Monday, January 23, 2012

Last few days and Shopping

Hi all

Here we are at Cape Town airport and we finally have a few minutes to write the last few words for the blog.
Firstly, from all the parents, your boys have been great. As far as we can tell, there has been no home sickness, there has been great manners and fabulous behavior from all.
The last few days have been as busy as they all have been.
Saturday, Henry's birthday, they trained at Bishops pool for three hours and then in the stinking heat we visited a cheetah park. Most took the opportunity to pat the cheetah so hopefully some good photos there. Saturday night dinner in a fine dining restaurant ( which meant the servings were a bit on the small side) cake and candles for Henry.
Sunday. The game against Reddam - enough said ...
So what did they want to do for their last afternoon in SA? Shop !
We have discovered that these boys have an ENDLESS ability to shop. Always what they wanted and they have done it lots. We took them to a massive mall ,400 shops,on Sunday afternoon and it nearly met their needs. So when we get home expect loads of new clothes and toys and a few other random things. John Lennon glasses, silver gloves, many vuvuzelas and possibly a few things we may not get through customs in NZ.
The plan when we arrive in NZ is to send them through as quickly as we can. One parent will come through first, and one parent last, and we ask that if you do leave the airport with your son can you let the parent who is through know, the plan being that we all leave together if possible. However will be late and we recognize that for some, you may need to get home.

Jane and Rob

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Premier Team vs Reddam First

Reddam has 15 field players, plus a second goalie. They did not have a good game yesterday against Rondebosch, and will be looking to do better today. We have Jeff, Pete, Phillip, Nic, Mayan, Max, Chest, Ben, Lachie, TC, and Harry, who leads a Grammar cheer.

Chukka 1: Mayan swims, but Reddam are quicker. And they get the vital first goal. Straight away, our guys are under serious pressure, from a tough, fast team. A couple of sloppy passes, and some referee decisions that go against us, mean that Reddam get an early lead to finish the quarter 5:1, with Jeff scoring our only goal so far. Our defenders have been doing a good job, under serious pressure from Reddam's premier team, in their premier sport.

Chukka 2: Kurt steadies them in the break, before Mayan swims again, with a fierce battle on the half way line winning us the ball. A blatant foul against Peter, and the refs make a mistake, which takes some time to put right. Unfortunately, we can't get a goal, but Reddam turns it around and scores. 6:1 down with some rough play. TC sets up Phillipo, and we score, but this chukka brings out the Reddam physicality and some referee decisions that allow swimming over. Reddam briefly have two number 11's in the water, and a player fails to get out after a foul. Kurt educates the referees, but their decision stands, and we play 6:5, Lachie managing to eventually get the ball to dribble into the goal. 7:3 down. Then TC scores using that left shot of his. It's attack and counter attack with Harry facing a great deal of pressure. Ben gets in a beauty back hander, and Pete and Harry stop a fierce attack. A great deal of holding and underwater rough stuff, and the referees are struggling too. 8:5 down at half time.

Chukka 3: The battle of muscle is not going our way. Can we win the battle of control? The referees commend our boys so far. Phillip swims, but a referee glitch means they swim again, with us losing the ball, but Phillip now successfully defending the goal. Moments later, Max attempts his by now signature lollipop, but the Reddam goalie is too good. A time out by us does not nett us a goal, but Reddam can score, and does. Chest wrestles in the hole, but the defense is too strong, and they keep scoring using 6:5's as well. Nic defends and prevents another goal. 13:5 down. Our boys are still working together consistently, which is more than I can say for the referees!

Chukka 4: Another swim to them. A Jeff to TC goal comes from a 6:5 at last. A Peter to Chest attempt is just not quite in. 14:6 but nobody is slowing up. The game is fast and fierce to the end, but the score stands:14:6. The Premier team is beaten by strength, not size, physicality, not a lack of courage. They played hard to the end, for a loss without shame. And maybe a few reminders to stand them in good stead for the coming season back home.

The Parents

Prems swimming off, last game, last chukka

Development Team vs Reddam U15

We are live at Reddam school, on the coolest day of the tour. It has sprinkled, but not rained, and the mountains around us are shrouded with mist.
The last games of the tour are in Reddam's outdoor full size pool. AGS could have one like this. The sport at the school, and in Auckland, would be transformed.
12 boys take to the water: Mack, Wyatt, Jack, Anton, Toby, the Nicks and the Reubens, Tom, Harry, and Akira.

Chukka 1: Within moments, it is clear that the team has come a long way. They start talking to each other, communicating well, especially on defense. Reddam has lost some players to SACS, and are perhaps not as familiar with each other as one might expect. Like other games, the hosts are using these games as trials. Jack swims off to start a close chukka, with Akira and Tom scoring, and Reddam scoring once.

