The bus collects the male staff from their hotel first, then travels to Newingtonto collect the boys before collecting the girls and lady staff from Ascham.
We set off for Bondi, and as we do so I go down the bus and speak to all the students about their hosting experiences. There is not one complaint.
Rhys Cherry had stayed with the Newington captain. He had had an ‘awesome experience that included going to an Australian cinema.
Callum and Lewis Macdermott had been hosted together. The parents had been really nice and taken good care of them. They had continually spoken to them to make them feel at home.
Scott Smith said that he had stayed in a nice house with really nice people. The ground floor had been flooded recently, but the house was so large that you didn’t need to go down there.
Dylan Treharne and Richard Keefe said that their hosts had been really polite and kind. They had been well looked after, but didn’t go out. They were glad of that because after two tough games in two days they were glad to be able to ‘recharge their batteries’.
Rob James and Alex Freeman stayed together they were ‘landed’. Their hosts were brilliant. They went out to a restaurant on both nights. The first night they had an Italian and on the second night they went to an ‘all you can eat meat’ restaurant. They had slept really well.
Rachel Walsh and Sarah Wedlake said their hosts had been really ‘welcoming’. They had taken them to a ‘cool’ ice cream parlour and to an area where they had great views of Sydney.
Rachael Williams, Katy Baran and Sian Jenkins stayed in a ‘massive’ house. It had five floors!!! They were really nice people and they took them to Bondi where they had frozen yoghurt. It was different but nice. They also had a foreign exchange student staying with them from Atlanta in the USA.
Morgan Curtis and Ethan Hopkins really liked their hosts. The parents were really nice and made an effort to speak to them and involve them. They took them to the cinema and they saw the film ‘This is the end’ Morgan said “It was a really good film”
Julia Hughes and Emma Kieft stayed with a family that was really nice. The only disappointment was that they weren’t there for longer. They had stayed in an incredible house that was on five stories and had its own library and pool.
Ailsa Howells and Hannah Breeze-Jones had been really well looked after. Their host had been quiet but it meant they had chance to recover their energies.
Tom Wallace and Rhodri Tyrrell had stayed with really nice people. They had gone to the Hard Rock Café for a meal.
Georgia Davies and Gemma Evans had stayed with a lovely family. They had a fabulous house-Nia said she had “never seen anything like it, it had a lift, a pool and 3 lounges!!! It had a lovely setting right on the sea front.
Jessica Rees and Alycia Carpanini had stayed with a family of really ‘warm’ people the house was ‘stunning’ and was all made of glass. They had a lift to bring things from the driveway up to the house. They had gone to see the opera house and bridge at night and had been able to get some great photos.
Tom Wedlake had had a different experience staying with the boarders. They were really great guys. He had befriended 3 Tongan lads, two of whom were Australian Schools Internationals. He may be able to see them again next year when Australian Schools tour Wales. One of them had given him a Tongan rugby jersey-it may be a little big for him-he’s a prop!! Tom got a little bored when the lads were studying, but on the first evening they’d given him a Batman DVD to watch and on the second night we took him to watch the girls’ games and got back at 8.30pm.
Tom Froom was with a really nice family-he’d been so tired that he’d gone to bed at 8.00pm each night. He was glad that he could have time to ‘recharge his batteries’.
Marcus Besley was with a lovely family, he’d been looked after really well. One problem though was that they had a cat and he’s allergic to cats. “Did you put it on the form to tell me your allergies?” “I didn’t realise I was meant to do so”!!!!!
Jayde and Molly had been with a great family. They’d said that Jayde and Molly were really chatty-Jayde said “They were really chatty too. It was great there. We had afternoon tea and they took us on a long walk at the end of which we had great views of Sydney-we got some great photos”.
Joel Young had stayed in a really nice house. They were nice people. They had taken him around and shown him the sights. They had gone to a Chinese restaurant where the chef had the food in front of them and threw it at them and they had to catch it-it takes all sorts.
Elaine Tucker and Bethan Rees had been with a really nice family. They had got up at 6.00am to see the sunrise over the city.
Others who got up at 6.00am, but for a different reason were Kira Button and Laura Baker. Their house was in Manly and to get to school they had to catch the Manly ferry, then a bus and finally a train. It had taken them an hour and a half to get into school. They were a great family though and they’d taken them for a drive into the mountains to see the views.
Brittany Jenkins was on her own and after the netball game her chest and throat had got much worse, so her host’s mum and Mr Walters had taken her to the doctors. The family had been really caring and she’d also gone with Molly and Jayde to see the views.
Yvie Powe said her family were really, really nice-the dad worked away but mum looked after her really well and had taken her to Bondi.
Behany Davies said she had got on really well with her family. They were really nice and had gone with Yvie to an Italian restaurant in Bondi.
Jade Meredith’s family were really good. They had a massive house which included a Grand piano that she played.
Shane Harris said his host was “awesome, he was like me, but an Aussie version”. I’m not sure what would be better Shane or an Aussie version of him?
He stayed in a very large house-it had a study with a row of Apple mac computers in it. Despite that it felt very ‘homely’. They went to an Italian restaurant twice and his host paid for everything. Shane’s mates said that’s where the similarities of Shane and his host had ended!!!!
