Sunday, May 07, 2006

An Emotional Weekend

The queues were lengthy indeed at Kingsholm this morning with many hundreds of season ticket holders stoically waiting in line in order to purchase their European Challenge Cup Final tickets. It was fascinating in that all these people probably had very little in common with each other on many, many levels but because of one shared interest were able to affably chew the fat about all matters Gloucester, past, present and future. I quite enjoyed it really. At about a quarter to ten, Jake Boer strolled through the car park to board the coach that was waiting to take him and his colleagues to Clifton for the Tens tournament. He was wearing a sports top, shorts, and, I swear, a pair of tights. It was a most unsettling sight. I didn’t know where to look.


Naturally, lots of the banter was about yesterday’s remarkable match. I am still buzzing about yesterday’s epic match with the consensus, which I can appreciate, being that that despite the loss, this remains a game to view with no little excitement and huge amounts of encouragement. Ryan Lamb came of age with some visionary football that was, simply, world class. The try that he started with a huge and ambitious pass to Oliver Morgan and finished with a dummy that utterly bamboozled Joe Worsley, the camera man and half the crowd was possibly the best I’ve seen at the old stadium. Certainly ‘Top Five’. His massive pass to Simpson-Daniel which ended with the Bailey score was hugely creative although that move’s finest moment was Sinbad’s almost contemptuous turning hither and thither of the Dallaglio figure. It was joyous. The whole game was really, really marvellous.


I must confess I was unable to join in the tumultuous chanting of ‘Terry Fanolua’ during the interval as the old warhorse entered the field of play for the last time to bid, well, his Gloucester family farewell. With his old father proudly by his side, Terry was obviously moved and choked to the extent that he was struggling to get his words out. I just bit my lip and tried to hold it together. The sentimental side of me adores events like this (I was misting over for the Player of the Year announcement for goodness sake) but I found the whole ‘Terry thing’ yesterday much more moving than usual.


I met up with, gosh, fifteen or so old school colleagues early yesterday evening and I must say what splendid people that they have become. Actually, they were probably all splendid back in the seventies and eighties too! It was especially fine to touch base with M once again after years of gradually losing touch. He remains incredibly easy company and shares and understands so many of my values and interests and points of view that, despite all the thrills at Kingsholm, our half hour chat proved the highlight of the weekend for me. A dear and charming friend. One of my greatest faults is taking individuals like that for granted and maybe my fifth decade should be dedicated to making sure that doesn’t happen as often.

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