Students from Burford School, England and Aldridge State High School line up for a photo before the hockey game.
Students from Burford School, England and Aldridge State High School line up for a photo before the hockey game. Griffith Thomas

Burford School drops by during international sports tour

JULY has been a bumper month for British sport.

First it was the British and Irish Lions who made history after beating the Wallabies, then Andy Murray became the first British male to win Wimbledon in 77 years.

Last week the Tour de France saw Chris Froome crowned the second British champion in as many years and the Ashes...well, we won't go there.

It's a tough act to follow, but one school from England was on the Fraser Coast looking to add more wins to Britain's growing list of international victories.

Forty students and five staff from the Burford School are taking part in a sports tour, stopping off in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Last Friday the school's hockey team took on Aldridge State High School, while its netball and football teams faced Urangan State High School.

Burford School Head of PE Bill Williams said the players were "enormously excited" to be here, describing the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"We've been working on this tour for three years in terms of fundraising and preparation," he said.

"They get to obviously visit a different country and experience a different culture.

"In this day and age a lot of them will build up contacts through Facebook, Twitter and keep in contact with people they've met while here.

"I hope this will result in gap year exchanges both ways and they will keep in touch. That's one of the major aims, getting a network of friendships and contacts so they can keep in touch in the future."

This is the school's fifth sports tour, but the first time any of its students have visited the Fraser Coast.

Of all the activities the students took part in during their five days in Queensland, whale watching in Hervey Bay was one of their highlights.

"We've been to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, but never done Brisbane or Queensland so I wanted to make sure we did experience this area," Williams said.

"The coastline and its rural nature appealed to me because we are spending time in cities so it's nice for the boys and girls to experience rural Australia rather than urban Australia."

Williams said the school boasts a strong sports curriculum and uses the tours as a team bonding opportunity.

"It's not all about winning, it's about the experience but it's great if you can win," he said.

"You always enjoy something more if you can win, but that isn't the fundamental aim of the tour, the aim of the tour is enjoyment, participation and experiencing the culture.

"We're also trying to accomplish the whole notion of teamwork and working towards a common goal."

For the record, Burford's football team beat Urangan 5-0, but lost its netball match 23-9 and its hockey clash against Aldridge 7-0.

It's not the Ashes, but we'll take it.



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