In July, thirty senior girls from Oundle School took part in a three week hockey tour which started in Singapore, with four days of training and playing. Despite the 30 degree heat and high humidity, the girls won both their opening matches 3-0 and 9-0. In Singapore, sightseeing included visiting the famous Raffles Hotel and the Gardens by the Bay, wandering around the numerous markets as well as spending a day at Sentosa beach.
The group then flew to Australia and spent five nights in Sydney, playing and working with a high performance coach at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Park, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, visiting the Opera House, surfing the shark-infested waters and Oz Jet boating around the harbour. This was all topped off with tickets to an Aussie rules match where they watched the Sydney Swans play and win a home game.
New Zealand was the next on the itinerary, with a week and a half spent travelling around the North Island. First was Rotorua, a sulphur city known for its natural hot springs, shooting geysers and bubbling mud pools. Once used to the stench, it proved to be a fascinating location and the girls visited the Agrodome, a reptile park and Te Puia, home to the famous Pohutu Geysers. One evening, they experienced a traditional Maori culture night where one of their teachers was volunteered as chief, and consequently with the support of another teacher performed the Haka for the group!
After a trip to the Polynesian Spa, the group travelled on to Hamilton to their first billets with Waikato Dio, one of New Zealand's top hockey teams. At their next billets, Rangitoto College, they were welcomed with a Haka performed by the 1st XV rugby boys. However, unperturbed by the intimidating display and high expectations, the first team went on to win 6-1 and the seconds were just as successful. The sightseeing around Auckland was topped off by lunch at the top of Auckland Sky Tower, a visit to the aquarium and the Auckland Museum, where a wreath was laid in remembrance.
The final destination was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where the group visited the celebrated Batu caves, went jungle trekking and explored one of Asia’s largest water parks. They played their final match on tour against KL sports school. Both teams played seven matches, with the 1sts winning four and losing three matches against some of the world’s top sides, whilst the 2nds remained undefeated, without even conceding a single goal.
Pupil, Lara Chapman (17) commented, “The hard work and training at home and abroad has meant we have come back ready for the term, performing well at pre-season tournaments and creating what looks to be a promising season ahead.”
Tour staff leader, David Talbot commented, “The girls had an experience of a life-time that they will never forget: fantastic hockey, incredible sightseeing and new friendships forged on the other side of the world.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.