25th February 2006
Crystal Palace and Holland
A new venue for Winterguard was waiting for us at Crystal Palace Sports Centre on Sunday 12th February and with 3 coaches transporting the 4 Guards we set off for the next instalment of the 2006 season.
The Rugrats all looked a little anxious for this performance compared a couple of weeks earlier at Burgess Hill but were awarded with a solid 2nd Place (out of 4). The Juniors had added more to their show and put on a great performance also taking 2nd Place (out of 8) in their class - only missing the top spot by 0.8. The A Guard had really kicked into gear over the past week or so and performed a superb show taking 1st Place (out of 8) in their class by over 10 points. Finally the Open Guard, who had now added another set of flags to enhance their show further had continued to improve greatly and were our third 2nd Place (out of 6) of the day, once again closing the gap on the top spot.
Another successful day for SK.
There were 39 people at 5.45am on Friday 18th February in the cold school grounds of Blatchington Mill school waiting for our coach - which should have left at 5.30am!! A set of lost keys were the reason for delayed arrival but if this was worst that happened over the next three days then we would be happy.
After a 11 hour trip, including a stop to meet a Belgium Ronald MacDonald ;-), we arrived at our Hotel in Oosterwolde in the north of Holland and took over nearly three quarters of the rooms. A three course meal laid on by the hotel was very well received and the evening gave us time to relax, even though a few did disappear into the nearby hostelry - much to the excitement of some of the locals.
Saturday morning we set off for the 30 minute trip to Drachten. An hour and half later we arrived - after seeing most of the local area and driving over a 10 tonne max load bridge in a 14 tonne coach!! Both Guards prepared for their Prelims shows and whilst the performances were slighted "jaded" the A Guard were comfortably in 3rd Place (out of 16) and the Open Guard were sitting in 4th (out of 9) but only ½ a point behind the joint 2nd Places.
During the 2 hour break before Finals we made our way into the town centre for dinner. Once back at the venue both Guards looked fresher and ready for the challenge of improving on their earlier performances. The A Guard had, without doubt their best showing of the year improving on their score and staying firmly in 3rd Place (out of the 9 that moved forward from Prelims) behind two Dutch units. The Open Guard raised their game in the Finals and jumped up two places to take 2nd Place (out of the 7) being beaten by a strong Dutch Guard. It was gone 11pm by the time we got back to the Hotel but drink and sandwiches provided by the Hotel helped finish another great day.
The following morning we all slowly rose out of our beds and were on the road by 10am for the long drive back home. A couple of hours in Gent, Belgium plus a flying visit to a Hypermarket helped break up the trip and we arrived back home at the school at 9.30pm.
We hope everyone enjoyed the trip which saw us come away as the top UK organisation in both the classes we entered plus gave us the opportunity to see two of the best Guards in world who had travelled to the event from the USA.
Two more shows under our belts and all 4 Guards are well up the rankings. A couple of weeks break and then all 4 Guards will be back at our second "home" show at Burgess Hill on 12th March.