Tour highlights included the after-match function at UWA (just like the ‘good old days’ for those that recall – going back to the home team’s club rooms where the ladies had baked the cakes and heated the pies, a few speeches and plenty of swapping of tales over a fizzy drink or two). Playing an official match on grass for the first time… and let it be known the grass pitch at Scotch College was amazing! Hitting the sand and surf on the final day of tour… Antarctic currents made for a slightly chilly dip, but aching muscles appreciated the polar plunge. The sunsets (and rainbows) were outstanding, as was the coffee from the local café, and above all, the new friendships that were made, either within the tour group or with the opposing teams. It was a week to remember for a life time.
A big thanks must go to Simon Shepherdson the ‘Tour Manager’, for initiating the tour and sorting so many of the logistics before, during and after. To Jeremy Norris who, also as a touring parent, accompanied as ‘Tour Chef’ and ensured all were well fed throughout the week. It was a huge task! To Ita Shepherdson who kept the ‘comms’ up and running throughout the week ensuring families back home were up to date with daily activities, photos and results through social media. A huge thanks to two special additions and very much integral parts of the tour planning and execution, Trid Woodhouse and Brad Ladyman, who were the Perth based Tour Liaisons and arranged all training games, matches, venues, transport and provided a host of other much appreciated tour support. To the two fantastic coaches, Olivia Chiu and Chappie, who both worked tirelessly to support their players and to ensure the tour was much more than a focus just on match results. All players learned a great deal and both coaches were very proud of the huge improvements shown, the dedicated approach and willingness to learn shown by all, and overall, the superb way in which all conducted themselves as ambassadors to the Club and Hong Kong.
There was of course also an end of tour celebration dinner which doubled as the Tour Fines and Awards night. Every player was ‘fined’ accordingly for various antics throughout the week. For most, eating vegemite was a first, but eating it straight from the spoon was deemed a suitable Australian fine for an under-age tour. Awards were also handed out to every individual, some more comical than others. On a more serious note, notable mentions were made of certain individuals as well as awards presented for Tour MVPs and Top Goal Scorers.