The Friends’ Girls Hockey squad recently took part in a successful tour to Barcelona.
Having landed in Barcelona, the squad travelled to Atletic Terrassa.
After settling into their hockey camp accommodation, they were straight onto the pitch for the first of two coaching sessions.
The first match was against HC Egara, set in the beautiful hills north west of Barcelona. A
fter a patient start, a lovely piece of switch play between Shannon King and Rosie Henderson was followed by an inch perfect through ball into the circle. Captain, Sophie Reid took it on the reverse and rounded the keeper to open the scoring.
Two minutes later a six pass team move was finished off by Shannon Atkinson, to make it two.
This seemed to rouse the opposition into attack and for the rest of the half they dominated evening up the match at 2-2.
First minute of the second half Friends’ were behind. It took a few minutes for the team to regain their composure but Beth Ravey, in terrific goal scoring form this season made it 3-3.
She was on the score sheet soon after. A neat build up down the right between Rosie and Tyla Eley was finished off by Beth with a cracking shot from a narrow angle.
The 5-3 win was complete when Sophie pounced on a defensive error to get her second. The captain of Egara was presented with a pink Friends’ ball, much to her delight.
Much coveted sunshine greeted the tourists the next morning after heavy overnight rain. The session taken by the professional coaches was thoroughly enjoyed by the 29 squad members with many breaks for fluids in the heat.
The evening match was against Terrassa. At the start of the game the Spanish girls kept possession, making it difficult for the younger Friends’ team to get into the game.
However a lovely piece of play saw Eve McCready hold the ball, spin and put a slide rule pass through to Rebecca Wells who burst the net with her shot. Confidence grew and soon after the second goal came. After a good controlled build up on the right engineered by Rachel Sullivan, Shannon McCleery was put through to score.
The third goal was a tremendous individual effort by Rachel Sullivan who was having a great game. She weaved her way into the circle and calmly placed the ball wide of the keeper. This was a well-deserved win by a squad mixed with experience and young talent.
The squad headed for their last match in Mataro. Iluro HC proved to be the most experienced and physical side on the tour.
In order to give all of the 29 girl squad pitch time it was agreed to play 4 quarters. This resulted in a narrow 1-0 loss followed by another 4-0 defeat, this was despite ‘twinkle toes’ Lucy Waring bringing off some terrific saves!
In the 3rd quarter Friends’ got to grips with the pace of the game. Rosie Henderson left 3 players in her wake before roofing the ball into the net from the edge of the circle. Soon after Rachel Barnes was clinical from a penalty corner to finish this quarter 2-1 winners. The last quarter was 0-0.
From here the squad headed into Barcelona for some culture and retail therapy. Several hours spent around the Placa de Catalunya area and a walk down La Ramblas ended with a metro journey to savour the famous fountain and light show at the Palais Royale.
On their last day there were visits to the Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Port Vell and the Barcelona beache.
A smooth trip back to Lisburn, concluded a successful 2015 Girls’ Hockey tour.