Holland Hockey tour

Posted on 11th September 2014

On the Monday morning of 7 July, just two days after the end of term, Helen Retter, Kevin Boniface and Sonia Cartwright led 23 bucolic Bedales hockey players aged 14-17 to Rotterdam, home to the largest hockey club in the Netherlands.

Despite a surprise ferry trip due to an accident on the railway, we arrived safely late in the evening to ‘Novotel’ where we suppered and slept. Tuesday brought the first training session at HC Rotterdam, where we were drilled in the generous rain by three fine coaches, one of which was impressively (and embarrassingly for us) just 16 years old. Hot-dogged and watered, the afternoon was made up of more skills, including passing, positioning and techniques, and friendly competitive mixed matches amongst the group. Late afternoon was spent cooling off in a nearby swimming pool where Kevin showed us his gymnastic diving prowess.

Dinner was a quiet affair, as the day had sufficiently tired us. Breakfast on Wednesday morning was an even quieter affair, as six of our precious players were unfortunately struck by a particularly infectious and savage sickness bug. Two of our dormitories became sans for Nurse Cartwright and Dr Retter. Luckily for med school drop-out Kevin, the boys were on a separate floor, so few were affected.

Our morning training session was in slightly better weather, which helped boost our team moral for the afternoon match. Two minutes before the game the total sick count was brought to seven, so the girls played a seven aside match, borrowing two under 15 Rotterdam players. It was a good game showing a strong level of hockey from both sides, and some stunning goals from Maud and Pippa resulting in a win for Bedales. The boys played next - a full 11-aside game; their passing was fluid and the goals mounted quickly, ending with a win of 10-1.

Glorious sunshine met Thursday, and after a few more people had recovered we spent the morning with a more gentle approach to training. Goal keepers, Roly and Ellie, were treated with an intense training session from one of the world's best goalie coaches. After this, we spent some time in Rotterdam endorsing some of its finest products including a Hilary Clinton nutcracker and two very loud air horns which later, were inevitably banned. The girls match was again seven aside, though all the girls played in frequent rotation - on and off the immaculate water pitch. This match was tougher, as our usual fight back mentality was slightly diminished by our weakened side and we lost. The boys also fought hard, and although there were many moments of beauty, they also lost.

Friday morning was sadly our last training session, ending typically with a heated girls verses boys match. After heartfelt speeches from Maud, Helen, the coaches and our Representative, we headed home happy. A special thank you from all of us to Helen, Sonia and Kevin who managed to maintain a good sense of humour and made many marvelous memories of this eventful trip.

By Becky Grubb (6.1)


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.