During October Half Term, 24 Senior Boys Hockey players travelled to the Midlands to start their preparations for the upcoming hockey season. Off the back of a very successful season last year, combined with a large number of new players vying for positions in the 1st XI; the side were keen to get started early with some tough matches against good opposition to push their skills in a high pressure environment.
First up was Loughborough Grammar School at Loughborough University. The squad performed well, eventually winning 2-0. The squad was then lucky enough to watch Loughborough 1st XI play Durham University in the England Hockey National League. The exposure to the intensity and decision making of the players was invaluable. Following the end of the match, which ended as a draw, Norwich faced a Loughborough University side compromising of their 3rd and 4th XI players. While to some, this may seem a lower level, the pedigree of Loughborough's hockey programme meant a number of the players in the side would have made the majority of other university first XI's. With a very mature performance, Norwich came away with a well-deserved draw.
Monday saw the side train at Loughborough one last time before departing for Quazer lazer and finally arriving at Cambridge University. The sides faced the Cambridge University 2nd XI and their blues 1st XI side in two back to back matches.
With Cambridge 2nd XI up first, the boys applied themselves very well in an evenly balanced match. Cambridge came out on top with two penalty corner goals but there was an enormous amount to be proud of in the performance. Up next was the 1st XI side which contained a number of strong players from prestigious hockey schools like Whitgift and Repton. While the pace and intensity of the match was significantly higher than anything the pupils had experienced before, the players coped well with the demands and a number played well and did not look out of place. With a number of players doubling up in the back to back matches, Norwich struggled in the later stages to keep up with a well drilled Cambridge team and eventually ended 5-1 to Cambridge, with 3 goals scored in the last 7 minutes.
A very positive start to the hockey preparation and it will be exciting to see how the players progress from here. Thank you to Mr Rowe for all his hard work in organising the tour itself as well as Mr Cowan, Mr Sorrell, Mr Conroy & Mr Leek for attending.