They scored a point for every year it’s been gone – plus one for luck.
Tonight’s 27-0 shutout of Auckland was the biggest win by any Wellington Shield challenger in the 104 year history of the Log o’ Wood.
During the Great Black-and-Golden Shield Era of 1981-82 (yeah right), I paid a high price for waiting five games to get into the Shield spirit.
The first challenge I watched at Athletic Park turned out to be the last for a generation.
To put it in perspective, my eldest son, who arrived three years after the Log’s departure, has had to wait until adulthood to have a chance to experience the otherprovincely phenomenon known as Shield Fever.
(Not that you give a stuff about rugby, eh Mike?)
That Canterbury challenge of 1982 was doubly painful, as I had to endure it surrounded by a gaggle of cocky, drunken, red-and-black scarfwaving Cantabs – my cousin Graham and his Christchurch varsity mates.
For the 2008 reclamation game (nobody really doubted we’d win), Iris and I chose the next best thing to the old Park – The Temperance Bar in Blair Street, complete with two-tiered grandstand – the upper deck appropriately called The Millard.
The first half consisted largely of twinkle-toed-but-butter-fingered Aucklanders hurtling themselves upfield then dropping the ball.
They did this a lot.
Our guys only came within sight of Auckland’s line approximately twice, but each time had the decency to cross it.
10-0 at the break.
Wellington took a while to get going after the break, but with Auckland continuing their hot potato routine, victory for the Lions was never in doubt – even with Weepu missing 4 from 5.
This team of Jamie Joseph’s is showing a Canterburyesque reliability that we haven’t seen up this way for a while.
Triumph at The Temperance.