Wellington End of Season Tour 2017
A personal account from our very own roving reporter, Baz Hutchinson.
I arrived late to the party at around 3pm Friday, to find a sea of blue and the bar staff of the ol’ faithful Cambridge Hotel already exasperated. Thirty six lads all decked out in their club tour shirts had come in hot from drinking in Auckland Airport (and most likely the plane and Wellington Airport too) in the early hours and are all now having a sing-song, betting on a few ponies and building floor-to-ceiling towers with the empty jugs they’ve drank from. It is exactly the preparation a sports team needs for their exhibition games of football that will be underway inside of 24 hours.
As is tradition we all drink and eat together in the Cambridge pub only to disband and splinter off at a point where we probably wouldn’t get served in another bar anyway – football fellows have never been accused of being the brightest bunch. But get into bars we do… with the door staff of Courtney Place realising they’ve made a rod for their backs in letting pockets of us cross the threshold to indulge in polite conversation with local ladies and further our pre-match preparation for the morrow.
I don’t remember anything else about that Friday night…
I do remember waking up with a banging head on the Saturday though! This is a marked improvement from last year where I spent the Saturday in hospital through faults of my own: trying to drink through a gastro bug is a road to ruin! We decide which of the guys are least likely to crash our hired minivans and then all pile into our chariots to be driven up to the Hutt Valley. We’re about to play in long standing friendlies against an Upper Hutt team and a Palmerston North team, who are probably very keen to take points off a bunch of JAFAs. No ‘tournament’ would be complete without a pit stop at the Rimutaka Tavern for some pool and further drinking to hone our skills and attributes to make us a wonderful sporting weapon.
…needless to say that we lost both games…
…but fun was definitely had and even more drinking was undertaken. It’s always a pleasure to play these teams every year and we share pleasantries as trophies are exchanged. After just a little bit more drinking, we all go back on the party bus to Wellington to the sound of “Freed from Desire” on repeat for an hour.
After inflicting ourselves upon the Cambridge staff for another hour or so longer, we all again splinter off as teams have some pre-existing rituals at the local ‘Indian’ or similar for a bit of team bonding. For my efforts, I’ve managed to persuade a few of the lads it’d be a great idea to dress up in lederhosen and attend Wellington’s Oktoberfest. I only have glimpses of memory after this. Some of the memories involve me being on a Courtenay Place dance floor in a ladies dress (of which I have no recollection of acquiring) and another of me being sat on the floor in a kebab shop. The worst thing about this is I’m pretty sure I was one of the FIRST to bed!
Sunday mornings with a Cambridge Hotel fry-up is always a time for quiet reflection of terrible life choices made and a solemn vow to never do this trip again… until next year. All that is left is a quiet prayer to one’s self not to throw up on the flight back and hope that your partner is indulgent of your terrible hangover.
Remember… never again… until next year.