Chukka 2: Reuben S swam, to be closely beaten again to the ball. We have not won many swim offs this tour. Toby has a good quarter, demonstrating some nice skills and good steals, Nick G gets in a fabulous backhander, and Nick M continues to play well in goal. 5:3 up.

Chukka 3: Mac swims, but Reddam are quicker. Anton sets up the next goal, after pressure from Mac prevents the opposition from getting their next one in. Reddam scores again to make 6:4 up. Reddam fumble a 5 metre, and within moments, Tom scores. Harry has a crack in the hole. Another Reddam 5 metre, taken by the same player, pegs the score back to 7:5 to our boys. A number of ejections at this stage may effect the final chukka. Reuben and Toby create a beautiful shot at goal, but the Reddam goalie is very very good. 7:5 up still.

Chukka 4: Mac swims, but Reddam gets there first. Tom is looking very alive. Nick M faces his 4th 5 metre, and blocks it. Mac and Harry work a defensive double team, then Jack and Wyatt get one in. 8:5 up. Team work. Both Reubens get in now, as one of the Reddam stars is off to the blood bin. Everything stops, with 4 minutes left. Nick M stops yet another shot into his top right corner. James calls time out on 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Moments later the Reddam coach does the same, both teams fiercely attacking without success. A strong move by Reddam get them another 5 metre, which Nick again successfully defends, but their next one is too good. The game ends with a final shot at goal from Tom. An 8:6 victory. What a terrific end to the tour for the boys!

The Parents

Development speed

Hello all

It’s the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing at night, and sometimes during the day as I pass or turn on the computer.. THE BLOG! We are looking forward to viewing the photos and hearing the stories.  Thank you Ben for setting up the blog and to Bill and the other parents for keeping us well informed all the way through.  And Jane, thank you for your medical assistance!!  See you all Tuesday night and enjoy your last days to the fullest! Take care.

Love to Ben Y It’s been very quiet without you here!


Ally, Anthony and Kate


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday

A  message to the birthday boy on the tour... Happy Birthday Henry!  Congratulations on the fantastic wins in the pool and many thanks to Ben and the parents for the regular blogs, they have been brilliant and very much appreciated.  

See you soon, tatts and all!

Tracey and Tim

Henry's Birthday

Here we are at the tattoo parlour, all of us having just finished our tattoo. At first the team struggled to decide on the tattoo design but Mr. Skeen eventually decided for us, sticking to a traditional African tribal tattoo above each of our right nipples. He bravely went first and cried like a baby! All of us were so worried but it turns out he just had a low pain threshold. Only the birthday boy Henry and Akira cried after that. The team would like to thank the Toad for the tattoo idea as a celebration of Henry's seventeenth. We would also like to thank the entire parent support team for not only allowing but recommending the entire process.

Don't worry parents at home, the infections aren't even usually terminal!




Big Night Out

Not A Bad View

Phillip's Blog

Today we all had an early start, then went to the pool and had a long 3 hour training. After that we went to a mall and had lunch. We are currently on our way to a cheetah park which everybody is looking forward to. Throughout this tour I have really enjoyed being billeted by the four schools. I have learnt a lot about South Africa and it has been an amazing trip. I encourage people that want to travel to visit South Africa because it is a really cool place and you will get to see lots of fantastic places.

Hope everyone is enjoying themselves back home.

From Phillip

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cape Point

Spectacular Views from Cape Point

Enough Said

Resting at the Summit

Haiku 1

We saw a baboon
Akira got scared and ran
It was crack up lol



Nico Lamprecht is a 67 year old Durban local of Afrikaans descent.  He approached me in the lobby of the Beach Hotel in Durban after seeing the tour t-shirts, and said that he’d be interested to talk, as he had been involved in South African water polo, including coaching and teaching at Durban High School for 25 years.


When I met him a few days later, joined for part of the time by James and later Ben, he turned out to be a fascinating guy – maybe not so surprising when later Brad Rowe, the Clifton coach, described him as “the godfather of South African water polo”.


Nico is close to finishing writing a book on the history of South African water polo, starting with the first “league game” in South Africa, which was unbelievably in 1898, running through to the 100th running of the national provincial competition which has the same name and the same benefactor as their much better known national rugby competition, the Currie Cup. 


He talked about his experiences taking Natal teams on tours to Hungary, and educated me about the origins of water polo which were, according to him, in the mid 19th century when Englishmen tried to replicate the horse polo game by playing with a ball while sitting on barrels in the pool.  The barrels soon disappeared, as did the concept of standing on the bottom, and today’s swimming game was founded.


He wanted to give the school a copy of another book he had written, a history of rugby at Durban High School.  Ben received the book on the school’s behalf and reciprocated with a school tie.  Nico was chuffed to receive it - the Grammar colours are identical to Durban High School’s.


