Those brave enough to wage a decent flutter on the Silver Ferns to win their World Cup, the Black Caps to reach their final and the All Blacks to bomb the penultimate match of their pinnacle event could have plunged the profits on an Auckland house deposit.
Yes, odds on this three-pronged scenario really were that long.
Three World Cups in six months is quite the emotional rollercoaster.
Running down the stairs for the umpteenth time at the Liverpool Arena, I experienced genuine heart palpitations. Nothing to worry about, I tell myself. Push on.
Reporters are supposed to remain objective at all times.
Truth is it's near impossible to suppress all inner, bubbling emotions when you appreciate the struggle, sacrifice and witness how much it means to athletes who achieve, or fail to achieve, long-held dreams.
Only robots switch off entirely.
As the sole New Zealand journalist to cover three World Cups in 2019, I'll attempt to relive the drama and, hopefully, offer a peek behind the odd curtain.
Cricket World Cup, England and Wales - May 30 – July 14
New Zealand's road to the knockouts offers lesson after lesson in presuming nothing.
In this tournament the Black Caps resemble that absent family member or friend who never shows when expected, only to land on the doorstep when needed most.
Why Kieran Read won't be remembered as an all-time great
'Massive concern' for former Hurricanes star after neck injury
Other than the comfortable win over Afghanistan in Taunton and their opening game, the 10 wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Cardiff, which kindly finishes early enough to absorb the Champions League final at the Walkabout pub heaving with gleeful Liverpool fans, the Black Caps do everything the hard way.
Bangladesh at this vastly underappreciated London venue sets the scene for a tournament uplifted by the constant presence of intensely-passionate Asian cricketing fans.
With Ross Taylor at the crease New Zealand are cruising to victory. I tell a Reuters' photographer another early finish is in store.
Cue the collapse. Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Matt Henry all depart to leave fate in Mitchell Santner's willow.
Roaring Bangladesh fans believe. The photographer returns to say I'll be eating my words. Cheers, mate.
A Lockie Ferguson edge to the boundary and ice-veins Santner cover drive later, the Black Caps remain unbeaten, just.
Speaking to Trent Boult with two journalists in the nets post match he is a breath of fresh air compared to other high-profile sportsmen, belying his status the second-ranked ODI bowler.
Casual, real, honest, refreshing, Boult is content to sit and discuss any topics thrown his way.
In my experience, this is true for the Caps throughout the tournament.
Line from copy : "From oh-so-close to a meltdown of the highest order to two-from-two, New Zealand's prospects swung like Trent Boult seamers on a green top."
India strike it lucky with the washout in Nottingham, as the later semifinal result would prove, and so it's off to Edgbaston, Birmingham, and the most ridiculous spread you ever will see.
Cheese platters, lolly stands, salmon, curry, poppadom, salads, you name it, Edgbaston lays on a feast fit for the crown.
Fittingly, as is so often the case, Kane Williamson bats like royalty in a 91-run sixth wicket stand with de Grandhomme to rescue New Zealand against perennial World Cup chokers, South Africa.
Eight required from the final over on a difficult two-paced pitch, Williamson deftly glides the ball through the slips to the boundary and then hits the first six of his perfectly-paced innings to complete a battling yet majestic century.
At this point in the press box, Andrew Anderson's shoulder receives an almighty thump, not for the last time this tournament.
Line from copy : "At what point does enthusiasm outweigh scepticism with the Black Caps? For fear of being burnt, not yet it would seem."
Carlos Brathwaite sinks to his knees. So near, so far. This time Boult judges the inches just right.
Williamson again sets his side up with a man of the match 148 – his highest ODI score – but Brathwaite almost steals that mantle with his remarkable display of power hitting.
Plundering 25 runs from one Matt Henry over, including three successive sixes, Brathwaite and West Indies need eight more from the final two overs.
Strike weapons Boult and Ferguson bowl out. Williamson tosses the ball to… Jimmy Neesham, not a noted death expert by any stretch, for the penultimate over.
From 164-7 to the brink of New Zealand's 291 and an improbable victory, Brathwaite and the West Indies are denied by Boult's over-the-rope grab at mid-on.
Exhale. Alders' shoulder takes another lusty blow.
The ebbs, flows, multiple scenario dread. This is deadline writing at its most fraught.
