Holland Tour 2018
Friday 06 April 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 13 April 2018 at 11:17)
Follow here for updates from this year's Holland Tour - the annual highlight of the youth section calendar. This year marks the 30th edition of the trip in all, and 17th to be run through the football club!
It was an exceptionally early start for this year's Tour, with the party meeting in the car park of the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground at 2am, with the departure planned for 2.30. Once on the road, it was a smooth journey down to Dover, with the ferry terminal being reached at 6am, just as the sun was beginning to appear.
While there was a great deal of excitement, the early departure allowed the players to gain some much needed sleep ahead of what would be a long day - and the luxury coach provided by Barnes certainly made that easier!
Once on foreign soil, the journey remained smooth as the bus travelled through France, Belgium and the Netherlands, thanks in part to the excellent weather. Eventually the group arrived at the StayOkay Hostel in Dordrecht at 2.30pm - bang on schedule - and were met by sun and temperatures in the low 20s!
After allocating rooms, unpacking and a relaxing evening meal it was then off to Rotterdam to take in the Eredivisie fixture between Sparta Rotterdam and VVV Venlo, with transport provided by JoJo Tours' Willem van der Steen.
Though not featuring Holland's leading lights, it promised to be an exciting game given Sparta's perilous league position. And it didn't disappoint. The atmosphere was excellent, and the home side were rewarded early on as Soufyan Ahannach found the net. However, goals from Clint Leemans either side of half time put Venlo in front.
Sparta toiled away for the remainder of the second half, though it appeared as though the game wouldn't go their way. That was until Robert Muehren stooped to score nine minutes from time. The same player then grabbed a dramatic winner last minute to seal the points for Sparta and improve their chances of avoiding automatic relegation. They are still in danger of getting dragged into the relegation playoffs, but at least that will give them a chance of preserving their top flight status.
The 8.45pm kick off meant it was a late finish and late night, with it not being until after 11 that the players were in bed.
The second day also started early, though the players were given a lie in, with them not required to be at breakfast until the sprightly hour of 8am.
After fuelling themselves, the tour party went out for a walk around the picturesque hostel grounds before departing for the first games of the tour at SC Monster.
As ever, a warm, friendly welcome was received ahead of the games. The three games were played in a friendly spirit as well. While Monster would end up winning two of the contests, with the third ending in a draw, the games were competitive and very equal.
The Under 12s drew 2-2, a result earned courtesy of goals from Jack Blunt and Ollie Dyer. Jacob Rendell-Haines netted in a 4-1 defeat for the Under 13s, while Marcel Lewis was on target as the Under 14s were defeated 6-1.
Results vs SC Monster
Under 12s - D 2-2 (Man of the Match: Harvey Fulton)
Under 13s - L 1-4 (Man of the Match: Luke Bussey)
Under 14s - L 1-6 (Man of the Match: Seb Smith)
After returning to the hostel, the party enjoyed an afternoon at leisure, with a few of the managers taking the opportunity to try their hands at canoeing, before dinner and a relaxed evening!
Following a hectic first couple of days, the third day on tour started in more relaxing fashion, with breakfast at 8.30am in time for a late morning departure to the seaside at Scheveningen. There, the tour party enjoyed the weather, with some taking part in an impromptu game of beach football.
In the early afternoon they travelled the short distance to the Juliana Sportpark, home of sister club FC 's-Gravenzande, where the three teams would compete for the Friendship Trophy.
And this year it would be Bassett retaining the 'Lady' as the trophy has come to be known as the visitors won all three games.
The Under 14s found their scoring boots as they triumphed 6-3 in a high-scoring affair. Otis Lewis led the way with a hat-trick, while Dan Robbins, Howard Evans and Matthew Purcell completed the scoring. For the Under 13s, things were much tighter, but they prevailed by the odd goal in five thanks to a Jacon Rendell-Haines brace and Taiga Matsushima strike. The Under 12s, meanwhile, preserved their unbeaten record and kept a clean sheet to boot in a 3-0 victory. On target were Noah Cranswick-Coates, Alec Gawthropp and Evan Bexon-Shaw.
