Sunday – day three of the Valencia trip started with a debate about who really won the “Password” game. Who knew an alpaca was a llama and there was an alternative way to describe what a package is. Fortunately, an excellent cooked breakfast eased tensions amongst staff and “croissant pickers” went into over drive, hot dog sausages and bacon lingered for seconds on plates and everybody swerved the kippers.
Today was an opportunity for each team to put their training and lessons learned from playing yesterday’s opponents into practice. With a family feud brewing between the Turleys, as both players were up for the top goal scorer on tour, it was going to be an eventful day all round. With UEFA finally reviewing goal-line technology overnight, Isabella’s penalty was given, ensuring both had scored a hat trick in the first games. A unique achievement for both players and Bridgewater on their first tour on foreign soil.
The first task was to assess the injuries from day one… Matthew’s black eye was being worn proudly, Freya had miraculously recovered from her ‘broken wrist’, and Ethan, Oliver and a host of others looked much better for a full night’s sleep. That was until Freya hurt her wrist again in the warm up, all of which meant a trip to Valencia CF medical centre was back on the itinerary.
The undefeated U10s team took to the field first to take on a strong opponent in Ciudad de Xativa. The team were in confident mood after a commanding win over CD Onda and this showed in the early exchanges of the game. Harper and Matteo were busy in defence, whilst Alfie, Craig and Jaydon patrolled the midfield. Josh was a constant threat up front with his quick feet and energetic pressing and the game was in the balance for long periods. Eventually, the more experienced Spanish side took advantage of the heat and ran out 3-1 winners. Two moments of the game were Alfie’s screamer from 30 yards out and although he did not make the save, Luca C’s incredible acrobatic leap in the first half.
The U12s were hoping for an easier opponent this time round and were certainly more up for the game. Unfortunately, two of the opposition players were being scouted by Valencia CF and were out to impress. Despite a six goal loss, this time Bridgewater could take real pride in their performance. Archie impressed the watching coaches, whilst Harrison continued his great form with another intelligent display. Daniel covered every inch of the pitch and Oliver A looked more assured in goal. With new boys Alfie FL, Alfie P and Reis also providing more energy and quality, the future looks bright for the team.
The final game of the day was between Bridgewater girls team and L’Elaina. With Freya being unable to play, the goalkeeper crisis was eased by the opposition loaning us their spare keeper. This proved to be a great loan deal as the keeper was to be the busiest player on the pitch. With time running out and the hosts up by seven goals, the moment the vociferous watching BWS fans were waiting for, finally arrived. Picking up the ball on the half way line, Holly ran through the middle of the defence as it parted like Moses and the Red Sea. With only the advancing keeper to beat, Holly slipped the ball into the bottom corner of the net and sent the BWS Barmy Army into raptures. The good humour of the support impressed the locals and although not quite up to “Allez Allez Allez” or “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the chants of “Bridgewater Have a Spanish Goalkeeper” will live long in the memory. There was just enough time for a stop to shake hands with Spanish Internationals Rodrigo and Gameiro, before heading back to the hotel.
After a quick lunch, another three course meal (!), we headed off to the La Liga game – Villarreal v Valioidad. With the 27,000 home crowd primed to support the “yellow submarines” we were all hoping for a goal fest. Unfortunately, the searing heat took its toll on both teams and chances were as rare as seeing a polar bear wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses walking down Worsley Road! We did see VAR brought into action and after a 20 minute deliberation(?), a penalty was awarded…. and missed! Everyone agreed, Isabella struck a far better penalty. The final whistle went and the submarines had been sunk 1-0.
A harmonious rendition of that all time classic, “Baby Shark” rang out on the journey back to the hotel. Another action packed day concluded with a sumptuous meal and the call for lights out and bed…. until a surprise visit from Barcelona Ladies team who stopped to eat in the hotel restaurant. Much to the disappointment of the boys, our rep Luis arranged for our girls to have photographs and get autographs.
Tomorrow we go to the Mestella Stadium for a tour and a visit to the shop and a chance to spend some money on souvenirs of a fabulous trip.