Malaysia Hockey Tour 2018

Dates

Departs: 28 July 2018
Returns: 10 August 2018

Location

Malaysia

Staff member in charge

Miss Lynsey Allan

On 29 July 2018, 34 Dollar hockey players and 5 staff members travelled to Malaysia for two weeks of competition with school teams in and around Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Pulau Pinang.

The Malaysia tour brings two weeks of competitionAs well as training and matches, the group will enjoy local hospitality and have the chance to explore some of Malaysia's main cultural sites and landmarks.

Read the blog below to keep up-to-date with their travels.

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Safe arrival in Malacca

We have all arrived safely in Mallacca after a long day /night of travelling. The girls enjoyed lunch outside on arrival in a rather warm 32 degrees ! Once they were all settled in their rooms they had some time for rest and relaxation and unpacking before heading to training session one which was just a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  

The tempertaure took a bit of getting used to and after some light physical work the squads trained hard in preparation for our first fixtures tomorrow afternoon. 

On return from the pitch the girl's entered the 5 star hotel outdoor pool facilities in their robes for a cool down session led by vice captain Evie Wills. (spectacular water aerobics)

Evening dinner consisted of a range of lovely local dishes at the hotel followed by a quick squad meeting to round up day one. 

With the majority of the squad (and staff! ) struggling to stay awake - everyone has headed off for an early night. 

Good night ! 

Malacca City Tour and First Match

After most had a very good (and long) sleep and a good breakfast we ventured out this morning on a walking tour of Malacca old city taking in the Malacca Straits, the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia and of course some shopping. The weather started off cloudy and warm after rain storms last night but the temperature soon rose to a balmy 33 degrees!

Back to the hotel for lunch and then off to Malacca City Hockey Stadium for our first two games. Our guide Zubair explained to the girls that the opposition teams would be wearing scarves and tights for religious reasons (even at 33 degrees) and that they might have to stop the games for 2/3 minutes if there was a call to prayer. Our opposition today was a team from the combined local schools from Malacca and a team from the region of Sabah on Borneo touring the mainland on a build up for their regional tournament next weekend in Ipoh. 

The first XI match got underway and proved to be a fast paced, intense game with both sided demonstrating some excellent play in attack. The Malaysian side were fitter and extremely well organised, they played with flair and had some fantastic individual skills.  The girls lost a couple of goals by simply forcing the ball which resulted in turnovers, the Malaysians punished us for this and were very clinical in the circle. Dollar played some good hockey in the final quarter. The final score was a 3-0 loss. Special mention must go to Amy Salmon who played Centre Back where she controlled the game, distributed well and was solid defensively, an extremely mature performance.

The 2nd XI match was very similiar and the pace and skill level was very difficult for the girls to match. Despite the intensity of the game, the girls never gave up and improved as the game progressed. Beth Duddy made a spectacular save at a short corner, the drag flick was going high into the net and she made a great hand save. The opposition were a very skillfull and organised squad who played with confidence. The girls fought hard till the final whistle but unfortunately were on the wrong end of a healthy scoreline. 

We returned to the hotel for a well needed pool recovery session and then into Malacca for a lovely meal. Off to KL tomorrow morning for a four night stay.

Back to KL and second matches

We boarded the bus early and headed back to KL. A quick stop off for lunch before checking in to the fantastic Renaissance Hotel, just 4 minutes walk from the Petronas Towers. The girls are certainly getting used to a luxury lifestyle in these hotels!

Game 2 saw us face the another two teams from Malaysian Regional Representative Squads. The 1st XI game proved to be yet another fast paced and intense affair. The girls certainly stepped up their performance from yesterday, which is all we ask game on game. They adapted well to a new structure and looked a lot more organised than yesterday. Several times poor defensive marking in the final third led to us leaking a couple of goals. At the start of the third quarter Dollar produced some excellent attacking play down the right hand side with Hannah Marchant finishing in style with a great shot from top D into the corner of the goal. There were certainly plenty of tired bodies on the final whistle which resulted in a 6-1 loss against a talented side, we couldn't have asked any more from the girls. All in all a promising performance.

