Posted by: Tom Archer
A group of 27 students headed to sunny Portugal in order to participate in the inaugural Headmasters’ Conference (HMC) Sports Tournament that was held at St Julian’s School in Lisbon. The British School in The Netherlands sent two rugby sevens teams that were selected from years 8 to 10, the girls basketball team consisted of 9 students from years 7, 8 and 9. The tour offered many of the students their first taste of international competition and two days of high-level competition awaited all three teams.
The rugby team faced the challenge of playing against the hosts and the British School of Barcelona, whereas the girls competition came from a mixture of other Portuguese international schools and local clubs, including a contender for the Portuguese national championships.
On arrival, the teams were transferred to Carcavelos which was to be our base for the next few days. After breakfast at the hotel the students made the short walk to the school where the boys were to play, the girls were taken to a local sports hall. The boys were split in to two teams of mixed ability, the Lions and the Bulls, and in their first game the Lions did well to beat the hosts 14-10. Both teams had four games on the first day and by the end of the day, the Bulls had finished 3rd and the Lions had finished 5th. This meant that both teams went in to day 2 with a chance of winning. After winning their first games of the second day the Bulls and the Lions had to face each other for a place in the semi-final with the Bulls coming out on top. The semi-final pitched the Bulls against the British School of Barcelona, who were a much older and physical team and had already beaten the Bulls the day before. Fortunately the Bulls prevailed 7-0 through a try from captain Sandy Campbell setting up the final against the hosts from Lisbon. Unfortunately for the Bulls this was their third game within an hour and a half and tiredness had begun to set in with the hosts running away with a four try to one victory. This meant that the BSN came away with a silver medal after two days of intense sevens rugby.
Meanwhile, around a kilometre away, the girls basketball team were facing a stiff challenge. For some of the girls this was their first taste of competitive basketball with their second game being against a team that were contenders for the Portuguese national championship. The girls lost both games on day one, however, the close scorelines gave hope of a better day on day 2. They kept their hopes up with a leisurely stroll along the beach back to the hotel and all of the teams ventured out to an Italian restaurant in order to prepare for the test of day 2. Day 2 saw the BSN win their first game before succumbing to St Julian’s in their last game of the day. All of the girls did fantastically well and it is important to remember that many of the girls were playing against girls who were two years older than them but didn’t back down.
The students enjoyed the experience and challenge of playing against some of the top sides around and look forward to having another chance in the tournament that will be held next year.