Well, it feels a little strange waking up on day 2 of a tournament with no hockey, so a late breakfast was called for, before taking a walk down to the venue in 27 degree heat...only around 20 minutes away. The stadium (it is literally a stadium) is in the middle of a large public park, so anybody who knows me will be able to guess how long I was wandering around looking clueless before I found it!
All the umpires had a good look around the venue, familiarising ourselves with location of changing rooms, showers, refreshments etc, and I stayed to watch Penarth train. Following that the technical team got to work with equipment and passport checks, and we took a walk through the city in the afternoon, which is an incredibly nice place - even better in the summer sunshine.
The evening before the tournament calls for all manners of meetings and briefings, however the technical team like to go first so the umpires had dinner (again, no idea), in the hotel restaurant whilst that was taking place. Then, around 9pm it was the umpires briefing. This is a team meeting led by the umpire manager, and sets out how we are going to approach the tournament as a team, setting our rules, and striving to reach a consensus on our umpiring. There is never too many surprises in these meetings, but it's important to understand how umpires from different nations will approach the games, and also what the umpire manager expects of us. These can tend to take anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours - depends who the umpire manager is! A few housekeeping points were then dished out, followed by the appointments.
For once our Welsh team were playing first, which meant I didn't get the first game of the tournament, for the first time in a while! Game 3 for me at 2.30 - Lousada (POR) vs HC Akademik Sofia (BUL). Time for bed...the real stuff starts tomorrow!