News & Events

South Africa 2023 – Netball and Hockey Tour

Half term break saw 35 tourists head to South Africa for a netball and hockey tour. It all began with a morning meet at school on 17 October and a coach journey to Heathrow for an evening flight to Cape Town via Doha.

31 excited Year 11-Upper Sixth pupils and four staff arrived in Cape Town tired but excited for what lay ahead. A quick settling in to our hotel and we were off to a netball training session led by one of the top coaches in South Africa, who had recently been at the Netball World Cup 2023 Coaching Conference. A great start to the tour.

Ready for sun, safari and sport

Training was in net courts, our first experience of Action Netball. Action Netball is played indoors, the courts are surrounded by netting to keep the ball in play at all times. The rules are similar to those of outdoor Netball, except that the nets become an integral part of the game. This was all very new for us all and added a lot of excitement to the training session and game we played later in the tour.

Ready, Steady, Action Netball

Next morning an early start saw us visit the Langa township which was a real eye-opener for many and brought home how fortunate we all are in comparison. The drumming session was fun and was followed by a tag rugby session with local school children. It was humbling to realise that some played in bare feet simply because they couldn’t afford footwear!

Playing tag rugby

We were delighted to present the organiser and local children with lots of stationary and sport kit which we’ve heard has been used and all very well received.

Croydon High present the organisers and local children with their new kits and stationery

Our first matches were played after this and although they were great games, the heat was something we would need to get used to as the temperature was up to 32 degrees!

Pupils playing Action Netball

More matches the next day and new friendships were formed. Our opposition didn’t want us to leave and came on the coach to sing and teach us some Afrikaans!

A full day tour of the Cape Peninsular, including the Cape of Good Hope and the Penguin Colony was one of the highlights of the tour.

A cable car to the top of Table Mountain and more matches plus a hockey training session followed the next day, with a visit to the V&A Waterfront in the evening.

On Monday 23rd, we flew internally to Johannesburg to stay at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. We were extremely fortunate to find the South African men’s hockey team staying in the same building as us, training and preparing to compete in the African Hockey Road to Paris 2024 Qualifier Finals. We are very pleased to add that they won the tournament and will be participating in next year’s Olympic Games. The team were kind enough to not only allow us to watch them training but also had photos taken with us and signed one of our tour t-shirts.

Matches here were particularly tough as the temperature reached 35 degrees and along with the higher altitude but everyone enjoyed the experience and played in some well contested games.

After each fixture, we all enjoyed post match functions with the opposition. It was lovely to chat and share stories with each other. It also gave us an opportunity to thank the hosts and present them with some gifts, which included the unique SA tour polo shirt designed by one of the tourists and was known as our ‘JJ’ top.

The trip ended with a well-earned rest at the wonderful Mabula Game Reserve where we had two early morning and two late afternoon Game drives, as well as time to relax around the pool! The tour finished with a little bit of shopping before flying from Johannesburg to Heathrow via Doha, arriving back at school mid afternoon on Sunday 29th October.

The tour was a tremendous success – the tourists experienced different styles of play and officiating in both hockey and netball; they made new friends and experienced a different culture. They also saw how some less fortunate live, work and play. The Game Reserve was undoubtedly a highlight and we were lucky enough to see lions, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, rhino, impala and warthog as well as other animals.

A massive thank you to go to all those who supported the various fundraising events prior to the trip. We would also like to thank both Jemca Toyota and Cinch who generously sponsored the tour. A special mention and thank you to The Winning Margin who worked so closely with the school in providing all the tour kit which has been admired by many. Congratulations also go to Jemima for her fabulous design of the ‘JJ’ top.

A wonderful tour which will be remembered for a long time. Special thanks to all the staff for all their hard work and organisation.

Mrs Sue Beck
Head of Community & PE Department