European Team Championships 2011  27-30 Apr  Espoo, Finland  





XTRAS #2: Bits and Pieces                          Steve Cubbins in Finland
What's in a Flag, boyo ?

World referees Roy Gingell and John Massarella, members of the European Referees Committee, have been working as Referee Assessors at the ETC for four years, and on finals day here in Espoo they and their team are on course to complete their 1,000th assessment!

THe only surprise is that Roy's still here, after picking up his accreditation on day one. If you've ever heard him speak you will be in no doubt that Roy is WELSH, so imagine his distress when he found his badge billed him from ENGLAND.

The Welsh women's team were shocked too ...

Geographic Correction

When I said that the Hanasaari Hotel was on an island on a lake, I slightly underestimated the size of said lake, which turns out to be the Gulf of Finland (which after a few turnings becomes the Atlantic Ocean) ... oops!

Finnish Tradition? We're sure someone must know what this is for !!!
What a Plonker

Martin Wren demonstrates my stupidity ...Wake, check emails, do updates, list birthdays, have breakfast, pack, get transport to club for the next day's play.

It's a routine I've done hundreds of times now, how hard can it be?

But on Day Three it all went wrong.

Get to club, unpack bag. Camera, check. Mouse, check. Laptop power supply, check. Laptop .................... oops.
Martin Wren spotted my mistake too.

Speak nicely to Kia, get lift back to hotel ... all is well. 
What a plonker.
XTRAS #1: Welcome to the Hanasaari       Steve Cubbins in Finland

Hello Helsinki

Well, it was a fairly uneventful trip to Helsinki, an early morning start, yes, but once at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport everything ran smoothly, with the Dutch team joined on the KLM flight by a group of Scottish referees, a couple of Spanish players and myself.

At the airport the referees and I were whisked off to our hotel - the players are at the Holiday Inn while referees and officials are at the delightful Hanasaari.

After taking us around Helsinki's ring road our driver pointed left across a lake and told us that "Mika Haakinen and Kimi Raikonnen [F1 World Champions] live on islands over there."

Hello Hanasaari

He immediately turned left onto the drive to the hotel, which also lives on an island on the lake (must find out what the lake's called).

It's a modern, low, slightly sprawling vaguely circular building, with statues of jackets outside (must find out if they have any special significance).

Another first for me was that after opening the door to the rooms (outwards of course, I remember that from Malmo), you're immediately presented with another, inward opening, door ... inside though the rooms are lovely.

With no sign of activity and a free afternoon, we decided to take a walk around the outside of the hotel - it didn't take long, but the views are pretty good.

Wish you were here

One of the referees told us that the weather forecast he'd looked up was for snow and rain this week. It's nothing like that - lovely clear skies, plenty of sunshine and if there is a slight nip in the air it's still t-shirt weather. Long may it last.

We chose the right week to come though - apparently up until a handful of days ago there was still plenty of snow after one of Helsinki's hardest and longest winters for many years, and the lake was still frozen over!

We found a couple of piles of residual snow/ice and of course a snowball fight of sorts ensued.

Exploring ...

Having been informed that the Holiday Inn was "5 minutes drive that way", Helsinki Centre "5 minutes drive that way", and the Club "5 minutes drive that way", we decided to explore on foot.

Since we're effectively on an island just off the main dual carriageway ring road, the paths took us round a marina where we saw what looked like shrinkwrapped yachts, down cycle paths with a number of interesting vehicles on show, past a football pitch with snow piled high at its sides, most of the time with lake on one side, motorway on the other and no real sense of getting anywhere.

After 45m walking the sign told us is was still 3.5km to the "Centrum", so the walk was aborted for the refs to get back in time for their meeting.

And that's where they are now, while I'm doing this ... roll on tomorrow's 10am start at the Espoo Center ...

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