Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jamie's Weekly Sports Thought 05/12/08

A day is a long time if you’re thirsty. A week is a long time in politics. A year is an even longer time in sport.

I can’t help but ponder the fortunes of Graham Henry over the past 12 months. Almost a year ago to the day, this is what I wrote about Henry in this very column:

‘He was a great coach (2005-06) but he slowed badly down the home stretch and fell at the last crucial hurdle. For that, the price must be his head …. but I’ve got a feeling in my aging bones rugby HQ is about to make the biggest mistake since Colin Farrell’s selection in 1977.’

History tells us Henry was reappointed in the biggest sporting controversy since Buck Shelford was dropped from the All Blacks in 1990. It would be mean-spirited to suggest Henry has had anything but a very good year, losing only two tests, largely because the superb Richie McCaw wasn’t playing.

It doesn’t, however, change the fact that the best coach in New Zealand is coaching in Australia.

I was fortunate enough to play the Hills Cure Kids Open at Michael Hill’s stunning Arrowtown golf course last Saturday. I knew we were in for a tough day at the office when New Zealand’s most famous jeweler welcomed us in good humour by saying the course was relatively easy providing you didn’t stray from the fairways.

That was an understatement. The first short cut of rough grabbed your ball like a Guantanamo Bay torturer. The second cut would have had any silage contractor salivating.

Other than losing two balls in the hay paddock rough and coming to grief in the rocks and sand on the signature par five 17th hole, the Canyon, I probably fared about as well as my limited ability allowed.

The undoubted highlight was the fat lamb drafter Nicol Gray (a drafter of fat lambs as opposed to an overweight lamb drafter) crumbling under pressure one hole from home and paying accordingly for his crimes at the bar of the award-winning clubhouse.

Hill’s jewelry might be very reasonably priced but his bar is no place for fiscally faint-hearted! But what the heck, all the proceeds were for a very good cause. Michael Hill Jeweler and Nicol Gray Fat Lamb Drafter should be thanked for their extreme generosity in making the day extremely memorable.


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