Leighanne Ball, the club's media officer, brings you the lowdown on day six in Tenerife...
Today was our last full day in Tenerife, with the squad set to fly home tomorrow evening, and it brought about a fiercely contested in-house 90 minute match.
The Gaffer wanted the game to be as professional as possible and called in a local referee and two linesmen to officiate the fixture.
The morning session, which started at 9am, centred around the match prep for the game, which was due to take place in the evening. First things first, the players were split into two equal groups, with the squad effectively halved in two so each player could play in their respective position and get as many minutes as possible under their belts.
The Gaffer took charge of one team, while Beechy was in charge of the other, and they both took it very seriously, which will probably come as no surprise. Beechy stayed on the top pitch with his players, while the Gaffer went off to work with his on the bottom pitch.
I spent the session with Beechy, who, amongst other things, was working on finishing with his group. There were some cracking goals and saves! You can watch the footage on iFollow freeview.
Kick-off was at 6pm. The game was scheduled for an hour later than we’d normally train in a bid to try and avoid the intensity of the afternoon heat, but today was the hottest it’s been, with the temperatures having soared to a scorching 32-degrees when they kicked-off, so I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate how gruelling the game was for them.
Now I know I’m Scottish and some people may struggle to understand me, but I had a right laugh when BBM thought I was off out for a beer at the start of the match. After wandering down from my outdoor office which overlooks the pitches, I had nodded and said hi to Bri as I tried to maneuver round the sprinklers. With no luck and the prospect of getting soaked very likely, I called over and asked if ‘there was another way up here’ as the pitch is raised. With no answer, I had a look around for another entrance and spotted one. Now you know what it’s like, Chinese whispers spread like wildfire, and before I even had the chance to walk 100-yards, Beechy had run over to ask if I could pick him up an orange fanta and bring it back to pitchside after I’d had my beer. Totally confused and bewildered, I stared blankly at him for a few seconds until I realised what had happened. I can confirm that no beers were consumed this evening, or on any other night of the camp, in fact. An orange fanta wasn’t consumed either as there was no way I was walking all the way back up to the top of the complex in that heat.
As with a normal fixture, we played 45-minutes each half, allowing all first team players to get a valuable 90 minutes in the bank. And importantly, I’m pleased to say that everyone came through unscathed.
The players looked sharp and it was a very, very competitive fixture – fiercely contested, as I said earlier. The Gaffer had wanted the players to take the game seriously and they did that. It’s clear they’ve come back for the new season in good shape and hungry to push on for the start of the 2017-18 campaign. The match was played at a high intensity throughout, with some real grit and determination.
The best chance of the match fell for Callum Camps in the second half when he played a one-two with Steven Davies, but out came the goalkeeper to deny Callum with his legs. It was such a great save that it got a round of applause from the side lines.
The two well-organised sides cancelled each other out and the game finished 0-0, but there were some unbelievable passages of play and the players worked extremely hard. They definitely put a shift in and went straight to the large ice bucket at the side of the pitch to dunk their heads into at the full time whistle.
Jack, who hadn’t accepted a lift all week, bless him, decided to jump in Russ’ car this evening with it being a later finish. Jump being the operative word. Now, I have no idea how this happened, but rather than gracefully getting in, he seemed to throw himself up into the car and not only did the black bumper which runs along the side of the car make a crunching sound as if it was coming away from the car, he rattled his head off the door frame with an almighty smash. I know we shouldn’t have laughed but the comedy value of it all had the tears running down my face. He swears he’s going to end up with concussion.
There are some tired bodies tonight – as I walked past the physio room after tea, which was obviously a lot later than normal, some were getting their feet looked at, while others required some ice or a rub down. I image an early night was on the cards for them after this evening’s exploits.
I retired to my room to transcribe a section of Steven Davies’ interview that I had carried out earlier today (he’s now in his 16th pre-season! ) and finish this diary, while having a look through the photographs from today. I must admit, that I’ve enjoyed snapping this year’s trip. Now, I’m no Dan Youngs or Stuart Ashworth, but I feel as though the pictures have helped bring the trip to life, if you like, and I’ve got a few favourites.
We now have just one session left before we head back to Rochdale. With the flight early on Thursday evening, there’s time to squeeze in one more session – the lads are set to report to the T3 for the usual time in the morning.