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AFC Bournemouth: Tommy Elphick's Tour Diary - Day Three
“We found out the management staff had all got into the Wimbledon spirit last night and had a game of tennis. It was doubles with the gaffer and Neil Moss against Jason Tindall and Simon Weatherstone (Tinners). The gaffer and Mossy eased into a two-set lead before some heroics from Jason and Tinners saw them pull it back to 2-2. But just as it was about to reach a thrilling end, Jason suffered a hamstring injury and the match had to be abandoned. He was having some intensive treatment today.
“We had been expecting one of the new lads (Dan Gosling, Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson) to do their initiation after dinner last night. We put a couple of songs to them but they were all a bit shy and none of them would get up and sing. However, we found out today that their shyness was all a show and all will be revealed later in the diary – in more ways than one!
“After dinner, we sat down to watch the World Cup and were amazed to find out that Liechtenstein had all of a sudden become part of Germany, or so Benji Buchel tried to claim. To say Manuel Neuer is Benji’s hero would be an understatement. Benji had a German flag draped over him and was wearing his Neuer shirt underneath his tracksuit. He was on cloud nine after he had finally had to make a couple of saves in the second half. I can’t imagine what he would be like if Liechtenstein ever reached the World Cup final.
“We had a good night’s sleep in our room and Smudger slept like a top. I think he is getting used to being away from his mum and dad but I am keeping a watchful eye on him.
“The gaffer sprung a surprise and told us we had to be ready at seven o’clock for an early-morning bike ride. Although we were tired, this was the Tour de Austria we had all been waiting for. Everybody was geed up for it and Steve Hard had planned a safe route after what had happened yesterday when we found ourselves on a dual carriageway.
“Steve set off in front and led the way because nobody knew where we were going in the first half of the race until it was time to turn around and come back. Steve did all the donkey work in front and the lads had a cosy time in his slipstream. I don’t think Steve had bargained for everybody finishing miles ahead of him when it came to the sprint finish.
“There was another shock in store when outsider Ian Harte took the yellow jersey. He was uncatchable from the halfway stage and I know Matt Ritchie would have been really disappointed. Matt has been telling everybody what a keen cyclist he is and how he does loads of routes when we are at home so he won’t have been best pleased after getting trounced by Hartey, the all-rounder who also won the golf yesterday.
“We had a triple session today which was really hard work. We finished with a bit of head tennis on the sand and Brett Pitman’s team were the winners. It must be all that practice he gets on those lovely beaches on Jersey. Smudger, Pughie and Benji were also giving it the big one after being in the winning team.
“As it had been such a hard day, a few of us decided to have a recovery session in the pool. The hotel has excellent facilities with a lovely spa. We got our swimming shorts on and went for a cool-down and a stretch. We were trying to find the sauna but couldn’t until we saw lots of people coming out of a room with robes on so thought it must be in there. We wandered in and it was excellent because there was also a hot and a cold pool inside. Then though, there was a huge shock in store because we saw a few people coming through and realised we were in the naked spa!
“Most of the lads were very uncomfortable except for the three new ones and their shyness from last night certainly went out the window. They tried to say they were only embracing the culture. They will definitely be singing tonight and we are going to make sure they are fully clothed!”