As preparation for the season ahead 22 excited hockey players took a trip halfway around the world to tour Malaysia, where they played six matches, trained in stadiums and experienced many of the wonders that the vibrant country had to offer.
Head of Hockey, Mr Gwyn Williams, commented "College has a strong link with Malaysia, both in terms of Old Cheltonians but also this being our fifth trip in the past 10 years. Malaysia is a tremendous country to tour as it provides all manner of different experiences that the players will remember. "
"This tour has been memorable in many different ways, the girls had the opportunity to play in the world famous Azlan Shah Stadium, where the GB Men’s team recently won the prestigious tournament hosted by the Sultan. As part of the tour, the girls went into a government funded Tamal school to donate some books to their library and run a coaching clinic for the pupils. This was truly a humbling experience and a great opportunity for our pupils to be placed out of their comfort zones and interact with the younger pupils as well as pass on their hockey knowledge."
Brittany Sutton-Page wrote the following report:
Our first stop in the heart of Malaysia was Kuala Lumpur. This was our busiest stop of the tour with training days and three matches. On our first day, we were faced with the challenge of training which was then followed by a match. Unfortunately, this match was rusty and we came out with a loss, however, over the next few days we would come together as a team and win the next two matches. The next day, through a tough training session, under the 38-degree sun and the stickiness of the humidity we managed to pull together as a team and display a fighting attitude in our matches, showing both power and authority. The following day we went to the Batu caves, where we experienced “ninja monkeys” and 272 steps which led to a sacred Hindu shrine. On return, we spent the evening at the beautiful KL Tower where we ate in the revolving restaurant as the sun went down. The last day in KL we had a match and then in the evening attended a reception hosted by Old Cheltonians, our thanks go to Mr Michael Chai for his time in arranging a wonderful evening.
After a busy four days in KL, white water rafting and a four-hour bus journey later we arrived at our next stop, Ipoh. Ipoh is the home of the Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium which is where we had the privilege to play our next two games. However, before we got to step foot on this pitch we spent the day at SJKT KG school teaching hockey, games and bringing smiles to the children of the Tamal school after the exchange of some traditional dances and songs. Romy Boddington described the experience of the school as eye opening as it displays the disparity between our two schools. It truly was eye opening and such an important part of our trip to immerse ourselves in the local environment. In the afternoon, we had another opportunity of playing a match in the 25,000 seater Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium where we played another game of power and authority securing another win. The next day started with our penultimate match which challenged us and left us with the second loss of the tour. Post-match we set on our final stop the Island of Penang, on our way crossing the longest bridge in Asia at 13.5kms.
U pon our arrival in Penang, we spent the evening exploring and bargaining our way through the street markets after a team meal at a local restaurant. The following day we played our final fixture, which unfortunately was another loss meaning that our overall result of the tour was three wins and three losses. We also visited the orangutans’ sanctuary and spent a whole day learning about the protection and rehabilitation of these orangutans. Our final day was spent enjoying the delights of Penang with the beaches, markets and sun. This was a nice and relaxing way to end a great tour filled with so many new experiences and memories that we can bring back to College and also our hockey term.