Small island, great welcome

Natasha Woods, chief sports writer of the Sunday Herald, has recently returned from the Caribbean, where she covered Scotland’s participation in the overlong and sometimes shambolic cricket World Cup. Here’s her report on the working conditions for journalists

Maybe it was because I was on the smallest island, or perhaps it was because the Rushmans’ team on St Kitts were extremely helpful. Or maybe it was just luck. But my experience of covering the ICC World Cup group stages was largely positive.

Good press officers really stand out at events like this (perhaps because we journalists expect the worst) and Cathy Treasure on St Kitts was excellent.

Yes, there were a few grumbles – mostly concerned with the cost of buying WiFi access from Cable&Wireless and the lack of adequate air-conditioning in the press box at Warner Park – but I found the working environment and support generally very good.

Even when I had IT problems, which you invariably do on such trips, there was somebody on hand to help me out. Indeed, on one occasion, the IT support staff set up me WiFi access free for one day just to help me out – and you cannot ask for more than that.

I guess I was fortunate. Being on the Sunday newspaper beat meant I could work from my hotel more often than not on non-match days and, with no island-hopping required to cover Scotland in Group A of the tournament, I had no issues with missing luggage or travel hassles.

However, on the day I left, I did get a glimpse of the problems elsewhere, since all the journalists on St Kitts were forewarned that those travelling on to Guyana would find that the press facilities were not up and running. And that was two weeks after the start of the competition. Much as I enjoyed my fortnight in the Caribbean, that warning alone made me glad I was heading home.

A special word too, for Irish team manager Roy Torrens. After their success in qualifying for the Super Eights, I was commissioned to write a piece on the team. Given Jamaica lies 1,000 miles northwest of St Kitts, is in a different time zone, and the telecommunications system can prove frustratingly fragile, the challenge appeared fraught with difficulty.

However, Torrens picked up his phone on the first ring and promised to get me someone if I phoned back in 10 minutes. The “someone” turned out to be coach Adrian Birrell, who chatted away happily for 20 minutes. Now that is what you call “media friendly”.

Pirates of Caribbean cash in at the cricket

IRB blasted over its “pursuit of the dollar”