No Monday Morning Blues In Valencia

 

Whilst everyone was waking up to another day of school, the players on the Valencia trip were being educated in a different way. With a lie in guaranteed as training was later, everyone woke up feeling refreshed and ready for another day of activity and excitement. Well nearly everyone… Hewitt and Armstrong continued to eke out every extra second in bed, as did Molly, Jasmine and Allegra. In all fairness, both teachers had suffered a blow in the ‘Password’ competition and needed to recover their composure. Every credit must go to Mrs Suter, who has forsaken a night out with her better half on her anniversary today. Happy Anniversary to you both from us all in Valencia.

After the noise of knives and forks, spoons and croissant pickers had died down, the well fed youngsters prepared to go to the first training session of the day. With a specialist goalkeeping clinic available, we suddenly found we had more potential goalkeepers on the tour than anticipated. Kian, George, Emily and Emma were joined by Tom, Harrison and Alfie who had bought gloves from the Valencia shop. On the other three pitches, the Valencia coaches put the teams through some attacking and defending drills. Supplemented with small sided games to emphasise the power of a quick counter attack and the use of width, we hope the players will be able to put these skills and concepts into their game play. Meanwhile, Mrs Hewitt was giving Miss Armstrong and in fact, us all a lesson in how to take a penalty with power and precision past the surprisingly agile Mr Suter. Although the “panenka” from Mr Altdorf left even the Valencia coaches applauding!

With the rolls of thunder in the distance, the teams completed training and returned to the hotel for lunch. With a room inspection due at 12.45pm, many returned to rooms in a mild state of panic. Hopefully, as well as developing football skills, making new friends, experiencing a different culture, managing time and money, each player will also come back and tidy their rooms to a new level…. or maybe not! Having said that, Nyla, Emma and Juliette could set up a cleaning company as their room was immaculate. Well done girls!

Following a sumptuous lunch to carbo load our young athletes, we had some free time before the afternoon training session. The variety and quality of the food on offer was amazing and all filled up like a camel before a trek across the desert. Meat, fish, pasta , paella, fruit, cakes and various types of pastries were consumed once more. Thomas and David received a bonus ice cream from the waiters, as they had remained behind to help tidy up the tables.  Well done boys! Fortunately, the threat of thunder did not last long and the sun bursting through the clouds like Mo Salah through the United defence (hopefully!!). The troop set up camp on the roof top terrace for some relaxation and a splash in the pool.

At 4pm we returned for the second training session at Paterna. Each Bridgewater team had 30 minutes with each of the three Valencia coaches. The best session was the 1v1 with a 2v1 fast break. Alfie D got booked for a blatant dive when clean through, whilst Sabri turned his man, shot and scored… in his own goal? Nyla hunted down Allegra and Evie like Fernandinho with a ponytail. Jaydon was turned inside out and upside down by the impressive David and Evie O and Evie B tag teamed Molly to deny her a certain goal.  Dravid continued his fine run of goal scoring form by nutmegging Alfie T in goal.  The icing on the cake was a chance to watch the U17 Valencia team in training close up. The team put on a bit of a show and we all marvelled at how hard each player struck the ball, found space, passed and moved, whilst their first touch and control was sublime. No player took more than three touches and almost every time, the player picked his pass out before the ball got to him. With six Spanish U17 internationals and the Dutch U17 goalkeeper on show, it really was a privilege to see the stars of tomorrow in action today.

On our return to the hotel, some showered, some chilled out and some hit the roof top pool as the sunset in the distance for another bout of synchronised bombing. With the evening meal ensuring energy levels were restored, the evening activity was the much anticipated return of the mobile phone. A chance to phone home, play on games, catch up on streets and feel the precious device in hands once more, was the perfect way to end another amazing day. Goodnight from Valencia.

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“Dravid’s On Fire, Your Defence Is Terrified!”

With the dynamic duo getting a bit more sleep and a bit of a lie in this morning, things looked a lot brighter all round as dawn broke in Paterna. Mr Altdorf woke to the chorus of the Suter snoring, whilst trying to wake the children up was more like the Waking Dead than Good Morning Vietnam! On a side note, the award for the most untidy room is currently being won by a Cornish mile by Anton, Alex and Kian, with floor space at a premium amongst the debris. Another hearty breakfast was gratefully received by staff and players alike, with copious amounts of coco pops, croissants, bacon and juices being consumed. The teams were going to need as much fuel on board as possible as they headed for the Valencia Academy to face the first of their Spanish opponents on the tour.

