Monday, 25 May 2009

Until very recently the only waterfall I’d witnessed was at Mataura!

That experience was dwarfed somewhat by a recent visit to the Niagara Falls. Then as fate would have it, in a waterfall double-dip, a trip to Taupo last weekend meant I ticked the Huka Falls box.

And the while the mighty Waikato river tumbling through a hard rock chasm was a sight to behold, my mind kept floating back to Peter Plumley-Walker who floated over the falls in 1989.

For those of you with short memories, the mustachioed Plumley-Walker was the infamous cricket umpire who made a few dodgy decisions! Seems naughty old Pete was into a bit of bondage and discipline and got caught out leg before wicket when one of disciplinary sessions with a dominatrix went sadly awry. The net result of which saw a bound and gagged (and dead) Plumley-Walker preside over the ultimate dismissal before departing to that great scoreboard in the sky.

All of which got me reminiscing about 1989. It’s 20 years ago but it only seems like yesterday we witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, George Bush senior taking residence at the Whitehouse, David Lange resigning as Prime Minister, Paul Holmes making his television debut on the self-titled Holmes and four men surviving 119 days at sea on the upturned Rose-Noelle.

On the sporting front the All Blacks under the stewardship of Grizz Wylie and Buck Shelford were untouchable, Southland beat France 12-7 at Rugby Park, Susan Devoy reined supreme on the squash court, Tawrrific won the Melbourne Cup, the Canberra Raiders beat the Balmain Tigers in the NRL final, Nick Faldo won the Masters and a 21 year old Boris Becker won his third Wimbledon title in five years.

Super rugby, as we know it, did not exist, let alone in a format that would eventually take half a year to complete! We were the Rugby World Cup holders and with Shelford, the Whetton twins, Steve McDowell, Michael Jones, Grant Fox, Joe Stanley and John Kirwan running the cutter, we were hot favourites and full of hope to repeat the effort in 1991.

But time and tide have a way of biting you in the bum or, in Plumley-Walker’s case, whipping you cruelly. Back in 1989 I loved rugby. Twenty years on, with the World Cup cupboard still bare from 1991, I hope the hope of 2011 will reignite the passion.


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