Holland Tour 2019

Saturday 13 April 2019 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 17 April 2019 at 19:57)

Follow us here for updates from this year's Holland Tour - the annual highlight of the youth section calendar.

Day One - Saturday 13th April

As usual, it was an exceptionally early start for this year's Holland Tour, with the party meeting in the car park of the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground at 4.15am. After the coach was loaded and goodbyes said, they departed on schedule at 4.45am. Good progress was made en route to Dover. Following a scheduled stop at Cobham services, the ferry terminal was reached at around 8.30am early, allowing for an earlier ferry to be caught than initially planned.

The crossing to Calais was smooth, and after reaching continental soil good progress continued to be made as the journey took them through northern France, Belgium - where a short break was had in Ghent - and, ultimately, into the Netherlands. Huge thanks go to Dan the driver and Barnes for ensuring a safe, smooth journey!

The party eventually reached the StayOkay Hostel in Dordrecht in the late afternoon. And after the coach was unloaded, rooms assigned and bags unpacked, they enjoyed their evening meal, which was accompanied by some suitable refreshments for the management team, and a relaxing night.

Day Two - Sunday 14th April

Following a stroll in the grounds of the hostel and breakfast, the party headed just outside the Hague to the home of Sportclub Monster for the first set of matches of the tour. At stake was the Smedley Shield, which Bassett and Monster have played for since first meeting in 2016.

And for the fourth year running, the trophy remains with SC Monster, though all three games were closely fought affairs. The Under 14s were the only victorious Bassett side, triumphing 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Charlie Stammers. The Under 12s drew 0-0, though lost on penalties, while the Under 13s were narrowly seen off 2-0 in another very even contest. All three games were played in a competitive, fair spirit.

Results vs SC Monster

Under 12s: Drew 0-0, lost on penalties (Player of the match: Joshua Sturmey)
Under 13s: Lost 0-2 (Players of the match: Nalani Hunt and Reuben Badman)
Under 14s: Won 1-0 (Player of the match: Joe Rouse)

Afterwards the teams congregated in Monster's clubhouse, where the hosts were presented with the Smedley Shield and lunch consumed.

Huge thanks go to SC Monster for their, as ever, superb, generous hospitality!

It was then on to Rotterdam to take in the Eerste Divisie fixture between promotion chasing Sparta Rotterdam and TOP Oss at the former's iconic Het Kasteel stadium.

The hosts went into the game in second place as they fight for a return to the top flight. But any hopes they had of keeping on the tails of leaders FC Twente were dashed as TOP Oss recorded an impressive 4-1 victory. Sparta went ahead in the seventh minute through Deroy Duarte before Hennos Asmelash equalised for the visitors on twenty minutes. Using the counter attack to great effect, TOP Oss scored three times in twelve minutes late on to seal the win. Bryan Smeets put them ahead in the 72nd minute and Huseyin Dogan then added a brace.

While Sparta will be disappointed with the result, they can take some solace from the fact their club shop did a roaring trade thanks to Bassett, no doubt helping boost the club's budget for next season! Camouflage caps boasting the Sparta crest proved to be an exceptionally popular item.

After the match, the tour party returned to the hostel for their evening meal and a relaxing evening.

Day Three - Monday 15th April

Following breakfast, the tour party made an early departure west in the direction of the Hague where they visited ADO Den Haag's modern Cars Jeans Stadion. There they enjoyed an insightful tour of the 15,000 capacity facility, which opened in 2007, covering the players' tunnel, sponsor lounges, press room and ADO's museum.

After the traditional Cake Break outside the ground, they then visited Scheveningen to enjoy lunch and relax on the beach. Thankfully the sun was shining, and some of the players took the time to play some beach football.

It was then on to the Juliana Sportpark, home of sister club FC 's-Gravenzande, for the second set of games on the tour - with the Friendship Trophy on the line.

After a clean sweep last season, Bassett were looking to retain the trophy for a third year in a row. However, their hosts came out on top in two of three games to claim the prize.

As was the case against SC Monster, the games were again very competitive, though this time there were plenty of goals too. Having suffered defeat in their opening fixture, the Under 13s bounced back with a 4-1 victory courtesy of a Patrick Otoo-Mensah hat-trick and further strike from Lewis Taylor. Ed Greenouff, scoring with a sublime long distance strike, and Luke Boles found the net for the Under 12s in their game, but those goals were not enough to prevent a 5-2 defeat. Meanwhile, the Under 14s fell 4-2, scoring through Charlie Hudson and Tom Warren.

