Hi everyone. Apologies on the delay in posting this blog, my laptop decided it wanted to do 87 updates last night before I could use it, so I slept instead.
Today (yesterday, but we can pretend) we had a fairly full day, with training followed by the first of our practice matches. Training was conducted by Edwin Bouman, who many back home would be familiar with. Edwin has been over to Australia a few times, both in a guest coach capacity, but also as the organiser and coach of the touring Dutch team from a couple of years back. Edwin introduced us to some great new drills and mini-games, with a focus on shooting and scoring.
After a short break for lunch, where many of the team went to the main shopping street in Wageningen. Unfortunately, being Sunday, most shops were shut, but it was still a pleasant walk. Following lunch, it was time for our first games on tour, against KV Wageningen, our host club.
Two games back-to-back had been organised, the first against the KV Wageningen 3rd team, and the second against a combined 2nd/A1 (top youth) team. We managed to eke out a win in a fairly tight match against the 3rd team. Unfortunately, we narrowly lost the 2nd game, after being up at half time. The toll of two games started to show, as well as the rust of not having played any games for some time. I feel we are all better for the hit-out, learnt a lot, blew off the cobwebs, came away without any injuries, aside from someones corked buttock, and are now in a good position to build towards the tournament. The games were a lot of fun, as we were able to play against some of our billets, and in Ashlee and Adam’s case, former teamates. During the second game, I had the “pleasure” of playing against Jalmer, who stands at a measly 204 cm. Luckily for me, he is still fairly lanky, so I managed to hold my own (I think), but he is sure to be a handful in a few years when he bulks up a bit.
Tomorrow (today) Phil has kindly given us the morning off, so some of us intend to explore Wageningen when the shops are actually open. Following that, we have a video analysis, which I always dread, and then the highlight of our Dutch practice matches: 3 games against the Dutch U19 squad. These games promise to be tough, as the U19’s are pushing for selection, and will be keen to show everything they have.