He had also spent five years in the Intelligence division of the South African police (spying I would understand that to be) but he didn’t want to tell us stories about that . . .  He was a very interesting man.





Heading Out to the Seal Colony

Haiku 6

We went on a boat
Kurt admitted he was cold
We saw seals too


Postcard from Auckland

What an amazing tour you guys are having! Like many of the "rents" back home checking in at your blogsite is the highlight of each morning and each evening for us.
A huge thank you to Ben for the fabulous photos and to all the "Parents" for the great game reports - it feels like we are almost there with you. Wish we were...

Continue to have fun and play well.
See you at Auckland Airport at midnight on Tuesday.

Lots of love to Harry W
Guy, Biddy, Josh and Xiau xxxx

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting better all the time!

Impressive games!
Can't wait to watch your first school games back in Auckland, which will only
be a couple of weeks after you get back.
You will be so well prepared :)
Thanks coaches and parents again for all your hard work - AND to the boys for
making the most of this amazing opportunity!
Hi to Tom C !!

Meal Time- Always Treasured

The Bishops Aftermatch

Coach Kurt off his Seat


Game Time

Premier Team vs Bishops First Team

After an intimidating game for our Development Team against the Bishops Second Team, it is up to our Premier Team to regain some mana. They are expecting a very physical time. Harry leads a Grammar cheer before the whistle goes. Ben Skeen again notices the lack of pool facilities here: no bar. Hey, it's hot here!

Chukka 1: Narrowly losing the swim off, the game opened with an ejection forced by Peter, and we score. The opposition quickly equalise and then we score again after another ejection. We are finishing the 6 on 5's better. The rest of the quarter passes in a flurry of frantic swimming, a couple of good steals, a solo swim by Jeff, with the score now 4:2 up.

Chukka 2: With the physicality more evenly matched, the game settles down to huge amounts of swimming, not to mention a vast amount of underwater "wrestling". 5:4 up at half time. This is going to be a game of fitness and physical endurance. And Max and Jack get plenty of education. Mayan gets out after less than a minute. The bot is still out there, but he gets an ejection in his brief time in the water.

Chukka 3: Jeff arrives second but wins the ball nonetheless. It's full on for the next 6 minutes with a backhand attempt amongst others from BFN, but no score change. Kurt calls time out and everyone gets their breath back a little. But the ball continues to fly the length of the pool, and both Goalies show their talents. Harry remains icy calm under enormous pressure. A big work rate from Lachie. Still 5:4 up.

Chukka 4: Early on, the referees make a couple of odd decisions, and we get a glimpse of the yellow card. The next flurry of confusion leads to the third ejection for a Bishops player. Some quick goals and great team work see rising scores for both teams. 9:6 with a couple of minutes to go, but nothing seems to slow down. Harry functions like a wall, and TC shows his worth. 10:7 with a minute to go, and despite enormous efforts from both sides, nothing changes. A 10:7 victory over Bishops.

The Parents

Bishop Game (Development Team)

After the most amazing morning being shown around Langa, a black township. The boys are now playing their games against Bishops.

As with previous days Dev team up first. Here in SA they call the quarters chukkas - as they do in polo

Chukka 1: Not a great start. Boys looking a little unsettled and down 0-4 at the end.
Chukka 2: A couple of great blocks and some better defence helped in this chukka. Nick Godfrey is playing well and the blocks belong to Mac. 0-7 at end of chukka.
Chukka 3: A very interesting 7 minutes. Our boys scored 2 goals here. The first happened amidst a great deal of confusion, when Wyatt and Akira between them put the ball home while all else were swimming in the opposite direction. Then, after an ejection for brutality, Reuben P scored with the resultant 5 metre. The opposition are now forced to play a man down for the rest of the game. 9:2 down.
Chukka 4: playing 6 against 5 as the chukka opens does even things up. In goal, Nick has some of the intensity off him now, and the rest of the team are swimming more. The opposition are bigger and more physical than our boys and perhaps the referee decisions suit that. A bit more mongrel is called for and Akira delivers. Kurt cheers. By full time, our guys can see what is needed, but can't deliver in the face of an overwhelming opposition. Final score was 12:4.

The Parents

Cape Town Blog

Hi all

Thought I should say a few words about our time in Cape Town. It has been pretty busy hence the lack of wordy blogs (except game reports).

Cape Town totally lives up to its reputation of a beautiful city. The Table mountain is visible from everywhere. The city seems safer and cleaner than Durban, however this may be because we have been in the nicer parts of town.

We have seen quite a bit. We have all been to the waterfront area- think Wellington's waterfront with 100s more shops. Out to Robben Island - flat, bleak and hot, and we were shown around the prison by an ex inmate which added a reality to the whole thing. The boys are getting a lot of history on SA which is all so recent, 20 years only since the end of apartheid. History again today with the visit to Newlands stadium and cricket ground and again presented with the newness of sport in this country not being divided by race. In between a few trips to beaches especially Camps Bay on the Atlantic side which everyone said was too cold for swimming - many swam anyway. And of course some water polo and training. And of course the trip up Table Mountain- Spectacular, the photos say it all.

