LEAMINGTON Hockey Club hosted a junior touring Australian team recently, who arrived in England on New Year’s Day as they embarked on the UK leg of their European Tour.
The Australian Wanderers are a hockey side devised of youngsters across Australia who are invited to partake in the annual tour during their summer holidays, a group of 45 participants aged between 13-18, often meeting for the first time as a result of accepting the offer to tour Europe.
After an opening fixture against Surbiton in Surrey, the Wanderers next stop was the Warwick School to face Leamington – a first time that the Hockey Club have hosted the visiting side.
In the opening U16 girls match, it was the Wanderers who struck first early on, but despite dominating possession, could not find a way past the Austrlian’s back line – who led going into the break.
But a penalty corner strike by Charlotte Brotherton evened up the scoreline, as Leamington hunted for a winning goal.
It took two penalty corner saves from keeper Bethan Bowden-Williams to keep out the visitors, as the match finished level.
Next up in the U18 boys fixture, it was a much more clear scoreline as the Australians ran riot, deploying superior speed and fitness against the Leamington side to romp to a 12-1 victory, which could have been more had Joe Hammond not been on hand to keep out a number of attempts in the hosts goal. Joe Cooper would net Leam’s consolation goal.
In the final tie of the visit, it was the Australians again who recorded victory in the U18 girls match, despite only leading 1-0 after a close first-half. Leamington struggled to breach the Australian defence, but as they chased the game and went forward in numbers, they would concede chances and ended up on the end of a 4-0 loss.
All in all it proved a beneficial experience for Leamington Hockey Club’s junior sides, and a learning curve for their future development if positives were to be taken.
Leamington hosted the Australian youngsters to provide them with a taste of UK culture, before they departed to tour Warwick Castle prior to their next port of call in Dereham, Norfolk.
The Wanderers conclude their UK tour in St. Albans before heading to mainland Europe, starting with Holland.