At least my girlfriend and sister in the towering temporary stand savour a jolly juiced time – their concealed gin in the pump bottle enhancing the gripping finale.
Match after match New Zealand produce these games of the tournament, somehow scraping through to remain unbeaten.
Is some supernatural force on their side? Manchester's stunning sunset suggests so.
Line from copy : "Curtly Ambrose's frustrations are clear as he storms through the press box with his countrymen losing 5-22 in 28 balls."
The inevitable slide:
Somewhere, somehow, luck, fortune, whatever you want to call it, will eventually run out.
Surely the Black Caps can't continue these great escapes.
The bowling attack, Ferguson and Boult the standouts, continue to paper over batting cracks but only so many times can Taylor and Williamson bail out the floundering top order.
Pakistan fans swarm surrounding streets and a sea of green noise fills Edgbaston. Spotting Kiwis inside is akin to a Where's Wally exercise.
Newshub's Lloyd Burr sits in the stands, fearing for his life if the Caps get up.
Neesham's 97 offers hope in New Zealand's below-par 237 but defeat can no longer be starved off as Pakistan coast to victory.
Had Pakistan lost, riots were on the cards.
Flirting with fire throughout this tournament, the Black Caps were always going to get burnt. They now have their first scar.
Line from copy : "Had the Black Caps picked Ish Sodhi on a turning Edgbaston track, this could be a different story. Certainly a closer tale."
Lord's, glorious Lord's. The home of cricket truly is magnificent.
I do not manage to sneak onto the pavilion where Shane Warne smoked darts in his day but wandering the immaculate outfield with barely a soul in sight on a scorching summer's day – posing for pictures along the way with Alders and TVNZ's Guy Heveldt – is a real treat.
Sitting behind the nets on the adjoining training ground watching 19-year-old Arjun Tendulkar, son of Indian great Sachin, fire down his left-arm seam is a surprise.
How is he not a batting prodigy?
Anticipation for any New Zealand-Australia sporting contest always comes with an edge – more so the first such dual at this famed venue.
Unfortunately for the Black Caps and their ever-hopeful supporters, this isn't so much a contest as a schooling.
Boult and Ferguson, the rising star of the tournament, have Australia teetering at 92-5 but Alex Carey's mature knock turns the tide.
Boult's last over hat-trick sparks hope by restricting Australia to what seems an under par 243.
From there, though, New Zealand wilts in the searing sun as Mitchell Starc, the familiar tormentor, bags 5-26 to roll the Caps for 157.
The 86-run defeat signals the momentum swing. New Zealand's cliff dive begins. My faith plummets.
Line from copy : "Kiwis that arrived dressed in beige, grey or black shirts, a bottle of wine in one hand, hope in the back pocket, left deflated after witnessing another chance to qualify squandered."
Gulp. Three losses in a row. The rot well and truly sets in at Chester-le-Street, a quaint old school ground where Lumley Castle sits perched on the hill.
Fair to say the four-hour journey back to London is rather sombre after the Black Caps capitulate to a 119-run loss to England in their final round robin match.
Chris Boyd, the former Hurricanes now Northampton coach, is among the Kiwis in the crowd who have little to celebrate.
New Zealand qualifies for the semifinals due to superior net run rate over Pakistan – a rule that sends the sub-continent nation into raging a social media war.
India awaits. Surely, given the tailspin the Black Caps now find themselves, a meek semifinal exit will follow.
Newshub's Simon Hampton and I attempt to remain positive over a few cans on the trip home.
Line from copy : "As has been the case throughout this World Cup, New Zealand only need point the finger in one direction for repeated collapses – the batting."
Old Trafford semifinal:
The two day, one day, international in which I completely write the Black Caps off .
"A damp squib exit looms, unless New Zealand produce the bowling performance of their lives."
This is my take at the conclusion of day one – after hurriedly changing train journeys – as persistent rain pushes the semifinal into the reserve day. No faith on this occasion.
As they return for day two, one boundary from their final six overs doesn't inspire any more confidence. The Black Caps post a 'paltry' 238.
Step forward Matt Henry, Trent Boult and the whooping white ball that cripples India to 5-3 and 24-4 in their jaw-dropping opening spell. Scenes.
A one-handed Neesham screamer and Martin Guptill direct hit are still needed to deny MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja their customary salvage jobs.
