For­get the rugby, Fire­man had eyes on EPL

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - A SEAT IN THE STAND Jon Swift

It be­came in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous to the rest of the usual assem­bly that, nor­mally tol­er­ant to a fault about other peo­ple’s views, the heart and mind of the Fol­licly-chal­lenged Fire­man was a long dis­tance from the un­ceas­ing mono­logue be­ing aimed in his di­rec­tion.

But he sagely nod­ded ac­qui­es­cence at the points be­ing quite forcibly made by the Arith­meti­cally-chal­lenged Golfer, tac­itly giv­ing a nod to the Golfer’s self-pro­moted sta­tus as the ex­pert on any­thing of a sport­ing na­ture – or for that mat­ter of a non-sport­ing na­ture too.

The sub­ject, pre­dictably, was the out­come of the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal at Dur­ban’s King’s Park, a win for Western Prov­ince – a tri­umph set up by a stir­ring sec­ond half from a mag­nif­i­cent pack of for­wards and slammed home by some en­ter­pris­ing back­line play – over the Golfer’s favoured team, the Sharks. The Fire­man, to para­phrase the the words from the cin­e­matic clas­sic Gone with the Wind, quite hon­estly, couldn’t have given a damn; he had other fish to fry.

But he lis­tened pa­tiently as the self-styled ex­pert painstak­ingly went through his read of a game, which af­ter all, the Fire­man had just fin­ished watch­ing, trot­ting out cliches (in­ter­est­ingly, echoed by Sharks coach Robert du Preez) as “a game of two halves”, “a Prov­ince pack play­ing well above them­selves”, and “Curwin Bosch not hav­ing the great­est day of his ca­reer against WP fly­half Robert du Preez Jr, who can’t be his fa­ther’s favourite son right now”.

Through­out it all, the Fire­man kept his cool, nod­ded sagely and re­frained from men­tion­ing the fa­mous re­mark – in the char­ac­ter­is­tic frac­tured English of the great Boy Louw – who noted: “Looks at the scoreboard ... there’s no re­marks col­umn by the scoreboard.”

In fact, that was as apt a sum­mary of a re­sult that the Arith­meti­cally-chal­lenged One had con­fi­dently pre­dicted be­fore the start – and res­tated at half-time even as an un­con­verted Dil­lyn Leyds try just af­ter the break had put Prov­ince right back in it.

There was, in short, no let-up from the seam­less di­a­tribe un­til, at long last, the Arith­meti­cally-chal­lenged One, took what in ten­nis is termed a per­sonal com­fort break, and the smile which had started to be­come pasted glass­ily to the Fire­man’s face, was al­lowed to re­lax.

He turned to his great­est con­fi­dante, Dave the Silent, and be­gan to ex­plain a num­ber of home truths.

“Firstly,” he said, re­lief ev­i­dent in his voice, “I am fully aware that the Golfer is one of those brain­dead Sharks fans who never see any merit in the op­po­si­tion and I’m equally aware of the 33-21 score­line with­out be­ing led step by step through the 80 min­utes.

“And though I ad­mit to be­ing no ex­pert, I could also see how strong the Prov­ince pack was – and duly took note of Wilco Louw’s de­struc­tive strength in the front row.

“Se­condly,” added the Fire­man, a life­time fol­lower of West Ham and a com­mit­ted Lions sup­porter, “there was some­thing far more im­por­tant on my mind than ei­ther Western Prov­ince or the Sharks. The Ham­mers play Crys­tal Palace today and I’m record­ing it to watch when I get home.”

For the record, West Ham only man­aged a 2-2 draw with the bot­tom side in the English Pre­mier League, which edged them marginally out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

But he would have taken some so­lace the fol­low­ing day when Ever­ton – another of the the Arith­meti­cally-chal­lenged One’s favourites – were beaten 2- 0 by Le­ices­ter to take their spot in the league’s bot­tom three.

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