quarter, 8-14 to Matthew Flinders.
During the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter Elaine Tucker came off injured (shoulder), she is okay but feels it is best to ice it up on the side line! The girls pulled together and moved in and out of positions to give us a chance- Miss Rushworth could not have asked for any more and was definitely a proud coach cheering on from the sideline. They were fantastic putting Matthew Flinders under pressure for every pass made and Bethan Rees took on the Goal Shooters position improving Gowerton position immensely. The score now was 15-17
The final quarter was an important one for us with the score so close and with so many injuries, a lot was being asked from an already strained side. Every single player put everything they had into and made Gowerton proud! The defence had some fantastic opposition to play against but still managed to put them under considerable pressure, Gemma Evans worked tirelessly!
The game ended 21-30-a well fought game, every single player should be thoroughly proud of themselves!!!
The player of the match was Sarah Wedlake for some fantastic interceptions and making the oppositions’ circle feeding very difficult!! Matthew Flinders nominated Ailsa Howells.
After the game we enjoy an open air reception on the bank of the ‘oval’. The schools’ parents association provide us with soft drinks, fruit and fantastic beef burgers. The atmosphere is very relaxed. Jerry Price, the Headteacher tells me that over the past two days all he had heard from parents was how ‘delightful’ our students had been. I mingle with the parents who are hosting and receive an enthusiastic endorsement from them all about our students.
We make presentations to the school and the hosts’ players of the match and then the students depart with their hosts for the evening at just after 7.00pm. We return to our apartment with Mrs Thomas and her family-she is also booked in overnight, by 7.45pm and go out for a meal with the Matthew Flinders staff at the Mooloolaba surf club. We enjoy their company-their ethos is very much like ours in that it’s about giving young people an opportunity to test themselves rather than for ‘winning to be the be all and end all’.
Mr Walters arrives back from the hospital at 9.45pm, just as we are leaving, it’s been a long evening for him.
We go back to our apartment and pack our cases-we have to be up at 4.00am tomorrow to meet the students at 5.00am at school!!!
The last leg of our tour beckons tomorrow-white water rafting and the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns-something to look forward to.