We’re almost half way through the tournament, and on Monday night, Hull KR threw down the gauntlet in the press stakes.
Best parking, best wi-fi and best food (rice, chilli, garlic bread – it’s the future, and salad) – although Joanna Lester was disappointed at the vegetarian option, and Steve Mascord claimed that nothing will beat the pies at Workington, which I unfortunately haven’t experienced.
That all came after I had got to the ground. It was another long day. In the office early doors, nursing the cold I picked up at St Helens on Saturday, with a number of jobs to do, most notably adding a few stories to the site and clearing an ever increasing list of emails.
Left Warrington at 3ish, and made it to Hull in good time. It’s the first time I’ve been to Craven Park since the new stand has been completed, and I must say, it’s very impressive. It effectively becomes your first impression of the ground, and the way they’ve finished it off with the branding elements, it really is a credit to the club and the council.
It also means that inside the ground looks much better too. I remember sitting in the uncovered temporary stand there in February last year, and it proceeded to be the wettest, windiest, coldest match I’ve ever been to.
I got to the ground to the news that Zak Hardaker had pulled out of the England squad, so there was a story to get done there for the site. I also had a few messages from my mortgage advisor – in my infinite wisdom, I’m currently trying to buy a house, which isn’t ideal given that all my out of office time is currently taken up by travelling and getting to games.
I ended up getting stuck in to some work for a good couple of hours before the game started. Ventured up to the press box, and a fair flight of stairs, with about half hour to go.
The game itself was nothing to write home about. Samoa blitzed PNG in the first half, and PNG dropped a lot of ball, and their completion rate was poor. What it meant was a second half that was as much of a non event as England’s was on Saturday.
Having wasted a fair chunk of my Netbook battery pre-game, I ran out of power about 10 minutes before the end, with a proportion of my match report written, and with no power outlets to be seen around me, I had to wait to get downstairs at full time.
Mini-crisis averted, report went on the site, and then waited for the press conferences.
First in were Matt Parish and Sia Soliola. For a coach who had just seen his side win comfortably, Parish was very muted, speaking very softly and simply nodding to a few questions. He seemed to be a little frustrated by the injuries Samoa have suffered, although they have since been granted permission to call up a replacement.
Adrian Lam and Neville Costigan followed, and they were understandably a bit downbeat.
A few of the other players then entered the press room for interviews, including Mase Masoe who hobbled in with ice around his ankle.
For the first time in the tournament, I opted to type up the interviews live, rather than record and type up later. Transcribing interviews has to be one of the more tedious parts of the job, and it is time consuming. Unfortunately, the shorthand qualification I gained at university has become virtually obsolete now, given that I’m out of practice, and probably wouldn’t be able to record interviews accurately or quickly enough by hand. If there’s one thing I can do though, it’s type, and nabbing a few quotes directly will save me a bit of time at some point.
In comparison, the press conferences were set up and completed relatively quickly, and managed to get out of the ground not long after half 10, which meant getting home at a relatively decent hour, and in bed before 1.
Next up is Leigh, and given the parking situation there when there’s only a small crowd, I can’t say I’m looking forward to getting out when there’s a full house! See you there.