The boys have gone off tonight for their last lot of billeting- all seemingly quite happy. I think billeting has been less scary as they have gone along. Ben has done a great job of mixing them up and they have gone to the billets with a different team mate each time. Their billets are all back at school so early morning starts. Many are craving a sleep in!

Today we are going to visit a township and then the games against Bishops.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Haiku 5

This morning we trained
We swam up and down the pool
Thanks Kurt, you are cool


Our Team

The History of Newlands Cricket Stadium

The Gentlemen's Game- classy backdrop

T R Y !!!!!!!!

Misread the Tickets- Wrong Day, No Game

The Fortress

A Presentation of the History

Inside Newlands Rugby Stadium

Home of the Opening Game of the 1995 Rugby World Cup


It is the first thing we do every morning after breakfast and the last thing we do before bed each night. Who would have thought a blog could be so interesting. We love the twice daily updates of your adventures and game time.
Many thanks to all the bloggers.

The weather in Northland has finally come right this week, hope to catch a fish or two in the coming days. No great whites here!

Keep up with the sunscreen, enjoy the good times and good luck for the upcoming games.
Take care all. Love to Tom M.

Karen, Alan & Hugh McMurtry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Exciting Games!

Congratulations to the boys and coaches for a fantastic win from the Prem team!
AND a very close game for the Dev team..

Well done with the team communication and persistence.
Hope you are feeling better Harry - and anyone else who is not 100% yet!

Thanks again for keeping us in the loop :)

The Aftermatch

Pre-Dinner Activities

Vocal Supporters

Premier Team vs SACS

The SACS team have just returned from a 12 day tour of Hungary, having played about 20 games, in Waterpolo's Mecca. And there are 16 of them! Kurt is now here, but Harry is not up to playing, so Nick will step in.

Quarter 1: Phillip swam off, winning it. The rest of the quarter did not go as well, finishing 4:nil down. The local team were in the right place at the right time, with accurate shooting.

Quarter 2: Mayan swam this time, but was beaten to the ball. However, the game seemed to turn here, and our boys scored 4 goals, SACS scoring only 1. 5:4 to SACS at half time.

Quarter 3: TC swam and won the ball, but the rest of the quarter went to SACS. 8 ejections later, Jeff was out on three, but we still weren't using the advantages given. 4:7 down.

Quarter 4: This quarter started with lots of pressure from our guys, who swam extremely hard. The SACS shooting began to go wild, and by the last 30 seconds, the score was level pegging on  7 all. We had possession. In that final few moments, Lachie scored the winning goal, his third for the game. Wow! 

What a turn up. And what an exciting game. There were 3 5meter shots taken by our team, 2 by SACS. What a fantastic job on defence, in particular from our stand-in goalie. Our strengths: defence and team communication. Things to work on: accuracy, and taking advantage of 6 on 5's. A nice win for the boys, and their coaches.

The Parents

Development Team vs SACS

This is the cleanest, bluest pool we have seen, with salt water. The air temperature is over 30 degrees, but the pool itself is much cooler. The team today consists of one Tom, two Nicks, Harry, Akira, Wyatt, Toby, Max, Jack, Mac and Anton. The opposition are smaller, and very sleek.

Quarter 1: Harry came a close second at the swim off and the two sides began to suss each other out, for a score of 2 all at the whistle. Both teams scored nicely, including a beaut backhand from our boys.

Quarter 2: Even Reuben's speed wasn't enough to win the second swim off. And by half time, the score had moved on to 4:3 down. James remained calm.

Quarter 3: With Toby winning the swim off, this quarter started well. Technical problems meant that there was now only one functioning shot clock, placed to the advantage of our boys. Nick successfully defended a 5 meter penalty, but had to be subbed out briefly by Tom, because of cramp. Some scrappy moments and some positional slip ups left the score at 7:4 down at the end of this quarter.

Quarter 4: Tom won this swim off too. Our team pegged back a couple of goals, and so with a minute to go, had themselves one goal down, after a steal by Jack, which was so slick, neither side noticed. And when the SACS boys had their last shot at goal, good defence on our part managed to block it. Final score: 7:6. A close game, exciting to watch, but SACS deserved their win.

The Parents


Hi All

Thanks for sending all the info, game results, medical updates and stunning photos.

We have really enjoyed keeping up with what you are all up to and appreciate the time taken to blog when you must all be very busy and so hot!

Enjoy the rest of your trip and file away those all lifetime memories. Can’t wait to hear more...


Lunch Anyone?

Small Meals

A Long Way Down

On Top of Table Mountain

Beautiful View- Average People