Netball and Rugby Tour of UAE
During the February half-term, 39 intrepid U13 rugby and netball players left Storm Dennis behind and headed off to the much sunnier climes of the United Arab Emirates.
This being our fifth sports tour to the UAE, the staff were very confident in just how fantastic the week ahead was going to be. As the week progressed, the students played their part exceptionally well in ensuring that this tour was just as superb as each one that has gone before it.
On arrival in Dubai we enjoyed the first of our many brilliant buffet breakfasts, with that traditional elite athlete meal of waffles and pancakes proving to be the most popular choice by far. Then it was straight off for an acclimatisation training session, with the students enjoying the heat and realising straight away just how important hydration really is.
During the tour we had three rugby fixtures and three netball fixtures, all against top UAE sides: rugby and netball against the Dubai Hurricanes at the incredible Sevens stadium, netball against Abu Dhabi Capitals and Abu Dhabi Cranleigh; and rugby against BSAK and Abu Dhabi Hurricanes.
The venues that we experienced playing in were exceptional: the most immaculate grass, and ‘clean’ netball courts (which are courts with only netball lines – unheard of in the UK!) The temperatures proved a real test, however it was a test that our guys passed with flying colours as they showed incredible resilience and character to keep going despite the leg-sapping sun.
The list of activities and adventures aside from the sport is what makes this tour such a unique one: bartering at Dubai Souk, shopping at Dubai Mall, marvelling at just how huge the Burj Khalifa really is; a full day at the Atlantis Waterpark; a mass throw-around on the world-renowned Sheik Zayed Cricket Stadium, a morning of R&R at the simply outstanding Yas Beach, a once in a lifetime whizz around the desert in crazy jeeps, and finally, the jewel in the Abu Dhabi crown – the Grand Mosque.
The students were exceptional in every respect during the tour: they played their absolute hearts out on the field, and off the field were fantastic company. As many have said, they created memories to last a lifetime. Well done to every one of them – you did yourselves and Caterham extremely proud.
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