Monday, 28 July 2014

Glasgow 2014 - Days 3 and 4

As predicted the weather changed over the weekend and we had a first rain of the tournament. It was nothing that would disrupt the schedule – we just got wet!

The Medal Ceremony commences
On Saturday I was the “On Rink Official” for the Bronze match between New Zealand and Australia B2/B3 Mixed Pairs. The para-sport athletes have visual impairment and although not classified as completely blind many have very limited vision. In the mixed pairs competitions each team has a man and lady player and each player has a Director. The directors job is to provide information to the visual impaired player to allow them to play their shots. This level of involvement can vary depending on how much vision they do have. It was a great game and also a humbling experience. I had a good laugh with the players during the game and they are certainly not afraid of mocking themselves.

Also on Saturday we had the first instance of a team requesting their opponents be placed on the time clock. This is a new concept for the Commonwealth Games designed to prevent slow play. The normal time limit for a game is 2 hours 15 minutes. If a team feels that their opponent is playing too slowly or deliberately slowing down the game they can call for a time keeper. For each session we allocate two time keepers and they are called upon to sit at the end of the rink and use a stopwatch to time the amount of time it takes the offending team to play their end. It’s all very complicated and in my opinion rather unnecessary but that unfortunately is the nature of the beast nowadays.

An extremely busy city centre
On Saturday afternoon Daryl Rowley, one of our antipodean colleagues and I, ventured into the city centre and have a look round. We managed to negotiate the small Glasgow subway system and get ourselves into the centre. It was packed! It was very difficult to walk round due to the sheer number of people. In the end we took a few photos, had a pint and then decided it was too busy to achieve anything. However, getting back was a little more of a challenge and we were initially faced with a queue for the subway which snaked its way round the corners of 3 streets before we found the end of it. We then decided to catch a bus, but we had no idea which bus.
The big G
The people of Glasgow have been incredibly friendly and have embraced the whole Games atmosphere. It was thanks to 2 very kind bus drivers who guided us back to the Lawn Bowls venue. We could have still been walking back on Sunday if it wasn’t for their kindness. Also worth mentioning that anyone with Games accreditation can use public transport free of charge.

Sunday, it rained!! It was also my Birthday and I was on early shift umpiring one green of Semi Final matches. The atmosphere around the green was fabulous as the Scotland ladies fours were playing against South Africa for a place in the final. Crowds of Scottish supporters surrounded the green and it was standing room only. South Africa eventually came out the winners.

Later in the day my colleagues very kindly presented me with a present, a lovely reminder of my time in Glasgow, a card signed by all the ITO’s and also a card signed by the England Team which was very nice. It is always a worry as you wonder what pranks my so called friends could pull. In Delhi we held Graham down and painted his face with makeup, that sort of thing could happen at any time with us lot.

In the afternoon session I was marking a Mens singles match between Malta and Jersey. It was a great game and good to mark. Unfortunately there was a little controversy at the end of the match when the Maltese player asked if he could consult with his Manager, which they are entitled to do, only to discover that he was consulting with his Manager AND Coach at either end. This had gone unnoticed during the game and is not allowed. Only one person can advise players during a game. It’s a very difficult situation especially now as technology has progressed and many of the team officials are in communication with each other via two way radios. There is very little to prevent them from sitting in the stands and communicating with each other. Not sure what the answers is to that one.

The impressive Glasgow University - Hogwarts?
The transport to and from the venue is provided by buses every 15 minutes. Unfortunately, Glasgow 2014 has not been very successful in providing a reliable service and a number of officials have been caught out with buses not arriving or departing when they should. A few of us have decided that the easiest route to the venue is to walk. It is only about 20-25 minutes and a very pleasant walk through the Botanical Gardens and round the impressive Glasgow University. There are some amazing peaceful places around the parks and some amazing history in the buildings.

The Botanical Gardens
The final of the Ladies singles was played on Sunday evening between defending Gold Medallist, Natalie Melmore from England and Kiwi Jo Edwards. Natalie walked away with the Silver Medal, a fabulous achievement to win Gold and Silver in successive Games in the same discipline.

On Sunday evening a few of us went out for a nice curry and a few drinks. The schedule slows down a little this week and a lot of us are allocated duties on the day due to the unpredictable scheduling that takes place during singles play. 

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