Results vs FC 's-Gravenzande
Under 12s - W 3-0 (Man of the Match: Rhys Leng and Leo Neve)
Under 13s - W 3-2 (Man of the Match: Jacob Rendell-Haines and Michael Clifton)
Under 14s - W 6-3 (Man of the Match: Otis Lewis and Dan Robbins)
Following the games, the party decamped to the 's-Gravenzande clubhouse where dinner was served and the trophy presented to the three Bassett captains to bring back home before an enjoyable social evening was held in which friendships were renewed and made with our Dutch friends.
The final full day in Holland started with breakfast at 8am before a highly competitive team quiz and raffle were held. Man of the match presentations for the games against SC Monster and FC 's-Gravenzande were also made, while Steve Shaw and Tony Gleed were presented certificates by Nick Warren in recognition of them making 50 appearances at the Veterans' 'Friday Night Football' sessions.
In the early afternoon the tour party made the short trip to FC Dordrecht's GN Bouw Stadion for a meal in their fantastic De Schaapskoi restaurant. There the players had the chance to meet the Eerste Divisie side's midfielder Gustavo Hamer. The Brazilian-born Netherlands Under 20 international is currently on loan from Feyenoord, and he took the time to pose for photos and sign memorabilia for the Bassett players.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing around the hostel grounds. It was then on to EBOH for the final games of the tour. The Under 12s and 13s played a split game, with the younger side preserving their unbeaten record by drawing 2-2 in their half thanks to a Alec Gawthropp brace. In the second half, the elder of the two teams triumphed 3-1. Jacob Rendell-Haines made sure he scored in all three games, while Harvey Watkinson and Joey Warren were also on target. The Under 14s, meanwhile, made it two wins out of three as Otis Lewis and an own goal secured victory by the odd goal in three in a tight contest.
Results vs EBOH
Under 12s - D 2-2 (Man of the Match: Alec Gawthropp)
Under 13s - W 3-1 (Man of the Match: Joey Warren)
Under 14s - W 2-1 (Man of the Match: Marcel Lewis)
Following the games, the teams travelled back to the hostel where man of the match awards were given and the traditional end of tour presentation was held.
Award winners were:
Overall Special Tour Award: Alec Gawthropp
Under 12 Award: Noah Cranswick-Coates
Under 13 Award: Sam Hulbert
Under 14 Award: Marcel Lewis
The final day began with breakfast at 7.30am before the coach home departed an hour later. Good progress was made as they travelled back to Calais for the ferry to Dover. On the journey through the Netherlands and Belgium towards France most of the managers used it as an opportunity to catch up on sleep, with those who did being outed on Facebook!
The traffic was relatively smooth when back on British soil too, and it was 6.02pm that they arrived back at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, concluding another extremely successful trip.
A message from the organisers
Now that we have returned and all recovered we'd like to pass our thanks on to everyone that was involved in this year's tour. In our opinion it was a great success both on and off the pitch.
The tours wouldn't be anywhere near as successful without the hard work and friendship shown by a number of people, all of whom deserve sincere thanks.
Barnes Coaches and their driver Ross McKay deserve a great deal of praise for making sure each journey made - including the long cross-country trips at the star and finish of the tour - was as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Then at the StayOkay Hostel in Dordrecht, Danielle, Renee and all the wonderful staff help ensure that the accommodation has become a home from home for the club when making the trips.
Meanwhile, the hospitality shown by our friends at FC 's-Gravenzande, SC Monster and EBOH was, as always, exemplary.
Credit and praise must be passed on to all the players that travelled. They were a credit to the club and their families, displaying exemplary behaviour throughout the tour.
Thanks must also be passed on to the parents for the abundant supply of cakes that sustained the boys on a daily basis, as well as for their fundraising efforts prior to this year's tour.
It is always a shame when the tours come to the end given how fantastic an experience they are. Now it's on to looking forward to next year's trip though! We're pleased to say that next year's dates, travel and hostel accommodation have already been booked.
Pete Yeardley and Nigel Deane
On behalf of the Holland Tour Organising Committee