Some 28 hours after this match begins, the entire Black Caps touring squad and their families gather on the pitch to toast their success. The sequence of events is still clearly sinking in.
Against all odds they've toppled cricket's juggernaut and the tournament's top seeds after pool play with an 18 run win that ranks as one of the finest in New Zealand's history.
Off to the big dance they go.
This time, they'll be ready.
"Did that just happen? Is that real? I woke up wondering whether it was a bad dream and it wasn't."
The morning after the day before and Kane Williamson's head is spinning. And yet in the most tumultuous of circumstances, he remains the most dignified, admired sporting leader.
For all England's advantages and their contrasting eight wicket semifinal win, there is a real sense New Zealand will front in the final.
Overcast conditions, five of the team returning from the Melbourne Cricket Ground four years ago and the preference of facing England over Australia all offer reason to hope.
A fighting 241-8 keeps New Zealand in the contest and they have England 86-4 before Ben Stokes combines with Jos Butler to tie the match, the first time in a World Cup final.
From the botched Trent Boult catch on the boundary to the overthrows, which umpire Kumar Dharmasena later refuses to admit fault for adding one defining, extra run, everything that can go against the Black Caps does.
Sixteen needed from the Super Over, New Zealand draws level for a second time only to be denied by England's 26-17 boundary advantage.
The eruption from the English media in the press box further sours the hollow victory.
Two months of this tournament decided by some obscure boundary law plucked from the hit and giggle Twenty20 rule book.
Even now it seems utterly ridiculous.
For Williamson and his men, never is the difference between acceptance and understanding more brutally illustrated.
No spirit of cricket award can mask the pain of losing a World cup final in this manner.
I've never been so angry at a sporting result.
Respect for the way the Black Caps, Williamson especially, conduct themselves is next level.
Line from copy : "Rematch, anyone? England's victory certainly cannot be deemed convincing on any level. This match was tied, twice, after all. The scoreboard reveals no clear winner."
Netball World Cup, Liverpool - July 12-21
Waiting on the platform for the train to Liverpool the repeat replays on the station's big screens are difficult to stomach.
Over and over the final Cricket World Cup run out – followed by England hoisting the trophy – play.
"It was a draw," I mutter to no one in particular.
The Silver Ferns have cruised past Malawi – no straightforward feat, remember – Barbados and Singapore as I arrive in the home of The Beatles on day four.
In regards to the cricket, it's time to let it be.
The netball pool stages are very much a mismatch scenario which allows for full squad rotations.
Noeline Taurua, since inheriting this broken team after their crippling Commonwealth Games failure 11 months ago, and assistant Debbie Fuller place an immediate focus on non-negotiable fitness standards.
All players must meet non-negotiable standards or face exclusion. With eight games across 11 gruelling days, Taurua's vision for the World Cup is clear.
Taurua runs a tight ship and her gut-busting training camps on the Sunshine Coast pay dividends.
From the moment the Ferns arrive in London it's evident they are a close, driven unit. In times of adversity these qualities shine.
The Ferns continue their comfortable march through the preliminary stages with victories over Zimbabwe and Northern Ireland before their last group match against Australia.
Now we find out where they sit.
Down by eight in the second quarter, the Ferns are in strife. Rapid second half changes inspire a comeback as they outscore the defending champions and surge within one missed Maria Folau shot of tying the contest.
From the depths the Ferns plummeted at the Com Games, this one goal defeat offers significant encouragement but they will now meet home favourites, England, in the semifinal.
One of the quirks of juggling print and Radio Sport duties involves running down stairs to watch the final quarter from the telly in the mixed zone – filing from the floor in order to be in position for immediate post match interviews. After one of these many dashes through the maze of doors I experience an irregular heartbeat. Stress consumes reporters too, it seems.
The atmosphere surrounding the Ferns is one of quiet confidence.
England, comparatively, appear arrogant. The host's sights seem set on meeting Australia in a repeat of their Comm Games upset.
Netball's popularity in England has since boomed.
Now, on home court, their destiny to prove that was no fluke is seemingly set in stone, or so you would think. Tracey Neville's side certainly has a swagger.
I've attended many netball matches over the years but nothing compares to the noise in this arena. It's piercingly loud – like having a thumping hangover headache without touching a drop of alcohol. Ten thousand feels like 20,000 teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.
