What a fantastic morning and it was only 8.15 am as I began to write these notes.
I woke up at 6.30 with the sun shining through as I drew back the curtains heralding the start of a brand new day, with the disappointment of the previous evening firmly behind me. Such a morning provides for me, personally, a real positive feel with the anticipation for whatever may lie ahead.
I’m sure countless thousands of England fans will be waking up this morning totally crestfallen and thinking what may have been with the realisation that its not “coming home”. But I believe we should celebrate achievement and use the experience gained in our endeavours allied to the lessons learnt from our victors success, to further progress towards our ultimate goals and not get immersed in the negativity of disappointment.
As you will know from yesterday’s blog, everybody met in Reception at 7.30am when Dean told everybody that they will be going on a run whilst a few staff members and a couple of players took to bikes, for the thirty minute exercise. To my surprise, and obvious momentary disappointment, I was not included amongst the numbers and therefore had to sit in the Reception area with a cup of latte until they all returned!
Upon their return they were all directed towards the outdoor pool area where they could settle down and cool off following their exertions. Then prior to heading off for breakfast Dean addressed everybody. Now I won’t divulge the content of what he had to say as it was for those present alone. But what I can say, without wishing to be patronising, is that I, and I hope and trust everybody else in attendance, found his words inspirational, and if taken on board could prove to be the catalyst for a very exciting season ahead. He was also very complimentary in respect of the players attitude and work ethic during this training camp...which I can only endorse 100%.
Following breakfast there was the regular medical prep before we all made our way over to the training ground by 11am. I’ve been put in charge of the golf buggy which helps move equipment from the hotel or training ground store to pitch-side. I’ve also become an Uber Buggy driver as many of the players tend to time their run to depart for training or return to the hotel after training at the same time that I’m in the vicinity equipment or passenger-less.
Following warm up, training today consisted of set pieces, sessions on possession, breakthrough and 6x6 games. This lasted approximately one hour and forty minutes before it was time for lunch.
Following post-lunch down time, it was back to the training ground for another in the Bavarian Challenge series, this time head tennis. There was a players knock out tournament and a similar one for the staff, with the overall points being amalgamated to determine 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last.
The games were very keenly contested by players and staff alike, with many a point challenged by both sides. I, along with a couple of others, took it upon myself to referee, but in the absence of a referee’s high chair ala Wimbledon, it was difficult to adjudicate line calls etc, particularly as the lines were indicated by erratically placed cones. I now have every sympathy with the umpires at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships whilst I also know why I stay in the office most of the time at Jersey Road so as not to incur the wrath of the players if a training decision goes against them....not that I would be the one to intervene, nor would I want to be.
On combining the points won, the overall winning team was Benhamdor who pipped Crownclaw to the victors three points in the Challenge. I have to say though it was thoroughly enjoyed by all regardless of the line disputes, and was played in glorious sunshine.
Then it was back to the hotel in time to prepare for dinner and another round of the Bavarian Challenge.
Tonight’s challenge was a written quiz on current news and sport. Phones were taboo with everyone warned re disqualification if either of the Adjudicators (Dean and myself) saw anyone using them. You may like to try the questions yourself (without cheating). I will give you the answers to the somewhat random questions tomorrow.
- What is the distance in kilometres from Munich to Grassau (our training ground/hotej)?
- How many goals were scored in the group stage of the current World Cup?
- Which teams provide us with home League games in August?
- How many children were trapped in the caves in Thailand?
- Which player scored the first goal against England in this year’s World Cup Finals?
- Who was the last English singles player in this year’s Wimbledon Championships?
- How many countries border Germany and name them?
- What is the first name of President Trump’s wife?
- Name two of the four players to score against Germany in the current World Cup Finals?
- Who do we play on Boxing Day this year, and is it home or away?
- Who is the third Men’s seed at Wimbledon this year?
I will also let you know tomorrow which team won the Quiz.
The losers of the Challenge have to treat the winning team, and of course the two Adjudicators, to access to the Premier Lounge at Munich Airport prior to our flight home on Saturday night.