World Cup Diary: Day 18

The fourth quarter-final had been the one we’d most been looking forward to, due to the promise of competition.

Unfortunately, Samoa didn’t really deliver, and were beaten by Fiji, who made sure the semi-finals were a repeat of the line-up at the 2008 World Cup.

With Sunday’s game being held in Warrington, it meant a less hectic build up for me than usual, and I arrived at the ground just under two hours before kick-off. It was far too warm and stuffy in the press room, so went straight out to the press box.

Having seen the pre-game dancing and what not 17 times already in the tournament, there was some alternative entertainment pre-game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the shape of a Masters game between Crosfields and Blackpool. There was some explaining of the rules going on, and by my reckoning, Crosfields had 14 men on the field for much of the game, although any calls for fines and points deductions were diminished at the full time whistle, when it was revealed that all games finish 0-0 anyway!

Talk soon reverted to “man of the match gate” after the decision to award it to Sam Tomkins at the previous night’s England game. All working members of the press get to vote on a slip of paper, approximately 10 minutes before the end of the game, and I’m yet to come across anyone who voted for Tomkins, who was of course playing in his last game at the DW Stadium for a while, with James Graham and Sean O’Loughlin the choices of most.

The cheerleaders at Warrington impressed, and they caught the eye of St Helens bound prop Mose Masoe, who had a good look, just as he did at the menu of a Chinese buffet in Warrington town centre when I saw him on Friday.

The internet connection was woeful, both on wi-fi and 3G. Literally the only way I could tweet updates was via my phone, as neither my netbook or iPad would post via 3G or wi-fi. That meant that it was a bit of a rush to the end of the game to ensure things were submitted to the website and social media before the press conference, and that ultimately led to an error, with me forgetting to adjust the score after the late try by the Fijians!

It’s been a long few weeks, and it was bound to happen at some point! With just two World Cup dates to go, it’s now beginning to turn in to a time of reflection, and also a bit of sadness that the tournament is almost over.

Here’s hoping it’s remembered for all the right reasons in years to come.

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