Wimbledon trip proves to be a big hit with LGS pupils

On Monday 3rd July, 27 pupils arrived at George Best City airport at 5.30am buzzing about the Wimbledon 2017 school trip.  Mr. Rea, Mr. Snoddy and I distributed the passports to our groups and eagerly made our way through security to begin a fun filled and memorable two days. 

We arrived at The All England Lawn Tennis Club as planned at 10am after a 1 hour 30 minute coach drive to a cool, slightly cloudy morning, which later turned into a sunny and warm afternoon.  Once the thorough security checks were completed at entry, we made our way into the grounds which were utterly breath-taking.  The vast amount of people, cameras, cheers, food and drink stalls, ‘big screens’ and ‘Murray Mound’ were all on view; even better than expected!

After a couple of familiarisation loops around the grounds and refreshment stops, ‘Court 2’ was next on the agenda where we watched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FR) seeded 12 in the men’s draw, play the wild card Cameron Norrie (GBR), world ranking 221.  Tsonga’s serve proved too hot to handle for Norrie in the last two sets and the final score was 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Simona Halep (ROU), ladies number 2 seed, was next on court 2 who beat her opponent Marina Erakovic (NZ), with a world ranking of 129, 6-4, 6-1.  It admittedly took Halep a while to ‘find her rhythm’, but once she did she was unstoppable and made the underdog Erakovic work hard to return every shot.

Lunch time came around quickly which led to more choices… pizza, chips, sandwiches, strawberries and cream now or later?  Between our lunch time group meeting and the next, some very fortunate pupils managed to spot Novak Djokovic (2nd seed) who was happy to stop and have a ‘selfie’ with Anna Jackson.

The 3rd of four matches on court 2 saw the powerful, 6ft 6in Marin Cilic (CRO) 7th seed, beat Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) ranked 60, 6-4, 6-2,6-3.  Lastly, was the nail biting contest between Heather Watson (GBR), world ranking 112 and Maryna Zanevska, (BEL) ranked 119, where Watson blew three match points before taking a 6-1, 7-6 win in 90 minutes, to become the third British player into round two.

The group met again at 7.15pm to leave the grounds by 7.30pm.  After a short coach trip to our hotel, it was lights out by 10pm to ensure plenty of shut-eye before sitting down to a continental breakfast the following morning at 7.45am.

Our final day went to plan perfectly with a coach tour around London’s well known sights, and a visit to the London Designer Outlet and Wembley Stadium.  The weather was kind to us so we could freely enjoy the 5 minute amble between the two venues. 

We arrived at Southampton airport in plenty of time for the final leg of the trip – the 1 hour 15 minute flight back home.  A huge thank you goes to Mr. Rea for organising such a fabulous and enjoyable school trip; which no other school in Northern Ireland offers.  A special mention goes to the pupils whose behaviour, manners and punctuality were noted by the staff, the bus driver and tour guide.  Lastly, we thank Mr. Snoddy for all of his help on the trip and wish him a well-deserved, long and happy retirement; you will be missed by both staff and pupils greatly.  

Hope to see you next year Wimbledon!

Mrs M. Creighton

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