David Changleng was appointed to the Argentina versus England June Test. The International was taken to the Provincial City of Salta. This beautiful Argentinian City is over 1800 kilometres North of Buenos Aires and at an altitude of over 1200 metres. It proved to be a busy first half for David as he had to flag twice for foul play. Referee Alan Lewis was just about keeping a lid on a fiery Test match. " 30,000 vociforous locals were shouting for everything going and concentration levels had to be at their sharpest" David observed. David has run touch at over 25 Internationals and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. " I have run touch in the 6 Nations and in the Tri Nations but this match proved to be as tough as any. There is no love lost between these two Nations and it was maybe good for Alan, myself and the other TJ (Simon McDowell) that it was a narrow home win! " David has been on the IRB TJ panel since running touch for Ireland v Italy in 2003. His ambition now is to go on and run touch at RWC 2011 in New Zealand.
Saturday 14 March 2009
Border team of three appointed by SRU to officiate at the World Cup Qualifier in Tiblisi on 14 March 2009 was a blend of youth, experience and age - Andrew MacMenemy, Iain Heard and Ronnie Dumma. Menners first international.Intrepid trio set of from Borders at 9.30am on Thursday 12 March not knowing what was ahead in the travel stakes.
Journey from Borders to Edinburgh airport uneventful. Check in OK but showed 20 minute delay to flight to Frankfurt. Regular check at departures screen and 20 minute delay became 40 minutes then 50 minutes then 75 minutes and eventually flight left just over 2 hours late. This resulted in missed connection to Munich. Helpful Lufthansa staff had us and bags booked on next available flight to Munich. Arrived in Munich well after we should have and after flight to Tiblisi had left. Only one flight Tiblisi per day from Munich so booked on flight 24 hours later. Again Lufthansa staff very helpful and had us booked in and transported to hotel in no time. Had a meal at night. Wine list featured a certain red wine Selkirk Shiraz but at nearly £36 a bottle gave it a miss.
Next day spent sight seeing in Munich - but wet, cold and lack of any real sites in Munich meant we settled for lazing about in Munich airport until flight at 9.15pm. Being a Tourism officer in Munich must be a challenging job! Four hour flight and tim e delay result in us getting to accommodation in Tiblisi around 4.30am on Saturday morning - some 24 hours later than expected.
Latish breakfast on Saturday morning and taken for lunch (Italian) by ex Georgian international Nono who was a perfect host for the weekend. Back to hotel, changed and headed to stadium where game was to be played. International stadium, 50,000 capacity. Actual crowd for game around 20,000 although free entry. Crowd control at game came in the shape of 1,500 riot police in full gear - not sure if they were there for crowd or our benefit, but not needed for either!
An early morning start with Alan Forrest arriving at my house around 4am to get to the airport and meet Andrew Macpherson. We flew to Montpellier via Paris and arrived there around lunchtime. As ever we were picked up by the local referee liaison man Gerard who is a former senior policeman. He is married to an English woman so his English is very good saving our embarrassing attempts at French.
We were driven to our hotel in the centre of the town and once the bags were dumped we headed out for a spot of lunch in the main square. A relaxing afternoon in the hotel was followed by a trip out in the evening to the Greyhound bar for a small sparkling water and then to a local restaurant for an excellent steak.
We headed back to the Greyhound bar for a nightcap and met up with some Bristol fans who we engaged in a spot of socialising with. Unfortunately after an hour or so the jetlag kicked in and Trees had a wee kip.
The following morning we were joined by David Changleng who had flown in that morning. We had a stroll round the town in lovely weather and lunch before resting in the afternoon.
We were picked up and taken to the game in Montpellier’s magnificent new stadium. The game itself went reasonably well for Andy with a couple of TMO calls to keep me awake.
The after match function was superb with excellent food and wine. We headed back to the hotel dumped the bags and went to meet the Bristol fans back in the Greyhound bar. A round of applause as we entered the bar was followed by a great hour or so of good natured banter.
Heading home in the morning we had a long wait in Paris before getting our flight back to Edinburgh. A long 80+ hours for an 80 minute game but very enjoyable as usual.