Sunday, 12 March 2017

England v Scotland (Rugby)

A long awaited and much anticipated day out at Twickenham. In many ways it was just like one of those very rare big match away Cup games (beyond the 3rd Round) we have all witnessed down the years.

It started very brightly, in The Wellington at Waterloo. My Millwall-mate from Cyprus was over with his wife and his daughter and Millwall-loving son-in-law joined us. Another old Scotland football pal who had managed to get a pair of tickets was over from Norway and they made it eight. An old West Ham mucker was also meeting his other half in the vicinity and they, too, joined us for pre-match beer. In spite of our obvious differences it was good to catch-up and The Wellington is always full of such pre-match excitement and promise. 

We had a table booked up the road for what the middle classes call 'a spot of lunch.' It was a busy, touristy place on the Southbank but we had a table reserved and it did the job. After five scoffed pints of London Pride (a very under-rated real ale) I was disappointed that the restaurant had nothing on draught, so decided to switch to Argentina's famous grape and enjoyed a couple of glasses of big red. It's the said son-in-law's 30th birthday this coming Friday and I managed to ask him what time we should be meeting for Lingfield? The daggers I got from half the table and his mock quizzical look reminded me that this was meant to be a surprise and that he already knew. Awkward.

Down to Twickenham then and a perfectly timed stroll around the West Stand and into our seats for the national anthems. We were seated right in front of the TV box and Greg Laidlaw gave me a big beaming smile which I was sure was a sign. The beauty of rugby, of course, is that the punters are universally civilised and you are allowed to quaff alcohol as you suffer watch the game. A stream of Ireland's finest stout was only interrupted by news that Charlton had drawn against Real Walsall. We all met up after the match in the Scrum Bar where we spent a small fortune couple of hours listening to a cover-band before we eventually set-off for Waterloo. 

A fine day out with friends - what more could you want?

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