If the first week of RLWC 2013 was all about aniticpation, excitement, tradition and emotion then week two was all about fun. Well, almost all. The very sad news came to us on Saturday that former player Steve Prescott MBE had died. Steve Prescott was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, a rare form of cancer, in 2006 and was given only months to live. Since then The Steve Prescott Foundation has raised nearly £500,000 for charity and he has been an inspiration to everyone who loves the game.
We clocked up some new grounds this week, Leigh and Salford and finished the week with a trip to one of Dan's favourite grounds, The Shay, Halifax for the group decider between Tonga and Italy. A win for Tonga meant, although they were going home, Scotland would make it through to the quarter finals at the expense of Italy.
We have also been clocking up a number of gold post boxes, all by accident and all very welcome. Last Saturday we saw the one for Ed Clancy for his gold medal in the team pursuit. On Tuesday night in Leigh we passed the one for Heather Frederiksen, 100m backstroke paralympic champion and yesterday in Halifax we saw the one for Hannah Cockroft's win in the T34 100m.
Back to the games. We watched Tonga twice this week, on Tuesday we were lucky enough to be sat near the Tonga fans which made for a great atmosphere. There was also a small amount of celebrity spotting. Thursday we went to The Trafford Centre (I know I said I never wanted to go again after being there for 8 hours last month) but we went for some food and enjoyed a gospel choir as it was the festive lights switch on. Despite claims it was a 25 minute trek to the ground (it wasn't) we got there pretty quickly and I got to cuddle Tommy the Eagle, the USA mascot. Dan shook hands with the official Mascot of the World Cup - Grubber which is a weird kind of bear thing but great fun anyway. Weird thing about Salford's ground, the toilets have no roof, very old school!
The place to beat for atmosphere is going to be The Shay. It gets top makes from us, we went into the bar, there before us was a nice Vegan IPA, don't mind if I do. The ladies toilets are a joy (remind me to share a picture of the main door). We stood with some local wags who had all the songs, all the time which was brilliant. And to top it all off Scotland qualify, Fuifui MoiMoi was named man of the match - it was a crowd pleaser, he's a great player, big hitter, great name, good head of hair. I am really sad that Tonga won't be going further in the competition but other than Wales and France I think I'd say that about any team as they've all been a great source of entertainment.
So we've attended 7 of the 10 games we're going to, that's just over a third of the games. Time is flying by but we've had a ball so far. I'm working on Dan to see if we might squeeze in the quarter final New Zealand v Scotland in Leeds on Friday. It's not going to be pretty for Scotland but you don't just follow a team when you know they're going to win do you?