Tour Diary Part 3

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Some of the guys enjoying the beach at Soustons

We arrived at the Ile verte sports centre on the outskirts of Soustons in the late afternoon of Monday 16th September. Although not as beautiful as our previous stop, we were placed beside a picturesque lake and near a beach with good surf. We were gradually preparing for the Wednesday game against Bayonne Espoirs and most people were finding the good food and comfortable accommodation restful. Seemingly not Tim Little and Philip Bell though, who tried to canoe the 3 kilometres to the beach through the lake beside the sports village. On Tuesday 17th we started the specific training for the Bayonne game in the convenient facilities (our accommodation was right beside two good rugby pitches). In the afternoon the backs triumphed in the second test of the cricket series against the forwards;  a victory by an innings and 20 runs was particularly embarrassing for the forwards! Later that day Henry Lamont and Fraser Heathcote were found washed up on a beach claiming they had faced near-death. This was the first of multiple trips to the beach. Later we had arguably the most comprehensive and insightful news of tour from our tour news reporter, Steven Patch. Ian Williams’ role of thought on the thought of the day was also brought into being. Wednesday 18th was the second and final game day of the tour.  It was a grey day and it drizzled as we arrived at the artificial pitch which sided onto the old walls of Bayonne. It was an impressive place to play and when the rain fell and darkness descended the scene became even more dramatic. For details of the fixture see the match report online. As we drove through Soustons on the way back home coach James Wade told Team Manager Ferret (Tim Stevens) to slam on the breaks. He hopped out of the mini-van and into a Mexican restaurant full of middle-aged women. They cheered and beckoned us all in. We carried on from there and proceeded to a court session in a pub nearby. The next morning we were all feeling worse-for-wear but, as we would soon find, the sea has remarkable cleansing qualities and to the beach we went. Most people surfed, and the few who opted instead to sleep were rudely awakened from a stray wave which broke unexpectedly far up the beach. When we were leaving on Friday after morning gym and football the team was in high spirits. San Sebastian was our next stop.

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