A = Average game, certainly for the Canterbury forwards, and the weather didn't help.
B = "B" team, as in that is what the Canterbury team played like at times...
...O = Ok, I'll stop this already!
Letís start "this" at the beginning. Thanks to AT for organizing our little get together, and taking the advice of the Ticketek person who said that we would be out of the rain.
Must admit that I was a bit surprised with the seats, we were in the upper bowl, but right at the north end of the ground. My seat looked straight out at about the dead ball line, and I wasn't certain that this would be a good thing.
But as we found with being at the other end (southern try-line, for the legendary Whatalaughs Kicking), you are up so high that you feel that you are looking over the half-backs shoulder as he feeds the scrum. The angle is actually pretty good - you get a good compromise on up-and-down the field play, as well as across the field play.
(Of course if your eye-sight is shite, then you would be better off at home!-)
I hate to admit it, but they might be justified in charging the same price to sit on the dead-ball line as the 22. Still I would like to test that theory!
As for the rain we only had a couple of minutes swirling mistiness hit us. But never fear, we got plenty wet walking into the City afterwards.
Christchurch is certainly lucky to have Lancaster Park so close to the City. It is a nice wee walk, which we did both ways on this occasion. I'm sure that Wellington punters are just as happy with the Cake-Tin's possy!
By chance we met up with Julesí party as we were entering. We would have insulted him more, but he had his father with him. So we limited ourselves to only 5 or 6 quips each!
We found our seats - after completely failing to comprehend the written instructions. Of course you never realise that your seats are going to be so close to the entry, it seems only natural that you are going to have to traipse around all over the show. So naturally we did this before finding they were back where we started.
All this and we hadn't opened the beers yet!-)
Game wise, the first 20 minutes were more Otago possession, but more Canterbury territory, strange as it may seem as the wind was light NE to start with. It was certainly a good indication of how the game would continue. Of course then the southerly rain started and things got even more "interesting".
Aimless kicking seemed to be the order of the day. I do think that there were less clangers from the Canterbury team, but that might just be because we kicked less. Clearing around the rucks was a major difference, Otago doing it with a vigor that suggested Viagra like drugs, and many Cantab forwards going to ground with nary a supporter in spiting distance!
Of course I would like to mention my personal gratitude (although I think that most of the rest of Canterbury would join with me) for two occasions that Otago coughed up the ball short of the line.
The second was a classic, with the Otago #5 getting his "stretch out" and "ground the ball" completely around the wrong way! Still, Richie McCaw fell centimeters short and conceded a turnover later on.
I'm not sure whether Meg was really after the drop kick, or trying to earn a penalty, but it was 3 points regardless. A good personal haul from him, it's not often that somebody scores as much as Merhts!
As is normal when Paul Honis is ref'ing, he maintained himself as the centre of attention, with his uncanny knack of not missing a bloody thing! And there were plenty of things for him to not miss, bloody or otherwise - he must wear out 2 or 3 whistles a season.
I was sitting next to Nick, our group's Otago supporter. Hadn't planned it that way, but was probably wise as DH was on my other side - stubbornly refusing to applaud anything good the Otago team did, and leading the "booing" on several occasions!
The thing Nick and I did manage to agree upon was the totally unnecessary accuracy of Mr. Honis's calls - although only the calls that went against our respective teams, of course.
I've noticed that when you are at a game, you are much more swept up in it. You don't really analyse the game as much, probably because you have to pay more attention to what is happening. The feel and flow of the game are more important than the details of legality, passage of time, etc.
Arguing semantics is for the pub! And for Rugbyheads of course!
Still that was all "by the by". In the end we Cantabrians had to be happy with the win, and Nick (and Julesí Dad) had to be happy with another gutting... I mean, close loss.
Not had the shield since 1957 eh? That's a while between drinks! No wonder they stopped making Wilson's Whiskey.