Over the 28th and 29th of December, the Rockingham District Hockey Club and the Rockingham Mandurah District Cricket Club both played host to a team of Under-15yo girls visiting from the SV Kampong club in the Netherlands. As part of an initiative called Road to Perth, the Dutch teenagers played teams from both clubs in cricket and hockey, as well as taking in some of the local sights. SV Kampong is one of the oldest and strongest clubs in Netherlands with 3000 players. It was a fantastic chance for the girls and the club to foster some international relations.
Road to Perth is designed to challenge Dutch girls to become dual champions in cricket and hockey, and to “discover their best”. As part of the transition from junior to senior hockey, they are also tasked with learning how to play cricket. In large part this is by transferring their existing hockey skills but also requires the acquisition of new skills. The programme links the girls’ game development in both sports to personal development, with the provision of top trainers and female role models, along with additional fundamentals such as injury prevention, conducting fundraising, travelling, and learning to face new environments.
The Road to Perth girls played four limited overs cricket games over the two days against the RMDCC Mariners before returning to their primary sport of hockey to take on an RDHC Redbacks U15 team on the turf. Whilst the home team fought hard, they were taken to a disappointing 6-0 loss by the visitors. After the match, the Dutch girls were presented with Redbacks caps as a memento of their visit, before both teams socialised over a barbeque dinner. The game was a good chance for the girls to start looking at their pre-season training.
The club is looking forward to being part of the 2015 Road to Perth, with a chance to make it more than a one-off game, perhaps making it more of a tournament style that includes some of the other clubs around the area, like Kwinana and Peel.