CHATHAM CUP SUCCESS - 49 years in the Making

Boy oh Boy, what a weekend, what a season! To win the league by 17 points with 4 games to go is relatively rare for any team but to go one better, despite US1 efforts to the contrary, and snatch the Chatham Cup is history in the making. Bays have got close before but the burden of league and cup has always been a hill too far. Not so with the bunch of incredible guys and one girl (Tamara). Just back the truck up a bit. We checked out the pitch on Friday evening and found it was a pitch and a half, almost 20 paces wider than our club pitch. Blooming wider compared to anything we had danced on before. But still the practice was important and went really well. Just an hour of knocking the ball around etc. The echo in such an awesome stadium is quite unbelievable. It sounds like your balls are flat or should I say half flat, the sound I mean - ah well let"s move on. Saturday morning Mr President and myself took all the gear (bibs, balls, strip, water, jelly beans, powerade, medical kit, cones, hangers, chocolate, tape, Willy"s marker pens, white board) - you know all the stuff every team manager has in his kit. We set it out in this enormous changing room No. 1. Incidentally since we were the away team, it should be Changing Room No. 4 but .... North Harbour Rugby do things vice versa to us so we end up in Changing Room No. 1. But I digress, Dunedin get No. 4. We sneak back to the club so we can get the bus back with the boys as thought it"s all a new experience. The bus takes 10 minutes to go from club to the stadium but arriving like the European teams is all part of the game isn"t it!! The boys walk into the room gobsmacked at the setup and how neat it all looks. Each player"s shirt is hanging in its right place with their name on the back (just in case they don"t know it already). The pants are all positioned on their seat with the Lotto brand symbol on the right - a pair of socks beside them tied in the same knot Janet has done all year round (Mrs Wash to the club). The boys settle in, get changed into their warm up gear, use and reuse the strapping tape or sock tape etc and throw the wasted stuff on the floor, just like home. It must be the way they are brought up now because they all do it. We must keep to a schedule otherwise Mr Glyn Taylor (who can get grumpy) will be very cross. However, we did notice there was a blue ribbon around the trophy two hours before kick off and we did wonder whether this was an omen with no maroon in sight. Glyn co-ordinates everything for the game to start on time usually for TV coverage but in this case we didn"t have any TV cameras. The most important football match in NZ club football and no TV. But lets move right along. We are 40 minutes out from kick off before we can get on the pitch to warm up. 10 minutes of that will be formalities so we must hurry. Roddy and Willy dot the i"s and cross the t"s in that time with the team, then its back inside to dress for the game. Steve and I have collected all the balls and bibs and drinks left on the pitch in the warm up so that we don"t trip over them in the game. We race back inside to find the tape and drink bottles are all over the floor again but boy do the lads look nice in their new kit. We check all their backs to make sure they are who they are supposed to be (surnames only) and start cleaning up again like two good house mothers. By this time we are supposed to walk out on the pitch before the players and go directly to the dugout. The boys line up in the tunnel, both teams side by side and with player escorts in between so as not to get into any argie bargie. They use such small kids to do this, can"t understand why, and to make these two teams even more nice and pie they hold the escorts hands as they walk onto the pitch. Maybe it"s so the little kids don"t run away and play their own game of football on this massive pitch. Anyhow by now all of you can see the two teams out on the pitch and I don"t need to explain anymore cause you all saw it from thereon. For those not there an awesome 1 0 victory over Dunedin Technical!!! Cheers


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