An update from Tour official Rachel Hume on the current Team touring China.
After a long day of flying with some delays on Monday we all settled in for our first full day in Chengdu on Tuesday, where we kicked off with a bit of shopping to start the day. The boys found some Nike and Adidas bargain strips in some little street stores on our way to the centre of the city where there is a town square that has various monuments including a chairman Mao statue. Chris and a few others posed for photos with the local police officers and their dogs then it was off for more shopping and lunch before the first training session for the tour.
Training with the UESTC university men it was a great chance to see how the Chinese game is played and the boys soon came to realise they were in for some stiff opposition with the Chinese players displaying lightning speed and great skills. The boys joined in on their training session which helped them understand the types of rotations and movements the Chinese use for their very attacking focused style of play. After training it was back to the hotel then to hot plate steak for dinner before a well earned rest to the first day.
Today we again started the day with some shopping but this time at a souvenir market where the group was able to check out some possible gifts to take back home. After lunch it was then off to the centre for the first games of the tour playing the guys we were training with yesterday. As expected the first game was a very hard one with our boys struggling at times to keep up with the pace of the Chinese rotations and movement. At half time we discussed some tactics to counter the fast attack and the second half was much better. We even put one past them to get our first goal for the tour on the board. The end score was 9 – 1 to UESTC.
Game 2 and we had a lot to improve on and we did. Our defence tightened up much more and we were able to sneak in two goals before half time going into the half time break behind 4 – 2. It was a vast improvement on game one and in patches we were creating some really good attacking play. The second half both teams were starting to feel the pinch and it was the stamina and experience of the Chinese team that saw them run away with a few more goals with the end score finishing at 7 – 2. Overall is was a vast improvement on game one with some encouraging signs moving forward for the rest of the games on tour. The team we played today has been training everyday, twice a day for the last two months and has previous and current China Futsal players on the roster so all in all it was a great effort from our guys who only formed as a team two days ago.