Results vs FC 's-Gravenzande

Under 12s: Lost 2-5 (Player of the match: Ed Greenough)
Under 13s: Won 4-1 (Players of the match: Patrick Otoo-Mensah and Ellie O'Nions)
Under 14s: Lost 2-4 (Player of the match: Sam Hulbert)

After the game, the teams from both sides gathered in FC 's-Gravenzande's clubhouse where the trophy was presented to the Dutch club before Bassett enjoyed a meal and social evening with their excellent hosts.

Day Four - Tuesday 16th April

After another early start for breakfast, the teams gathered in the hostel dining room for Player of the Match award presentations for the opening two games of the tour. The players were then divided into mixed age group teams for a quiz, led by the dynamic duo of quizmasters, Derek Edgington and Nick Warren. As has become tradition, rounds included the managers having to perform charades representing sports, music and films. The players certainly enjoyed their creative, at times absurd efforts!

The tour party then made the short journey to FC Dordrecht's Riwal Hoogwerkers Stadion where they enjoyed a superb lunch provided by the team at the club's Brasserie De Schaapskooi restaurant.

This was followed by a real treat organised with the help of Peter Nolet, Operations Director at FC Dordrecht. He arranged for the group to meet with the Eerste Divisie side's head coach Claudio Braga. The Portuguese Braga, who spent a year in charge of FC 's-Gravenzande in 2015 and has managed in the Portuguese top flight with Vitoria and CS Maritimo, gave an engaging talk regarding his tactical approach and playing philosophy, allowing the players to gain insight from a coach working at the cutting edge of professional football.

Finally, it was onto EBOH for the last game of the tour. And Bassett completed a clean sweep, recording three convincing victories.

The Under 12s were the biggest winners, seeing off their opponents 13-0. Caden Jefferies led the way with four goals, while Thomas Nicholls netted a hat trick. Sam Smith struck twice, with a goal apiece for Ed Greenouff, Matthew Jones, Cameron Iles and Finlay Hyde completing the scoring.

Also keeping a clean sheet were the Under 14s, who triumphed 4-0. On target were Michael Clifton (2), Charlie Hudson and Jacob Rendall-Haines. Meanwhile the Under 13s won their second game of the trip 5-1. Patrick Otoo-Mensah scored his fourth and fifth goals of the tour, with Seiji Pearson, Jack Rae and Lewis Taylor netting too.

Results vs EBOH

Under 12s: Won 13-0 (Player of the match: Caden Jefferies)
Under 13s: Won 5-1 (Players of the match: Toby Tew and Joshua Moore)
Under 14s: Won 4-0 (Player of the match: Michael Clifton)

On returning to the hostel, final presentations were held. Player of the Match prizes were presented for the final game before it was onto the end of tour awards.

Award winners were:

Under 12s Player of the Tour: Matthew Jones
Under 13s Player of the Tour: Seiji Pearson
Under 14s Player of the Tour: Michael Clifton
Overall Tour Award: Alana and Nalani Hunt

The prestigious Overall Tour Award, determined by the main organisers Pete Yeardley and Nigel Deane was presented jointly to twins Alana and Nalani Hunt.

Commenting on the winners, Pete Yeardley said: "Alana and Nalani were positive on and off the pitch - brave, engaging and showing a never-say-die attitude when playing, they were also supportive to their peers and teammates alike. In all my tours - and it's a lot - they are the most talented, tactically aware players we have brought over. In the words of Nigel - 'I would pay to watch them play'. They are worthy joint-winners of the award."

Day Five - Wednesday 17th April

The final day of the trip started with an earlier breakfast to allow for a prompt start to the journey home. As was the case on the way over, the trip back to Bassett was a straightforward, smooth one and the coach arrived back at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground at shortly after 5pm to bring to an end another successful trip to Holland.

A message from the organisers

We'd like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the parents for funding the trip - particular mention goes to those involved in arranging the fundraising events throughout the year, the host clubs and staff at the Stayokay Hostel in Dordrecht for once again providing such excellent hospitality, Barnes Coaches and Dan the driver for ensuring we travelled in comfort and style throughout the trip, as well as all the coaches and assistants who gave up their free time in order to travel to Holland.

Above all though, we would like to thank the players, who represented their club and families magnificently on and off the pitch!

- Pete Yeardley and Nigel Deane

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