The U11 boys and the U10 girls were both in action simultaneously. The boys faced local giants CF Benafaio, whilst the girls took on the mighty Athletico Lliria. The clue was in the name for the Spanish girls’ team, who ran like lions, chasing down the gazelles of Bridgewater. It was always going to be a tough ask to get something out of the game, as the team had never played together before and some were playing in their first competitive match ever.  Nevertheless, the girls grew stronger as the game wore on and produced some magical moments that will live long in the memory of those present.

Taking inspiration from the crowd cheering on the adjacent pitch as Valencia Ladies took on Real Madrid Ladies, Bridgewater earned some applause of their own. Juliette had the first shot of the match on target but it was comfortably saved. Athletico hit back instantly and went 3-0 up, despite the efforts of Emma in goal and Molly at the back. Ellen pulled a goal back, before the opposition extended their lead after the water break. With the score 5-1 in favour of the Spanish, the management team of Suter, Armstrong and Hewitt went to work in the half time team talk. Whatever was said did the trick, as Bridgewater sensationally won the second half 2-1. Ellen completed a brilliant hat trick to earn an ice cream from the SAH and everyone can take huge credit despite the 7-3 loss. A special mention must go to Nyla (who hasn’t stopped smiling since she got here), and Abigail who both ran tirelessly throughout the game and kept Bridgewater well and truly in the game at all times.

The U11 team were involved in a barnstormer of a game against CF Benafaio. The first half passed without any major incident, although David went close twice and Toby should have connected with a Jaydon cross to open the scoring. George made an early save at the start of the second half, before Bridgewater finally broke the deadlock. A crazy ten minute spell saw Bridgewater race into a 3-0 lead with goals from David, Freddie and Oliver. However, the Spanish side refused to lie down and hit back with two goals of their own. In the end, a crucial miss on the far post with the last touch of the game, gave Bridgewater a fabulous 3-2 win. Special mentions must go to Thomas in defence, Harper in midfield and Harrison on the wing, who was a constant menace to the opposition back line. Man of the match went to Craig, who was absolutely incredible at the back and had one of the best games he has ever played for Bridgewater.

The U10 team completed the morning games with a domineering performance over the U10 Benafaio team. Bridgewater dominated the game from start to finish and were clearly a stronger unit. This ensured every one of the squad got lots of playing time and plenty of the ball for the stronger players. Players were also put into different positions to experience another side to the game. Bridgewater raced into an early lead with goals from Josh (2), Alfie and Tommy. Then it happened. The moment of the tour and the moment we had all been hoping for. Josh broke three tackles and drove into the area. With his hat trick in sight, he unselfishly slipped the ball to Dravid. The keeper raced out at Dravid’s feet, only for him to coolly lift the ball over his head and into the bottom corner. The crowd erupted and the chants of “Dravid’s on fire” echoed around the stadium.

The match finished 7-3 to Bridgewater, with further goals from Alex and Josh, completing the latter’s hat trick. Harrison, Joel, Sabri and Frankie all went close to adding to the total, whilst Tom and keeper Kian were secure at the back. A great morning of football and after lunch, the jubilant teams headed to the beach.

The beach is always a major attraction on the Valencia football tour, and once more it proved to be a hit. Leah and Anna declared it to be the “best thing ever” as they jumped over the waves, and Alfie D stated that “this is the best trip I have been on”. For almost two hours most of the group played rugby/netball in the sea and surfed the waves. Others ate ice cream and Nutella toasties, or basked in the glorious Spanish sunshine. Luis, our rep from last year, surprised us all with a visit and all in all it was a delightful day.

The icing on the cake was on our return to the hotel and our evening meal. A rendition of ‘Happy Birthday” rang out, as Hari topped an eventful trip with a delicious cake. With an hour to phone home and reacquaint with mobile phones, eventually we all trooped off to bed to dream about scoring goals, riding waves and having fun with friends.

Goodnight from Valencia.

 

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Amunt Valencia!

 

The day dawned bright and early for our footballers after a full and relaxing night’s sleep.  The excitement of our arrival and finding out our roommates last night was too much for some, and our hotel quickly succumbed to the sound of gentle snoring through the night, not all of it Mr. Altdorf’s.

A hearty breakfast, a quick inspirational team talk from Mr. Altdorf, and then it was off to the training facilities to meet our coaches for the week.  There was excited chatter as those who came last year began to recognise familiar features on the walk to the complex, especially the lamppost Luca C had walked into last year.  No one repeated the feat, but the week is but young and we have high hopes.

