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The dream trip


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 3 Nov 2011 at 11:41
Tagged with : , , , , ,

It started as a pipe dream, slowly turned into a half decent idea and eventually became reality when I set off from the annual PKF Beerfest to make my way to Johannesburg to watch the Currie Cup Final at Ellis Park. Most of you will know the eventual result of this match, but we have to start this story at the very beginning.

It all began whilst sitting in the stands, watching the Sharks beat a hapless Cheetahs outfit in the semi finals of the Currie Cup, with the mind wandering to the following Saturday, and whether Durban fans will be lucky enough to witness a second consecutive Final on the hallowed grass of Kings Park.

That was not to be as the Lions duly taught a certain Cape based franchise a lesson in how to play rugby and in so doing, booking a first final at Ellis Park since 2002, a final they lost to the then mighty Blue Bulls. It was at this stage that the seed was planted and the thought of going to Johannesburg first came to me. 48 hours later, I had successfully purchased my ticket to the game (after much frustration caused by a local Computicket outlet that decided to take a day off), had flights and a rental car booked and was significantly poorer, but I was going to the Final.

The trip started in the best possible way, with a nice three hour delay to my flight, that eventually had us stuttering onto the landing strip at a haunted Lanseria airport at 00h15 on Friday night / Saturday morning, after what I was sure was going to be my final minutes on this planet! This was the first of many signs that this trip might not be as successful as originally hoped.

The day of the final was a beautiful one, with not as much as a cloud in the sky after the weather man had promised me a cold and rainy day, but believe me, I was not complaining! For those who don’t know Johannesburg and the location of Ellis Park, it is like going to a stadium in the middle of smelly West Street. In other words, Ellis Park’s main draw card was most definitely not location, location, location.

After fighting an hour and a half’s traffic to travel the required 30km’s into the big stink, I caught the first glimpses of my ultimate destination, a rather worn down Ellis Park that is in desperate need of a good wash. With an hour or so to go before kick off, the crowd was still mulling around the entrance, yet things moved quite quickly and before I knew it, I was in my seat listening to Kurt Darren entertaining the crowd with Kaptein, Span die seile.

The less said about the actual game, the better, but congratulations must go to the Lions for winning their first Currie Cup title in 12 years, and also winning their first home final in 61 years. The atmosphere inside the stadium was phenominal, with 62,000 people crammed in and vocally getting involved with every single one of the referee’s poor decisions. The highlight of the afternoon was the National Anthem being sung before kick off, with Kurt Darren getting all his words right, and anybody who didn’t have goose bumps was either deaf, or dead inside.

Honesty will now prevail, as the rest of the trip revolved around drowning my sorrows and somehow getting home without hearing another ‘Lions eating sushi’ chirp, as even the pilot on the flight back got a dig in. Speaking of, the trip was not complete without another wonderful delay, with a scheduled 20h00 flight eventually taking to the sky at 22h30.

Lessons learnt on this trip include:
- Never fly to Lanseria, you WILL be delayed
- Never, ever go to Ellis Park thinking it will be clean
- Never take a bet with a Lions fan that will result in you picking up his bar tab
- And lastly, avoid Johannesburg like the plague



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