It's a cauldron.
The sense of anticipation, expectation, that England will win is impossible to miss. And after last losing to the Ferns two years ago, locals have every right to be confident.
The Ferns score the first five goals to confirm my expectation they'll stage an upset but then find themselves down by three at half time.
From high in the stands there appears no sense of panic in their huddle.
Jane Watson combines supremely with Casey Kopua at the defensive end and flawless shooting from Ameliaranne Ekenasio helps the Ferns hold their nerve.
England are, naturally, devastated. The Ferns crush local hopes and prove their restored character.
A familiar, final dance with Australia awaits.
Line from copy : "From failing to medal at the Commonwealth Games for the first time to the World Cup final, this is some feat – another reminder Taurua should have been given the top job long ago."
It's easy to suggest now, of course, but on the eve of the final there is a sense of inevitability about the Ferns.
Australia, 11 time champions and winners of the past three World Cups, are heavily favoured to continue their dominance.
Yet the spirit of this Ferns team, the way they've progressively improved since their one goal defeat to the Diamonds, fuels belief they will emerge victorious.
After a nervous opening the Ferns regain their nerve and eventually establish a seven goal buffer in the third quarter. A typical, late Australian onslaught ensues but there's never a feeling the Ferns will bottle it.
One goal separates them at the finish – the Ferns clearly the better team on the night.
Emotional, sweaty embraces erupt. Tears, hugs, a scene of pure elation.
Fairytale stories are everywhere.
Ekenasio is again supreme. Katrina Grant is an inspiration. She's fought back from carrying the captaincy burden of the Games disaster, being dropped from the squad and almost missing this magical moment due to a calf injury.
Finally, after stomaching three successive World Cup dejections, Laura Langman, Casey Kopua and Maria Folau – the self-titled fossils – have their moment to savour. Bridesmaids, no more.
Following the medal presentations and anthem the Ferns make their way through the mixed zone. Kopua and Langman both repeatedly try and hand me their bouquets, saying they are allergic. I politely refuse, but feel genuinely chuffed for two legends of the game.
After her post match press conference I speak with Taurua about her remarkable 11 month transformation of this team.
Don't forget the Ferns are ranked fourth in the world when she took charge.
At the end of our conversation there's a hug and Taurua is visibly emotional. I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of happiness for what she has achieved.
From ostracised to orchestrator, she deserves every accolade.
No one foresaw this as New Zealand's greatest sporting moment of the year?
The Ferns party the night away like The Beatles themselves. So they should, too.
Turns out all they needed was some Taurua love.
Line from copy : "Sixteen years after New Zealand's last World Cup crown in Jamaica, Noeline Taurua has inspired a fairytale triumph in Liverpool, sneaking in the backdoor to steal a title to sit alongside those in 1967, '79, '87 and 2003."
Rugby World Cup, Japan - September 20 – November 2
Before flying out my response to those who demand a prediction is the All Blacks won't win this tournament. The gap has closed too much over the past two years to inspire anywhere near the same confidence held four years ago.
Pestered by mates for a winner I punt for South Africa on the basis of their recent performances against the All Blacks, and the impressive Rassie Erasmus transformation.
I even put $40 on the Boks to win the Cup paying $4.50.
The nature of the All Blacks' opening 23-13 victory over the Springboks - specifically the magic six-minute, two try blitz - completely changes my mind, however. I now expect this to be the final.
Regulation victories over Canada and Namibia, the latter exposing the All Blacks' lack of commitment to the cleanout in the first half, follow.
Ardie Savea's goggles provide the most interesting news.
Typhoon Hagibis washes out the final pool match against Italy, leaving us cooped up in a Tokyo hotel that shakes disturbingly from an earthquake. Not quite what we signed up for.
After two weeks without a game the All Blacks top their pool. Finally, there's some rugby to discuss.
Ireland's shock loss to Japan and the host's subsequent progression to the knockouts at Scotland's expense turns the draw on its head.
All week we probe the All Blacks about their one-from-three recent record against Ireland. Joe Moody let's slip that "we owe them one" but, otherwise, there's a collective reticence to engage or even acknowledge the clear desire those defeats will evoke.
It's often the way with the All Blacks. The more defensive they are – the truer the subject tends to be.
Desire and attitude are frequently defined by the All Blacks forward pack. When they get it right, they are unstoppable. This is one of those memorable nights.