Our coaches were eagerly awaiting us at the complex and before any training, they took us on a brief tour of the facilities.  We got a behind the scenes look at the first team media centre, and the pitch/stadium where the first team train.  Then it was on to our own training sessions: mixed up in our three teams, each team worked with one of the coaches on a variety of drills, designed to get the players passing and moving with confidence.  Our players responded to the coaching, and it was good to see them getting stuck in with gusto.  Our only major injury was Frankie on the way back to the hotel, who managed to avoid the lamppost but tripped over his own laces and grazed his knee.

Back at the hotel, there was a bit of downtime before lunch, and so for many it the first opportunity to sample the delights of the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool.  Which was brave on two accounts: the bracing temperature, and the delightful hotel issued swimming caps the swimmers had to wear.

Lunch – “Are they worms?” enquired Sabri of the macaroni dish on offer (for the record, it was actually a delicious seafood pasta – Mrs. Hewitt had three plates) – and then the feeding frenzy of the visit to the local supermarket.  The world’s grumpiest checkout assistant, who we met last year, fortunately was not there but some rather friendlier incantations – which was just as well as, closing early due to Spanish National Day, we did push their tolerance a bit by inundating them with forty eager to spend children twenty minutes before closing time.  If the Japanese typhoon were to hit here, we’d have enough supplies to last several days at least.

And then to the Mestalla stadium for a tour.  We learned why the club badge is a bat and why their colours are orange and black, got to sing “We are the champions” from the main balcony (there were no takers for Mr. Altdorf’s “We’ve won it six times” nor Miss Armstrong’s “Blue Moon”) and went pitchside for team photos.  As we left the pitch and Allegra had to go back for her hat, Mr. Suter snuck in a quick rendition of “Marching On Together” that reverberated around the proud – empty – stadium.

Next on the agenda was the club shop: oh did the sales staff smile when they saw us coming!  A plethora of all things Valencian have been bought, so watch out for those we the children get home.  We hope they fit!  Slightly unusually in the Valencia club shop we met the only other Leeds United fan in Spain – he and Mr. Suter had an animated discussion about Leeds’ chances of missing out on promotion again this year.  There is a Valencia connection: both clubs are celebrating their centenary this year.

Dinner this evening was in Heron City – last year a pleasant, quiet stroll through this area; tonight, a Saturday on Spanish National Day, somewhat busier.  Dinner was very favourably received – lots of clean empty plates – and surprisingly a Spanish family came into the restaurant with children noisier than ours!  Jasmine was somewhat surprised when the whole restaurant joined in to sing happy birthday to her as the waiters brought out a surprise birthday cake, but the verdict was that it was delicious!

On to Laser Quest.  Kian was somewhat confused by the whole concept – “Do we use real bullets?” while Alexander avoided the ‘no running’ rule by running straight into one of the barricades!  Jaydon and Harrison A proved to be top marksmen of the night, so don’t upset them when we’re back at school.

A busy day, a slightly later night, lots of tired children and, as Zebedee would say, “it’s time for bed.”

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Mixing it up in Prep V

Prep V worked hard to separate some of the solutions and mixtures they made using water. They used sieves, filters and evaporation in order to separate a variety of mixtures including salt, sugar, marbles and sand. Can you make some solutions and mixtures at home? Find things to mix with water and see what happens. After that, challenge yourself to separate them again! Can it be done? Let Miss Gill know your findings.

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Slugs!

 

Prep IV had a slug-tastic time observing slugs as part of their study of ‘Living Things’. They are much more fascinating than you might imagine. Ask Prep IV to tell you something they discovered about slugs

 

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Infinity and Beyond for the Infant FC at MCFC!

The Prep II football team were champing at the bit to arrive at Man City and show everyone what they could do. This was particularly true of Oscar who asked if ‘we were there yet,’ at the Worsley Road roundabout! The flood at the roundabout made us hope and pray that we would be playing inside rather than in the Typhoon like conditions.

 

After several visits to the loo we could finally start our first game v Wilmslow. This match would have been billed as a ‘no contest’ in a boxing ring with Wilmslow fielding a team of children who had obviously never played football before. The score was well in to double figures when Mr Rooney had to encourage his team to sit back a little and allow the opposition a kick of the ball. Our second game was against Wilmslow B team so Mr Rooney feared that his team would not have a decent game of football to display their undoubted skills properly. Thankfully the second Wilmslow team were a little better and BWS won 10-0.

