This is it, we are now in Belgium, preparing for the business end of this trip. Today was spent travelling, before our final practice matches against one of the top Belgian clubs.
The day started off fairly uneventfully, with us all meeting at the KV Wageningen clubhouse to catch the bus to Antwerp. Unfortunately (for the bus driver), the bus pulled too far down a narrow dead-end road, and was forced to reverse quite a long distance, much to the amusement of the assembled crowd. Saying farewell to our billets is never fun, but it has to be done. Once again, we have been very lucky with the billets we were all paired with, and we are really appreciative of everything they have done for us. Once we had all said our goodbyes, we boarded the bus for an uneventful trip to Antwerp.
Once in Antwerp we quickly headed off for lunch, held at another local hotel. Following this, we had a few hours of downtime to get settled in our hotel, which will be our home for the next week and a bit. The hotel is quite nice, with all the facilities we are likely to need, including meeting rooms and a pool for recovery. Next up were the all-important final practice games.
We played two practice games, one against the Sikopi 1st team, and the second against the 2nd team. These matches were a good challenge for us, as Sikopi play with a different style to the Dutch teams we have been playing against. The exposure to different styles is helpful, as it forces us to adapt, something which will be invaluable when the tournament rolls around. Unfortunately we lost the first game, but I feel there are still plenty of positives to take from the game. We are still building towards the tournament, and this game plays a large part of it. We were able to come away with a win in the second game, which is a bit of a confidence boost. I once again had the pleasure of playing against a 200+ centimeter giant, which is an experience I don’t think I will ever quite get used to.
Tomorrow looks to be interesting, as we have our first official tournament training, as well as the official opening ceremony, ahead of the first matches the day after.
That’s all the practice games behind us, now we move onto the tournament proper, which is an exciting time for all of us. As always, remember to keep checking the Facebook page and/or the National Teams page to keep updated with everything that’s going on.