Day 3 - and the tournament finally begins! All umpires are required to watch every game on the first day to get a feel for the tournament and the teams, so an 8.30am bus was arranged, in time for the 10am opening game. Penarth had the pleasure of opening the show against strong Croation opposition, unfortunately suffering a heavy loss - a harsh welcome to EuroHockey. Nevertheless, they remained in good spirits throughout the day.
My game was at 2.30 with the Irish neutral Malcolm Coombes. We had never umpired together before so I was looking forward to it - and the game passed without incident, no cards, and I even managed to stay upright for 60 minutes which doesn't happen every game!! After a debriefing session with the umpire manager, I could relax for the day and take in the other two games. The opening ceremony was sandwiched inbetween games 3 and 4 (no idea), which was well planned, and featured a lot of high quality gymnastics and displays...although I'm still not sure how I feel about a group of 20 10-year olds being stronger than me!!
The last game of the day followed, which featured the hosts, Vinnitsa HC. The crowds poured in, the music suddenly got better and TV cameras turned up, how strange!! (Little bit of useless information - sarcasm is pointless in Europe).
All that remained was a team debrief of the day with the umpire manager, and the now expected high quality cuisine in the restaurant! The appointments were then released - Penarth again playing in the first match of the day (very nice of them), so it will be game 2 for me - Plzen (CZE) vs Stroitel Brest (BLR). Until tomorrow....