 

Bridgewater’s need for quality opposition was certainly satisfied when Lady Barn School lined up in their yellow strip looking determined and ready for the big match. Lady Barn had an impressive right winger who was able to cajole the Bridgewater defenders over to his wing several times creating space for his Lady Barn team mates. The trap was set and despite constant pressure from the Bridgewater team Lady Barn scored after a break down their right wing. Bridgewater worked even harder and threw everything at the resolute Lady Barn defence. Unfortunately a defensive error allowed Lady Barn to score again leading to a 2 nil defeat.

 

Bridgewater had lots of energy left and were certainly not subdued by their defeat. St Ambrose School were our next opponents. Our tactics of passing and moving in to space finally paid dividends with Samuel starring on the right wing and Henry weaving his magic on the left. The match was certainly one sided with Bridgewater finally winning 4 – 0.

 

Rydal Penrhos had travelled from Llandudno to play in the tournament but after some hefty but fair challenges from Jazz and Jacob and whirlwind attacking from Mason Bridgewater won convincingly by several goals to 1. Special mention must go to Christian Hook who was our only Prep 1 player. He starred in this game and certainly looked the part on this difficult stage.

 

Finally we played Stockport Grammar who were brushed aside by some outstanding play by the whole team and in particular Oliver who performed an outstanding drag back and pass and Oscar who worked feverishly throughout the tournament.

 

A well-deserved unofficial second place for Bridgewater with some performances that made the on looking City scouts sit up and take note!

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Valencia Here We Come!

It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since Bridgewater Prep made its first sporting venture into Europe. Today 40 boys and girls aged 9-12 years left school to travel to Spain for six days and five nights. Dressed in matching hoodies that would not have been out of place in Hogwarts, the group boarded the coach and headed for Terminal 3 for their flight to Valencia. The first major disaster was averted as Mr Altdorf raced back to the departing coach to collect his phone! The second was a piece of luggage weighing in at nearly 17kg! Fortunately, Freddie had packed like an SAS expert and this helped to balance out the difference and a hefty fine.

There was a mixture of admiration, pity and confusion on the faces of many of our fellow travellers. Many were surprised to hear we were off on a football tour, rather than a Harry Potter convention. As we prepared to go through passport control and onto Platform 9 and three quarters, one admiring onlooker stated, “I don’t know how much they are paying you – but it’s not enough.”

A trip to that shopping metropolis, WH Smith’s, sent the excited pack into a frenzy. However, the groans of disappointment could be heard from afar, as KFC and Burger King were declared out of bounds. The girls went off to shop first… big mistake… thanks Mrs Hewitt and Miss Armstrong and sorry fellas! In fact they took so long that Mr Suter performed a quick version of Sleeping Beauty. Fully loaded with an assortment of crisps, drinks, sweets and chocolate, we boarded the plane, ready to attack the food trolley! Anton tucked into a bag of Doritos twice the size of him, Holly hit the heatwave flavour and Pringles were popping on every aisle.

With iPads playing films and games all around, the surprise question of the tour so far came from Harper, who asked could he read his book! Normal service was resumed two minutes later when the book was discarded in favour of a film. Craig and George were so enthralled by their game of FIFA, that they did not notice the steady stream of visitors to the main attraction on the plane… the toilet. Armed with the last of their allocated loot, the food trolley provided a distraction from electronic devices. One thing is certain, nobody will be going hungry on this trip!

At the end of the flight, Mr Suter was offered a job by the appreciative air attendants. Each aisle was presented with a plastic bag for rubbish, ensuring Mr Suter will always be welcome on a Ryan Air flight in the future. Not long after the plane erupted as Bridgewater showed their appreciation to the pilot for a perfect landing. A short coach journey later, led us to our home for the next six days – Hotel Mas Camerena.

The quietest the group have been all day was during the much anticipated room allocation. Mrs Hewitt who has given up get maternity leave to go on the trip was soon regretting it, as the noise of 40 children reminded her of what she had been missing.  Everyone appears to be happy which means staff are not going to get much sleep tonight! The evening meal was actually well received considering how much they had eaten all day. An hour to phone home, unpack and shower and lights out for 11pm. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day, with breakfast at 7.30am, training at 9am and a visit to the Mestalla Stadium in the afternoon. There was just time for one last quote of the day, as Jaydon asked where he could get tap water from?!  It’s going to be a long week!

 

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