The 2nd XI game started together with heavy rain which at least provided familiar playing conditions. Similar to the 1st team the 2nd XI really upped their game and competed for lengthy periods of time. The Malaysian side were yet another extremely organised and skillful side who were very composed in the circle scoring some fantastic goals, however Dollar answered with a goal from Chloe Dunsire who was set up by Abi Hall who then subsequently scored a second for Dollar with a great reverse stick shot. The final score was a 4-2 loss, but again a much improved performance from yesterday and a huge improvement from the squad.

Spirits certainly weren't dampened telling by the singing on the way back to the hotel where the girls enjoyed a sumptuous meal taking full advantage of the endless buffet on offer.

An early start tomorrow with a pitch session 8-9.30 before heading to the water park for the day.

Training and Sunway Lagoon Water Park

The girls set off early this morning for training where they had a worthwhile session working on areas identified in the previous two matches, followed by a stretching session.

Then we were all off to Sunway Lagoon Waterpark for a few hours where the girls (and staff) had great fun and a lot of screams on the many rides at the park. Back to the hotels for a couple of hours, when most seemed to relax in the hotel pool before heading in to Chinatown for a meal. 

FRIM, Batu Caves and third matches

We woke to clear blue skies this morning and headed off first thing to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia where we went on a jungle walk with a guide who showed us what plants and trees make up the Malaysian rainforest. We then had a short drive to the Batu Caves which are home to a Hindu temple at the top of 272 steps in limestone caves. Nearly all made it up to the caves! The macaque monkeys who live near the caves kept everyone entertained and even stole an ice cream. We then headed back to the hotel for lunch and a rest before our third matches, again against Kuala Lumpur representative sides.

The temperature was approaching 35 degrees when the 2nd XI started their game in the fantastic Hoki Tun Razak stadium. The girls got off to a strong start executing an organised defensive structure which the Malaysian side struggled to break through. The Malaysian side took the lead just before half time.  After a well needed half time break in the shade the girls took to the pitch with real determination and very quickly scored the equaliser with a goal from Chloe Dunsire.  Despite the demanding conditions, the girls continued to give their best and converted a penalty corner in the last 10 minutes to go ahead 2-1.  They soaked up some pressure in the last five minutes. Final score was a 2-1 win, a well deserved first tour victory! 

The 1st XI then took to the field against the same squad as yesterday and improved their performance hugely. Defensive play was our main objective today. The girls implemented the press effectively and were far more organised defensively in the final third. After the first half the score was 0-0. The girls maintained a high intensity into the second half and leaked an early goal and then a second within a few minutes. The Dollar side demonstrated great character in the final quarter with several goal scoring opportunities. Lucy Smith scored a straight strike at a penalty score to end the game. A 2-1 loss but a much improved performance. 

We headed back to the hotel for a lovely meal and the girls enjoyed an few hours of well deserved free time and hopefully an early night...! They have an early start with training from 7:30-9:00am.

Early training and evening visit to Petronas twin towers

The girls were out of bed early today for a pitch session at 7.30am before returning to the hotel for breakfast. The rest of the day was free for them to relax by the huge hotel pool, sleep or go shopping at KLCC, the shopping mall under the Petronas Towers, 10 minutes walk from the hotel. 

Early evening we all went to the 452m high Petronas towers and took the lift to the Sky Bridge and then up to the Observation deck for amazing views across KL. This was followed by dinner at Ben's in the KLCC then back to the hotel to pack as we move again tomorrow. After a swim session tomorrow morning, the tour moves three hours north of KL to Ipoh tomorrow afternoon. All the girls are in great form, keeping each other and all staff entertained! 

Move to Ipoh and White Water Rafting

Yesterday morning the girls had an easy fitness session in the pool in the morning and then packed up their bags before lunch and setting off on a 3 hour drive north to Ipoh which is more tropical and hilly than KL. After arriving at their third hotel of the tour so far, they had an hour in the infinity pool before setting out for a late training session at the superb Stadium Azlan Shah. We arrived in time to watch the end of a very high standard and fast paced men's game which was being watched by quite a crowd. The girls trained hard in very humid conditions until 10pm.

