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Day One Updates (afternoon and evening updates plus photos are posted in the Photo section under Celle 2018)
The Slough Hockey Juniors trip to the Celle International Cup got off to a fantastic start with everyone resplendent in their shocking pink attire making it to the airport on time.
We had a trouble free journey all the way to Hanover with lots of strangers wishing us well en route. The Club even got a welcome announcement on the plane! At Hanover, we were kindly met by some Celle officials who, complete with trailer, have taken our luggage away. Hopefully we will see it again in Celle!
With the help of local guide and Slough Mens 1s Captain and keeper Lenni, the team navigated their way to the City Centre and then to the Hostel managing to grab something to eat on the way.
It was a beautifully warm evening and we sat on the steps of a building just soaking in the atmosphere while we ate. The team checked in for a well earned rest although by the sound of it the gossiping went on well into the night.
Today we have some time in Hanover and then a meet and greet with the local member of parliament and a visit to the regional parliament building.
Day Two lunchtime update.
There were a few tired eyes this morning at breakfast but at least the group leaders did not have to go and wake anyone up!
After a lovely breakfast and a morning meeting everyone made their way to the town centre. The group set up camp outside the Opera House the the guys were let free to wander around Hanover town centre for a couple of hours. It is a lovely warm day and sitting in the shade for those who stayed behind to guard the bags was a welcome respite.
Lunchtime is being spent in a local park with sandwiches picked up from the supermarket. The guys are all of having a kick around or playing frisbee while the men in the party can't believe their luck as we have set up camp under the tree to sit and do nothing .... Cheers!
Day Two Afternoon update ....
Planes, trains and now automobiles (well a bus!). Great time this afternoon as we were guests of the President of the Parliament of Lower Saxony. She was an impressive lady and greeted us in her office and gave us a welcome talk and then we were treated to a tour of Parliament including watching a session from the Public Gallery and an underground tunnel built to an adjacent government building to allow the politicians to move freely during periods of civil unrest or protests.
By now the temperature and humidity were ramping up as we embarked on the final leg of our journey to Celle by train and by bus. I write this on the bus to Celle just as the rain is threatening and the first drops are coming down.
Breakfast on Day Three ....
The morning after the day before. The heat and the lack of sleep have taken its toll lol. Everyone managed to get up, but it was a quiet breakfast. The hostel was quiet(er) last night as everyone tried to get some sleep. The weather has cooled and it is a it looks a bit changeable, but I think that might be welcome relief from the hunidity. We are off on a coach tour this morning and early this evening the guys will hopefully get to stretch their legs and play hockey. The hostel is nice and there are some other groups of young children. The guys all seem to be getting on and have settled nicely into their rooms. Onwards and upwards!
Lunchtime Day Three.
Really fun morning (well for the ones on the front horse and cart) with a horse drawn tour of Celles. The guide in the boys cart was not so talkative and maybe they didn't get so much out of it but the girls cart was blessed with a guide who modelled his style on Borat, complete with Borat accent and delivery. The tour dropped us off at an equestrian stud centre (Lower Saxony State Stud Celle) which counts royal (British - the Queens mare as having come here to be inseminated) as their patrons. Those who hadn't eaten their lunch on the tour ate their lunch and we are now off for an afternoon tour of the stud. Weather not so good today .... British weather!
Early Evening Day 3 ....
The Business End of the trip. After a really interesting trip to the stud farm (where we learnt more about the inner workings of a stud farm than any man should know) and a stroll round Celle we are now at the business end of the trip. It is a glorious evening, the guys are shaking off the cobwebs and raring to go. First up on the menu are Celle boys. Go SLOUGH!
Day Three Match Report ....
We have been so lucky with the weather. The girls pushed off proceedings but were immediately on the rack. Supplemented with some very talented tenacious girls from Celle they put up a good fight but eventually succumbed 2-0. The boys were up next with a more even match but went behind to a classy Celle goal. They managed to build up a head of steam and Eddie bore down on goal, dropped his shoulder and feinted the goal keeper to slot cooly from a a metre or so. In the final game (with Slough interest) it was an all Slough affair with the boys slotting with a minute to spare (Eddie) to snatch a draw from the girls. A fairer result would have been a draw!
Day Four Breakfast Update.
Well. What can I say. Lots of bleary eyed children. The girls look lively but the boys look exhausted lol. I am sure once everyone gets fresh air in their lungs they will wake up. They teams have around five short matches each today so will need to find some energy from somewhere Weather forecast not looking great today - hopefully the weatherman has got it wrong.
Day Four Morning Session Update.
Everyone was lucky as we got lifts to the ground and although overcast and blustery the rain hasn't appeared yet. The 'all boys' side were up first against a strong BTHC side and fiished the game with a draw managing to keep the lid on the key opposition players. The Mixed Team put in a really good performance against a good Rissen team and were unlucky to lose 2-0. After a bit of a break and the All Boys team meet the home side boys team winning 2-0 (Eddie, Nathan). The last game of the morning session saw the mixed team putting in another good performance but losing 3-0 against the strong Celle boys. Off for some Bratwurst now and then the afternoon session
Day Four .... Evening Report. All good things come to an end and eventually the rain arrived but it proved to be a light drizzle and has now dissapeared for the moment. This afternoon was one of long gaps and it was a struggle to keep the guys attention in the interludes although the odd ice cream helped. The Mixed Team lost their next match 3-0 but continued to improve. Its all about little things and small margins. The boys had a really tough game against really strong Dutch girl opposition and managed to sneak one in with minutes to spare (Haris). The Mixed Team then had a tough time against one of the favorites going down 4-0. Once again the boys left it very late to score in their next game (Navin) to win 1-0 against a feisty girls team. The weather had turned to a drizzle and the Mixed Team once again put up a brave display but lost 3-0. Although the weather had turned damp they were still in good spirits though and not giving up. In the final game of the day the boys turned it on winnimg 5-0 (Eddie x 3, Harry and Khelan). After the hockey we had the after party in the marquee. The kids all showered and glammed themselves up and the oldies sat in the corner drinking. We were treated to a great BBQ and the music has started blasting including an homage to Slough with some Bangra lol (only after they had played La Macarena though). The kids are all on the dance floor all getting along really well and making new friends and re-aquainting old ones from last year.
Breakfast update day five
Everyones seems to have got their energy back and a busting to get back on the pitch. A few injury niggles and missing mouthguards but up for the day! Go SLOUGH
Lunchtime Update Day Five.
The guys are on fire and both teams are up for it. Three walking wounded but that is not dampening spirits and everyone is cheering each other on. The mixed team got their first points on the board with a great effort to get a draw. The boys were up next and managed a 2-0 win (Eddie, Vivek). The mixed team were up next against everyones favourites (Marienthal Girls) with two injured and two borrowed players and managed a creditable 3-0 loss. The boys played the same team an hour later and managed to take points off them 1-0 with an early goal (Eddie). This shook them as they had not gone behind the whole tournament and hopefully will make them nervous for the final!
Final update from Celle ....
The mixed team supplemented by Nadia and Ali, went to a penalty shoot out in their playoff. In the true tradition of England v Germany and penalty shoot outs errrr.....we.lost. the guys did really well though and should be proud of themselves. The boys were up for the finals bit the girls from Marienthal were just too clinical and took their chances to win 2-0. Everyone has had a great time in Celle....its showers and the Ceremony and then we are heading off home. Pictures up by Monday night!
Updated 09:45 - 5 Sep 2018 by Surjit Sandhu