We arrive at Bondi at 10:15am and say we will reassemble at the beach front at 1pm. The beach is a wide expanse and the waves are very inviting. In my opinion it is not as nice as Palm beach, although my view could be coloured by the fact that it was quite windy and therefore felt quite cool. We organised the traditional tour ‘Boys Vs Girls’ rounders match on the beach. The boys gained a narrow 20 ½ to 19 win over the girls. Both sides were unhappy with the umpire-but I am used to that! Hopefully we can have a rematch at Mooloolaba.
After the game we split up, Rhodri Tyrell, Alex Freeman and Lewis MacDermott go down to the sea for a swim.
Penny and Dave Doherty have organised a surf lesson for Keelan, Jack, Steffan and Max Harris who has joined them because there was illness in one of the hosts families and they could not host at last minute. We can see them out with the instructor during their surf lesson in some impressive waves.
We have lunch in the cafes and restaurants around Bondi. While we walk around Miss Rushworth, who is a big fan of Bondi Rescue spots Maxi, one of the lifeguards from the programme. She is very excited and gets a photo taken with him, Miss Jeffreys and another lifeguard. She has been such a fan that her cat has even been named after Maxi. At one point, there did seem like there may be a case of stalking going on.
All are on time when we reassemble at 1pm. We have an hour before we are needed to be back at the school so the coach driver takes us to the large Westfield Shopping Centre at Bondi Junction. It is a large and impressive centre. The shopaholics get their ‘fix’ and we reassemble at 2:15pm.
Outside the centre I am approached by a security guard, one of our lads had been rude and ‘suggestive’ to one of the young lady shop assistants in Hollister. It is very disappointing. I ask if it is possible to go and see the girl to apologise. He takes me back and I catch the girl just before she goes home. They were sending her home because she was so upset. I apologise to her and say that I will find the culprit and he will be punished. She is quite tearful but hopefully reassured.
I go back to the bus and ask for the boy concerned to ‘own up’ or I will have to take action against them all. They will have time to consider it on the bus.
We transfer to Ascham where the girls and other 5 staff and Tom Wedlake get off to play and watch the games. Molly and Jayde’s host is there and tells one of the staff that they are really nice and polite girls- but they are very talkative!!!!!!!!!!!!
I continue to Newingtonwith the boys to meet their hosts. I speak to the boys about the incident but no one owns up.
At the end of the school day, hosts collect the students they are billeting and depart. Some of the hosts are members of the 2ndXV who are training after school, so those lads watch training and all depart by 5pm. It is too late for me to catch up with the girls so I return to the hotel.
Back at Ascham the hockey girls went by coach with Miss Jeffreys and Mr Long to the Hockey grounds.
The netball girls warmed up. The game started and Ascham were quickly into their stride and at the end of the first quarter we trailed 8-3. Bethany Davies and Ailsa Howells both started well for us. In the second quarter after a talk from Miss Rushworth we were more determined and Gemma Evans and Emma Kieft shone and Elaine Tucker’s movement was tactically good. We still trailed 16-9 at half time. We come into our own in the 3rdquarter with Sarah Wedlake making some ‘brilliant interceptions’ whilst Gemma Evans still made her opposite player’s movement difficult. At the end of the 3rdquarter we had cut the deficit to 6 and we trailed 22-16.
In the final quarter, Elaine took the game by the ‘scruff of the neck’ verbally encouraging the team to greater efforts while Ailsa’s shooting continued to impress. At the final whistle we had reduced the arrears again, but not enough to secure a win and the final score was 27-22 to the hosts.
The player of the match award went to Gemma Evans.
In the hockey match, the girls trailed 2-0 early on. In the first half Rachel Walsh and Hannah Williams both had good efforts saved by the goal minder and at half time we trailed 2-0.
In the second half, the team’s heads didn’t go down and they worked really hard to get back into the game, Molly Kabia, Alycia Carpanini and Hannah Breeze-Jones were all playing really well. The improved second half performance deservedly saw them halve the deficit with a goal from Hannah Williams. We pressed for an equaliser in the last 10 minutes, but were unable to gain the score their performance deserved and at the final whistle they had been defeated 2-1 and Hannah Williams was awarded player of the game.
There continue to be minor illnesses affecting the group. Jessica Rees has improved, but Mr Lewis and Mr Walters take Brittany Jenkins and Morgan Curtis to the doctors and chemists respectively. The doctor says that Brittany’s cold has become a chest infection and he prescribes some antibiotics. They obviously work because when I speak to her 24 hours later she feels much better and is back to her normal smiling self.
Morgan is also given treatment by the chemist. He has improved 24 hours later when I speak to him although he’s not 100%. Brittany’s consultation and medicine costs $130 (£80) and Morgan’s $46 (£30). We pay from the contingency fund.
After the games, the hockey girls returned and the teams and staff went to the dining hall for the post match reception and presentations. The girls were treated to lasagne, a variety of pastas, salads, fruit and enormous cup cakes. It was fantastic and our girls demolished the lot.
Bethany and Kira made presentations to captains, coaches and players of the match. They both spoke confidently. Each of our players received a water bottle and we were presented with an Ascham netball.
Everyone departs by 8.30pm to prepare for the drive north and inland to Tamworth tomorrow.