Pfingsten (Whitsun) Annual International Football Tour 2017.
This year Basildon was represented by two teams from Woodlands School in Basildon. An Under 13 Team and an Under 18 team.
Travelling in two minibuses the group assembled at 03.00 on Thursday 1st June. Tired but excited the journey to the Eurotunnel was uneventful and rather noisy. The train was delayed by half an hour and the sun was just rising over Calais as it arrived in France. The trek across France, Belgium and Holland began in earnest. Breakfast was served in McDonalds on the side of the motorway near to Venlo in Holland.
The party arrived in Heiligenhaus at just after 1300 and the two groups settled into their accommodation. The Under 13 team were based at Velbert Youth Hostel and the Under 18’s at Der Club in Heiligenhaus. After a short break the teams assembled at the SSvg Heiligenhaus pitch for an acclimatisation session. At the conclusion of the practice the group moved on to ‘Paradise’. The Heiligenhaus Council staff had arranged a barbecue session and home- made football themed assault course. Everyone was welcomed by the acting Mayor and there was even the opportunity to climb aboard a vintage fire engine.
Day Two saw the start of two tournaments simultaneously. The Under 13 boys were playing at SV Hösel Football Club and the Under 18’s at SSvg Heiligenhaus. The 18’s had a long hard day from 10.00 till 18.00 and they had a day of mixed fortunes with a win, draws and losses. Finishing 5th out of 6 teams the lads found the experience a tiring one after such a full day before.
The Under 13’s, however, were treated to a breakfast by the Hösel staff. Their tournament was played in a great spirit and a talented crew ran out the eventual winners not having conceded a goal. The boys then travelled to the Heiligenhaus pitch to support their older colleagues for a short while and then moved off to enjoy the outdoor swimming complex.
The evening meal was arranged at The Dorkrug and everyone stayed on to watch the European Championship final on the big screen.
The Under 18’s had a day of rest and went for a tour of The Shalke o4 Football Stadium at Gelsenkirchen. The trip was very successful and enjoyed by all.
The Under 13’s played a full day of football at SSvg Heiligenhaus. Once again the team showed their superior skill level in being undefeated by the conclusion. Only one team put up a stiff resistance and once again no goals were conceded by the team. The tournament has been going for 50 years and the Under 13 tournament has never been won by a non- German team. Our German hosts were full of praise for the standard of play from the Woodlands Boys. FIRST EVER TEAM FROM ENGLAND TO WIN this particular tournament. What an achievement!
It was the turn of the Under 13’s to relax and do the tour to Shalke.
The Under 18’s arrived at Hosel for a late breakfast. Having had an extra day’s rest made a difference. The performance on this day was first rate. The guys were far more competitive and well organised. Not to be outdone by their junior team the went through this tournament not conceding a goal and ran out the tournament winners.
The younger boys arrived back from Shalke and wanted to return to the pool.
Moving off again very early in the morning the group arrived back at Woodlands School in the early afternoon.
Hopefully all the boys enjoyed the experience. They all made a great impression both on and off the pitch. They were respectful and polite and were a credit to their school and Borough. They met good new friends and will be welcome back. The Under 18 team had arrived in Germany with only 10 players. They were extremely grateful for the services of Sam Moore from Heiligenhaus. Sam is known to Woodlands School as he journeyed with pupils last year to The Somme. He fitted in well with all the guys and he was very thankful for the experience and opportunity.
An historic tour for the Under 13’s team and an experience not to be forgotten for all.
Let us not forget the Woodlands Staff who gave up their time to lead the teams and all the members of staff. There is also an acknowledgement of our deepest gratitude to the members of both SV Hösel and SSvg Heiligenhaus for their hospitality and to Ute, Robin, Philip, Theo, Andy for all their hard work and friendship.
Well done everyone.
More photos can be see on the Basildon Borough Twinning Association Facebook page here