There was much anticipation at breakfast today as we were heading off early for our white water rafting trip with Nomad adventures on the Kampar River in Gopeng. After a safety briefing and getting all our equipment we set off to meet our guides and were divided into groups of 4. The first to take a plunge into the water was Katie Greer swiftly followed by Emma Dunsire. They both followed the guides safety rules for falling in, number 1 of which was 'smile'! They were swiftly joined by quite a few others but all were safely scooped back into boats after a few seconds and much laughter and screams. We also saw enormous Rajah Brooke's birdwing butterflies, monitor lizards and red dragonflies while we rafted down river. We were then gven lunch back at the base and heading back to Ipoh for the remainder of the day. The teams will have a video analysis session tonight after dinner in preparation for their penultimate games tomorrow afternoon.

Orangutans, Game 4 and Penang

Yesterday morning we left Ipoh and headed north towards Penang, stopping half way to visit an island orangutan conservation sanctuary where we saw baby and adult orangutans being cared for before being released back into the wild on Borneo.

After lunch we headed straight on to Penang to play our fourth match of the tour against a Malaysian sports academy located in Penang. The 1st XI took to the pitch first on another extremely hot day. The opposition were not of the same level as the previous fixtures resulting in Dollar having alot more of the ball. Several impressive attacking moves resulted in Dollar having a 3-0 lead at half time. Having more time on the ball allowed personnel to play in a variety of positions and various structures implemented. A final score of 6-2 was the result of game 4. Rosie Biggart had a particularly impressive performance.

The 2nd XI match got underway and the girls competed for the first two quarters . Fatigue unfortunately resulted in a number of turnovers that resulted in the Malaysian side taking a two goal lead. Dollar increased the intensity in the final quarter and created a number of goal scoring opportunities but failed to convert. The final score was 3-0 to the Malaysian side. 

We then then moved on to our last hotel on the island of Penang for our last 3 nights.

The girls rose early for a 2 hour training session at the nearby fantastic University facilities where they addressed a number of issues from the previous fixtures. After this intense session in the heat of Malaysia they enjoyed a well deserved rest at the pool and beach. In the evening we all visited a local food court for dinner and then tested our bargaining skills in the local night market.... I hope you all look forward to your classy gifts!

Final matches and home

The girls started  the day with a well earned long lie before breakfast and then enjoyed some free time by the pool and beach before lunch.

After lunch we boarded the coach for game 5, our final tour fixtures. The squads were on great form , singing all the way!  The games today were at a Malaysian sports school whose athletes include an olympic 100m sprinter and several Hockey players who have played international Hockey and featured in the Asian Cup.  After a team talk , the 1st XI took to the field first for their warm up. The squad produced an impressive performance in attack and addressed a number of defensive issues from our previous game.  One quality of this new side is the team hockey they play, moving the ball early to create opportunities for others.  Dollar mainted a fast, attacking style of Hockey throughout and did not concede. The final score was 6-0, goals from Captain, Eve Pearson, Abi Hall, Lucy Smith (2) and Rebecca Hogg (2).  

The 2nd XI also finished their tour on a high with a 2-1 victory in a an exciting end to end affair. They played some great hocley throughout and just kept on running to secure the victory. Both squads have made huge improvements in their performance over the last ten days. 5 games and 5 training sessions has enabled them to gel as a team and challenged them both physically and mentally in the gruelling heat.

The evening consisted of another trip to the night markets , so prepare yourself for even more classy gifts. Watching them barter with the stall owners was most entertaining ! 

The girls have been fantastic throughout, their behaviour has been first class and each and every one of them excellent Dollar Academy representatives. They have been joy to tour with. 

Tomorrow morning we head for Kuala Lumpur from Penang, then onto Abu Dhabi. We should arrive at Edinburgh Airport at 07:35 on Saturday morning with an estimated arrival of 09:15 at School. Be prepared to welcome home some very tired campers. We don't wish to see any rice or noodles for quite some time ! 

All in all , a fantastic experiece on and off the pitch for pupils and staff alike. 

'..........Selamat Malam'

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