On Thursday 7th April 2011, the CTC girls departed Campsmount ready for the Netball tour of their lives. We had the amazing privilege of flying out from Manchester with the airline Emirates, where our girls experienced a choice of over 1200 channels.
After landing in Dubai in the early hours of the morning, we were swiftly taken by our fabulous bus driver who we had for the week, Arshad aka “Our Shed” to the Flora Creek Apartments, which would be our base for the next 6 nights/7 days. After a quick change and checking out our HUGE apartments, we spent our first morning/afternoon at the Deira City Centre Mall, where the girls checked out the enormity of shopping malls over in Dubai. Late afternoon we then departed for the girls training session over in Dubai at the Sevens Emirates Stadium, where the girls completed a 2 hour training session working on developing their skills and tactical awareness within the game. We were well looked after at the venue and were supplied with ice cold water free of charge, which was a lovely treat in the 40 degree heat. Following this everyone enjoyed a well earnt soft drink in the players’ lounge and some of the girls enjoyed dipping their feet in the pool. We then returned to our apartments to get changed and enjoy a Pizza Party, utilising Pizza Hut across the road. Then early to bed after a long 24 hours, ready for our first game in the morning.
Our first fixture was against English College, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Prior to the game the CTC girls put on a great Cheerleading display, which they had learnt prior to going out to Dubai and Gordon the mascot got his place at the front of the Netball courts! The results of this first fixture was the U14’s lost 8-16, however they played some of the best netball they have ever played and the U17’s also lost 9-19, however this score does not reflect the game, there was some brilliant centre court play. The Players of the Match were for the U14’s Becky Greaves and U17’s Hollie Ellison. Both were awesome in their circle defence play. The hosts were lovely to us putting on a great BBQ following the game and the girls enjoyed socialising with the English College girls. That evening we enjoyed a trip on the metro to Dubai Mall, where the girls sampled some shopping and indoor Ice Skating, followed by an evening meal at Nandos.
The following day we were up bright and early ready for a morning at Jumeirah Beach, “Our Shed” the bus driver dropped us off so were situated in front of the famous 7 star Burj Al Arab Hotel. We all had a great time at the beach, where the girls enjoyed performing their Cheerleading routine in the shallow waters and sunbathing in the hot sun. We then departed at lunch, to enjoy a nice buffet in the hotel before being taken to our second fixture against the Dubai British School. This fixture was one of the highlights of the tour and the U17’s who played their game first won 10-8. What a fab close game, it was 6-6 going into the last quarter and did the girls gave it everything they had in the last quarter to win this. Some excellent shooting and player of the match went to Billie Canning-Birtles. Following this game the U14’s lost 4-8, this was a close game to start however in the last quarter the Dubai British School took the lead and we couldn’t catch up. We unfortunately missed quite a few shots, which could have made this a much closer and tighter game. The Player of the match went to Rosie Ward for grit and determination and never giving up. We then went back to the apartments that evening to enjoy a great Birthday Party for Rosie Ward, celebrating her 14th birthday with a nice big Birthday cake.
The next day we were free from any fixtures or training, so we enjoyed a relaxing morning around the hotels pool, which was hilarious when the girls discovered they had to wear swimming caps. They enjoyed pool volleyball/netball and synchronised swimming, followed by fun relay races. We then went back after lunch to the apartments to get changed for a great excursion Dune Bashing in the desert. This afternoon/evening was fantastic and the girls had such a laugh driving very fast around in the desert in 4 x 4 vehicles and then following this we all experienced camel riding, sandboarding, a moonlight BBQ and Belly Dancing show.
The following day, in the morning we went to our final fixture at Dubai College, where we had very tough opposition renowned for being one of the best over in Dubai. The results of the games were the U14’s lost 2-17. This was a tough game against a very high standard. However the CTC girls never gave up fighting and their play down centre court was lovely, some excellent spatial awareness. We had 14 missed shots, which at the end of the day lost this game massively for us and this was the main difference between the two sides. The player of the match went to Charlotte Viggars. The U17’s lost 4-11 and this game had a very unfortunate accident, our star shooter Billie Canning-Birtles took an ankle injury and had to have a trip to the hospital. However, she was all checked out and nothing was broken, but badly sprained. The girls however came fighting back after this and won the last quarter for her, some excellent fighting spirit from the CTC girls as always.The U17 Player of the Match went to Kelly Sayles for playing out of position as centre. In the afternoon we then went to The Mall of the Emirates to experience the Indoor Snow Dome at Ski Dubai, the girls had a go at Tubing and going on the Indoor Bob Sleigh run. To complete the evening we went to Apres Restaurant overlooking the slopes for a great 2 course meal.
Our final day was spent at The Atlantis Hotel, where we enjoyed a Shallow Water Interaction Dolphin swim, followed by an afternoon at Aquaventure waterpark. What an experience for everyone swimming with dolphins in Dubai and then riding the Leap of Faith. We then completed our last evening with a visit to the Dubai Mall, where we enjoyed the magnificent views at the top of the Burj Khalifia, followed by a lovely 3 course meal at the Italian restaurant Urbanos overlooking the famous fountain display.
On our last morning we enjoyed a short trophy presentation before completing our trip to the airport to board our late afternoon emirates flight back to Manchester airport. We arrived back at Campsmount on Thursday 14th April after experiencing an amazing 7 days in the wonderful City of Dubai. Our girls were truly a credit to the school and I am sure they will all say that this definitely was a tour of a lifetime!
C.Knowland (Campsmount School Sports Co-ordinator)