Day 12: Friday 2nd August

Englandare in strife!!!  I wake at 6.45 am and turn the TV on to find out the test score.  Michael Clarke has scored an undefeated century and Australia are 300 for 3.
We get ready and leave at 8.10am. The students all seem very happy. We have a coach available and Mark is to accompany us which will be a big help.
We set off at 9.30am and travel to the Aussie Bush leather company which is a company that specialises in making quality Australian leather products. It is where Ugg boots are made. Prices are a little more expensive than in Sydney, but we know that we are getting the original product.
I purchase some Ugg’s as presents for back home. Dylan Treharne tries on a wide brimmed cowboy hat and leather coat. He reminds me of Hoss Cartwright from ‘Bonanza’. You’ve got to be over 50 to know what I am talking about.
After a 20 minute stop, back on the bus we travel to Oxley lookout. It gives us panoramic views of the town and its surrounding rural areas. It reminds me very much of the views across the Canterbury Plain around Christchurch. The area is renowned for its farming and although rainfall is limited, the soil is good quality and farmers have developed ways of tapping into the aquifers underground which gives them the water they need. Mark takes a group photo and after 15 minutes we are back on the bus and travel to Marsupial Park. Calrossy have provided morning tea for us which is fruit, fruit juice, water and cupcakes. The cupcakes go down particularly well and many of our students say they are ‘lush’.
We enter Marsupial Park which has a number of aviaries with Cockatoos and similar types of birds.
One of the wardens asks us if we would like to see a Kangaroo. Yes please. He walks us down a track about 50 metres and points out a female lying there. We stand about 5 metres away and the ‘roo seems unperturbed. About 10 metres away in the bush we see 2 large male kangaroos. They ‘hop’ off down the track. The warden tells Alex Freeman that it’s OK for him to give the female bits of his apple. He throws some over and the Kangaroo picks it up and eats it. As it does so you can see both the smallness of her arms and the sharpness of her fingers. More confident, the female moves towards Alex and is almost within touching distance. Alex gives her some more apple. One of the males, in the meantime, has come back and stands about 10 metres away, probably keeping an eye on his partner. It’s an incredible few minutes and certainly I feel quite moved by the experience.
It’s something that I won’t forget for a long time and certainly I’m sure Alex will never forget it.
After 40 minutes, we are back on the coach and travel to the ‘Golden Guitar’. Tamworth is famous for its Country and Western music and the Golden Guitar is a 15 metre high statue that symbolises the musical heritage. Again, Mark takes a group photograph and we travel back to the games. We drop the girls at the Tamworthhockey centre where the games are timed to start at midday. With illness and injury affecting both squads, some girls have to play for the netball team when their preference is to play for the hockey team. Jessica Rees’ groin injury means that she plays in goal for the hockey team.
Even though the result of the game didn’t go our way, with the team eventually losing 5-0 the girls’ effort did not relent throughout. Missing regular captain Kira Button, Hannah Williams as vice captain stepped into the role to encourage and motivate the team throughout the game. It was a great effort from the whole team but special mention should be made to Alycia Carpanini, Molly Kabia and Jessica Rees, who played out of position in goal.
Miss Jeffreys couldn’t have asked for more effort and determination from her team. Jessica Rees was given the award of ‘player of the match’ by Calrossy and Alycia Carpanini was awarded ‘player of the match’ by Miss Jeffreys for her great efforts in the centre of defence.
At the netball, the girls arrived at Tamworth’s sports centre. Brittany Jenkins was ruled out of selection due to a chest infection.
After a quick team talk in the changing rooms and a warm up the girls were ready to take on Calrossy.
Calrossy won the toss and took the first centre pass which put our defence Sarah Wedlake, Gemma Evans and Laura Baker under pressure straight away. From the start it was evident that Calrossy were a skilful and fast side. Although Gowerton put in a brave performance cheered on from the sideline by Brittany Jenkins. The first quarter ended 5-10.
During the second half Bethany Davies, who had moved from centre to goal attack showed what a versatile player she is with some impressive goals, alongside Ailsa Howells.
