Thursday, 15 April 2010

I’ve got a sore bum!

I’ve got a 50 year old sore knee as well but it’s not as painful as my backside was on the weekend. Admittedly I spent close to 20 hours sitting on it last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday whilst indulging my ultimate sporting lust, the Masters, but it wasn’t the golf that perpetrated the pain!

It was the 40 minutes I spent sitting watching the second half of the Highlanders’ clash against Journeyman John Mitchell’s Western Force at Queenstown. Like a child with worms, I spent the best part of the second stanza squirming uncomfortably in my chair, wondering how I could scratch the itch that was irritating me!

At halftime, although not in an entirely convincing manner, the Highlanders were in the game. Against the run of play they lead 22-20 at the 11th hour with 11 minutes to go. But it was the three-try capitulation that disillusioned me and probably cost the Highlanders another 3000 thousand fans, fans they can’t afford to lose, for the Hurricanes’ game in Dunedin on April 24.

I can’t help but wonder how poor old Glen Moore felt sitting in his seat? Lonely for starters and I bet he was squirming more than me.

Why is it that talented and heroic performers in the maroon of the Stags’ jersey, such as Tim Boys and Robbie Robinson, appear mediocre when they pull on the blue of the Highlanders’ kit? And Jimmy Cowan, on his day the second-best halfback in the world behind Fourie du Preez, did not look a world-beater at Queenstown.

To me, he looked like a man with the blues. And that’s who he could end up playing for next year if his obvious frustration continues. Adam Thomson’s look of total despair following yet another defensive leak in the dyke has me convinced he’s off to play with Richie McCaw and Kieran Reid at the Crusaders in World Cup year. Who could blame him?

I know it’s easy to sofa-sit, criticize and be a fair-weather fan. Like many southerners I never expected a top-four finish. Top six would have been a bonus. Truth be known, I could probably have lived with top ten if we’d competed with valour.

Speculation in the Southland Times yesterday suggested David Henderson and Simon Culhane are being lined up as Moore’s successors, possibly as early as next season. They could do well to learn a lesson from another high profile Southlander, Bill English, who partook of the poisoned chalice when taking over the National party leadership from Jenny Shipley.

Timing is everything in sport and time is something the Highlanders and their fans are running out of quickly.

I’ve supported a sometimes-struggling Southland side for four decades and finally hit pay dirt last year. I hope the Highlanders don’t keep me waiting until I’m 90. I don’t think I’ve got that much time.


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