Day 1 – Thursday 26 May 2016.
It was an early start for the Main body; a 0700 depart from Aldershot, heading to T3 at Heathrow. Check in complete; hurry up and wait began. After a 2 hour delay for ‘Technical difficulties’ we were on our way with Virgin Atlantic; VS111 flown by 2 trusty former RAF pilots.
The players and TSG were well fed and watered by Jason and his cabin crew and we arrived at JFK with the afternoon temperature hitting 30; acclimatisation was going to be needed in preparation for training and Match Day.
Day 2 – Friday 27 May 2016. (Rachel Green arrived from Canada).
An overnight stay at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; the time difference and jet lag kicked in and most players were out and about early for a spot of “phys” and to get ready for the move down to Annapolis. It was going to be a long road trip with some excited players.
It was a bit of a torturous road move down the East Coast with holiday weekend traffic proving problematic, and we arrived at Severena Park, after six and a half hours in the vehicles, for our first team run after crossing the pond. The squad was in good spirits; sunshine, blue skies and the opportunity to be challenged by an USA East Coast Select in their own back yard was the foundation that ensured the first session went well.
Session complete it was on to our hotel, The Double Tree Hilton in Annapolis; base camp for the next 3 days. Players and TSG settled in and took advantage of the facilities and many local eateries before lights out in preparation for final sessions and team run on Saturday.
Day 3 – Saturday 28 June 2016.
The Jet lag is getting better; players and TSG managing to sleep through (wait till tonight when pre-match nerves kick in). It was Breakfast and then back to Severna Park for training and team run.
Team weather girl, LCpl Sarah Batley gave us the news; it was going to be hot, maybe red hot, however, the heat and jet lag had little impact on training. With sunshine and the coming challenge; the emphasis remained on ensuring focus and on the job at hand.
Arriving at the training ground we were met by the opposing coach and team manager; who was not keen on sharing facilities. Overcoming the facilities issue we cracked on and Batley with Weather Girl had been right; it was ‘Well Ot!!’.
Training complete the contented coaching staff allowed the players to return to Base Camp and make use of the facilities; recovery session Poolside. Rest, Recuperation and Hydration were the watch words in preparation for game day.
Day 4 – Sunday 29 May 2016. (Kayleigh Clemes Birthday).
After a gentle start and a Team Meeting at 1130 (sixty minutes into the England v Wales game at Twickenham; Beth Dainton, Gemma Rowland, Chantelle Miller – what was the final score?) commencing with the Batley ‘Official Tour Weather Girl’; “hot, but maybe not red hot with showers in the evening”. Match day Squad was finalised and we moved out at 1215 to Severna Park for a 1400 Kick Off.