Bethan Rees had made Calrossy’s feeding into their attacking circle difficult and both Gemma Evans and Laura Baker continued to make movement in and around the circle difficult. The second quarter ended 12-19.
The 3rd quarter Calrossy started off impressively quickly with accurate passing and movement. Elaine Tucker’s verbal encouragement picked up Gowerton’s spirits and the girls dug their heels in.
Calrossy’s shooting was particularly accurate this quarter and their defence made Bethanyand Ailsa’s job difficult. This quarter ended 19-36.
Emma Kieft started very well in the final quarter and fed the ball with precision in to Gowerton’s shooting circle. Gemma Evans continued to work extremely hard down the other end, but again Calrossy’s shooting was very accurate.
Elaine Tucker continued to show her determination throughout going for every ball possible.
The final score was 25-55-The player of match was Emma Kieft.
The games have generated a lot of interest in the local area and a reporter for the local paper ‘The Northern Daily Leader’ turns up to write about the games. Mr Walters and Mark Gallienne both give interviews about the experiences. Mr Long has put a link to the article on the blog. Even better than that is the fact that a camera crew turns up form the local TV station and takes some footage from the games. Tom Wedlake and Miss Jeffreys give interviews and both speak confidently.
The item is screened on the news later in the evening at 6.15pm and is great to watch. Mr Long is hoping to put the link on to the blog.
The boys travel to William Cowper, the boys’ campus. The school only has 200 boys and last time we came in 2009 they didn’t have enough to have a team and we played the local rugby club. However, under Joe Goldsworthy the school is expanding and they now have a team and impressive playing field.
We arrive at William Cowper at midday and they provide us with lunch. It is a large chicken burger to which you add as much salad and other meats as you wish. They are fantastic and well appreciated by the boys, so much so that when the ladies ask if they want another one the boys don’t hesitate. With less than an hour to kick off, I’m not certain that’s wise, but we’re not going to stop them.
The game kicks off at 1.30pm and within 2 minutes Callum Macdermott is on the side of the pitch bringing his chicken burgers back up. He’s OK to continue – he may have learnt a lesson about his pre-match diet!!
The game, as they have all been, was extremely competitive, with no quarter being asked or given. Gowerton took the lead in the 17thminute from a 5 metre scrum when good combination work between Tom Wedlake and Joel Young freed Keelan Giles to cross in the corner. Callum kicked the excellent conversion from the touchline and into the wind (see the news item).
In the 23rd minute William Cowper centre Enrique Corona cut the deficit with a penalty from 25 metres.
But two further tries before half time put Gowerton in charge. First a good run from Callum Macdermott put Joel Young clear and he powered over. Callum kept his 100% kicking record by adding the conversion. Then on the stroke of half time excellent handling put full back Giles over for his second try.
Gowerton stretched their lead early in the second half with a try from Jack Cambriani. Both sides pressed for another score, but both defences held firm and at the end of the game Gowerton were comfortable winners 24-3.Our player of the match was Richard Keefe, closely followed by Marcus Besley.
During the second half of the game the girls are treated to their chicken burgers – ‘they are lush’ Bethan Rees tells me.
Presentations are made after the games and the students go home with their hosts.
We take the kit to the launderette – it will be done by 10.30 am tomorrow, and then go home to change.
We are back at the school by 6.30pm for the school dance that has been organised for us. There are sausage sizzlers provided for us all by our hosts – they couldn’t have done more for us.
At the dance our students are fantastic. They enter into the spirit of things brilliantly. One slightly geriatric teacher showed off his dance moves. Most of our students moved to the other side of the dance floor in embarrassment and denied any knowledge of him.
The dance is over at 9pm and hosts and students depart for home. The staff go into Tamworth for a meal. We had seen a steak restaurant in town. When we get there it is 9.15pm and it had closed at 9pm. We go back to the restaurant from the previous evening. It too had closed at 9pm.
Friday night and everywhere in town is shut by 9pm!!! Not quite Swansea. As we drive back to the hotel, we see an Indian restaurant. We are just in time, it doesn’t close until 10pm. We enjoy a lovely Rogan Josh and return to our motel by 11pm.
A day off tomorrow!!!

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