If Alf had been back home in Eketahuna he might not have heard it, but the House was sitting and he was in the capital.
All seemed right with the world – the ACC was being sorted out, big changes were being made in education to test how kids are performing, Tariana Turia was going to be cut down to size. Then something akin to a war whoop shattered the comparative peace and quiet of Bellamys.
A Southlander, somewhere in the city, apparently was shouting “woohoo” (or something to that effect) to celebrate the return to that province of the Ranfurly Shield.
No, it wasn’t Bill English (who probably supports Wellington nowadays). It was a female enthusiast, buxom and blond, according to Alf’s informants. He suspects the Busted Blond.
Anyway, Alf is pleased to hear that Invercargill is preparing a ticker tape parade to celebrate Southland’s first Ranfurly Shield win in 50 years.
Southland’s 9-3 win over Canterbury on Thursday night should secure them a semi-final spot in the Air New Zealand Rugby Cup next weekend. The score was 3-3 at halftime.
It was Canterbury’s fifth and final defence of the Shield for the season.
Deputy mayor Neil Boniface says a date for a parade is yet to be set, but it will be as soon as possible.
Southland last held the Log of Wood in 1959 – for only one match.
A crowd was expected at Invercargill airport this morning when the players return from Christchurch at 11.30am.
No such celebrations, alas, are ever likely to take place in Eketahuna, although the prospects of a ticker tape parade in our town might pop up in conversation at the club tonight.
Some of Alf’s mates are bound to conjecture on what might have happened – or could happen – if only.
We are keen supporters of Bush, see. No, not George. Alf is referring to the Bush Rugby Football Union, which fielded a provincial team from 1890 – 1971.
The union was formed on 19 April 1890 at Pahiatua by the Pahiatua, Woodville and Eketahuna rugby football clubs. The original plan was to include Dannevirke and name the team “70 Mile Bush”, but the Dannevirke club instead opted to remain part of Hawkes Bay
In 1971 Bush amalgamated with the Wairarapa Rugby Football Union to form Wairarapa Bush Rugby Football Union. In 1950 the Wairarapa and Bush unions put up a combined team to play the touring British Lions, losing 13-27.
There are some of us who reckon we have been weakened more than somewhat by the Wairarapa component of the team, and should have remained as Bush. That would have improved our shield prospects hugely and – well, who knows?
Wairarapa Bush – fair to say – have never held the Ranfurly Shield but Wairarapa held the shield in 1927, 1928 and 1950.
Wairarapa Bush were beaten 96-10 by Canterbury in a Ranfurly Shield challenge in July 2006.
Alf remembers it well. Too many Wairarapa players and not enough Bush buggers, was his expert opinion.