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Marshland High School

Marshland sports stars tour Florida

Basketball, football, golf, baseball and ice hockey were all on the timetable when Marshland High School students travelled to Florida for the trip of a lifetime.

The 30- strong group from Years 7 to 10 flew to Orlando in the USA on a week-long sporting adventure where they honed their basketball and football skills against American opponents, and also had the opportunity to practise golf and baseball.

“In football, we played one of Orlando Magic academy sides in a boys’ game and a mixed game,'' explained organiser Dominic Stannard, Head of Character and Culture at our school, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust. “The facilities were very impressive. In the boys’ game, we competed really well in the first half, and Orlando scored just before half time to make it 3-1. It ended up 7-1.

“In the mixed game, it was very one-sided in the first half, so we decided to mix the teams up, and the second half was a great experience, with all players mixing in well and supporting each other.”

“In a last minute change of itinerary, we ended up having two basketball training sessions rather than competitive games, which worked well, and the students enjoyed both,” he continued.

“It was great for the students to try new sports, such as golf and baseball. The Top Golf was very impressive, and, at the batting cages, the students got to face a pitching machine to practise hitting a baseball.”

Among the stand-out football players were Saule Stasiulyte, Lindon Chapman, Sam Barwell, Thomas Gooch, Jake Bowering and Amelia Walters, as well as goal keepers Fred Norman and Amy Locks.

Amelia received an honourable mention for her prowess on the basketball court too, along with Ollie Upton, Poppy Taylor, Noelani Claxton, Raigardad Savickas and Jenson Chapman.

The Marshland tour group also got to see the professionals in action, attending both an ice hockey match and an NBA basketball game during their stay.

“At the ice hockey, we saw Orlando Solar Bears beat top-of-the-league Greenville Snow Rabbits 5-1, and the atmosphere was brilliant,” said Mr Stannard. “There were two mass brawls with 18 players getting ejected from the ice, and our students kept getting on the big screen.

“In the basketball game, Orlando Magic beat Chicago Bulls.”

Other highlights of the trip included visits to the Busch Gardens and Aquatica Water Park, shopping excursions, and an evening at Disney Springs, where the group enjoyed a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe.

“Overall it was a great trip, and I have so many lovely memories, as well as developing my confidence and ability to work as a team,” said Amy Locks. “Both the theme park and water park were great days, but I also really enjoyed all the sports, particularly the football games. Their players were so lovely, and it was nice to all work together, and I learnt some new skills.”

“My two favourite parts of the trip were the waterpark and the basketball training sessions,” said Saule Stasiulyte. “I was able to develop my passing and shooting whilst having fun.”

“The basketball training was so good,” agreed Thomas Gooch. “The sessions were delivered well with good tempo”, while Seth Davies said: “The coaches were fun and inspiring and I learnt lots of new skills.”

“It was the most amazing trip,” added Mr Stannard. “All the staff who attended were so proud of the way the students conducted themselves throughout – they were well behaved, polite, respectful, and a pleasure to work with.

“Many thanks again to our sponsors for the trip – J&S Setting Drainage Services, main sponsor of the football kits, Barwell Transport, secondary sponsor of the two football kits, and Quay Centre, main sponsor of the new basketball kit.

“The students looked incredibly smart, and we look forward to using the kits in future fixtures and trips.”