Aaron Smith enjoys a dream ride and bags two tries. Kieran Read leads with a colossus performance. Savea isn't far behind.
Seven tries and the 46-14 victory, where Ireland are held scoreless for 69 minutes. It doesn't get any more emphatic. Most pleasing is the All Blacks finally getting to the outside and countering Andy Farrell's vaunted defensive line speed.
Talking with Irish journalists one day later as the Springboks predictably crush Japan, many are still fuming at their side's limp exit. It's a grim way for Joe Schmidt and Rory Best to bow out.
Surely this All Blacks performance – one of the best in the past four years – bodes well for next week.
Line from copy : "With set plays, wrap-around loops, wingers popping up on the other side of the field, cross-field kicks and offloads, the All Blacks produced so many variations Ireland had no clue what was coming next from where."
There's never a dull moment with Eddie Jones at the top table. In typical flamboyant fashion he kicks the week off with fictional spying allegations – the purpose of which to shield his players from the pressure of the match of their lives.
Speaking with Lawrence Dallaglio mid-week the World Cup-winning captain reflects my mood when he says England must produce a very, very special performance to beat the All Blacks. He predicts an English victory with heart only, and little confidence.
Looking in, there's no discernible complacency from the All Blacks. They seem focused, ready. This is the World Cup semifinal, after all.
Disbelief is the prevailing feeling of watching the All Blacks so soundly beaten on the biggest stage. Piece by piece they are taken apart; fortunate to not lose by much more than 19-7.
It starts with England's response to the haka and continues to their ball carries that blow the All Blacks away.
Having studied England over the past 18 months I know they are well capable of a physical onslaught such as this but it's staggering how powerless the All Blacks are to stop the relentless white wave. They can't get around John Mitchell's defence – can't win their lineout, can't match England's power.
I've witnessed some of this side's greatest comebacks in recent years but once this match starts never feel they will turn the tide.
The post-match press conference is a tense affair with Steve Hansen taking offence to a probe from Newshub's Andrew Gourdie which questions the All Blacks' mentality.
In the mixed zone, no more than an hour after the match, rookie wing George Bridge is in stunned state. Aaron Smith is highly emotional; Anton Lienert-Brown on edge. All struggle to articulate the immediate disappointment.
They do, however, convey the broken state of the changing room that none have ever experienced.
Line from copy : "Yokohama's field of dreams turned into a nightmare scene for the All Blacks, their quest for three successive World Cup titles ending abruptly in England's smothering hands. Eight years the All Blacks have reigned supreme. Here England dethroned them in the most clinical fashion."
Playoff for third:
This is not a normal week for anyone.
Hansen takes a long sip of water to hold back tears after a question from TVNZ's Matt Manukia about whom he spoke with on the phone immediately after the loss to England. The thought of Hansen's wife, Tash, clearly strikes a nerve.
Read, 24 hours after the match, remains physically and mentally wrecked as he discusses the birthday card from kids son waiting in his hotel room. Such moments offer fleeting distraction.
One day later, Dane Coles needlessly apologises for his tears.
Seeing these stoic men break down is uncomfortable for everyone.
This theme continues throughout the week as the All Blacks briefly lift the veil to reveal their human side – fronting without any hint of sulking. If only we saw more of their real selves.
One day before the playoff for third there's more focus on mental health than the match itself.
After a brutal review session earlier in the week the All Blacks slowly dust themselves off.
A final, and unusually emotive, team speech from Read sets the tone for a match where the All Blacks smack a heavily depleted Welsh side that, really, never stood a chance.
The 40-17 victory is largely irrelevant but it's a much fonder note to at least acknowledge the services of Read, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Matt Todd and, of course, Hansen and his management team.
As he collects his medal and signs off, Hansen receives rousing applause from the large Kiwi contingent that stays long after the final whistle. That alone provides perspective as to how sections of New Zealand are dealing with this defeat.
The team spends the next two days – their last as this unit – decompressing before flying home to stew on the result.
Nothing erases the pain of losing a World Cup – especially when the team you beat claims the trophy.
Scenes of jubilation and the uniting impact the triumph has on South Africa softens the blow, if only somewhat.
Four more years, as George Gregan once said, is a long wait to right this wrong.
Some will never get the chance again.