I don't really believe in luck. I believe in opportunities and probability theory. But I also believe that I get feelings on big rugby match days, and I have nervous hunches. I had one today and it was a positive hunch and resultant feeling. England versus Wales at Twickenham. I felt luck in the air.
"35min ENGLAND 20 WALES 9 It goes right again and Alex Cuthbert rushes out of the Wales defence, but Billy Twelvetrees' neat grubber kick goes into the space where the Wales winger should have been. And there is that man Luther Burrell who dots down in the corner. Try! Superb. The compound matters for Wales, Farrell, with chalk on his boots arrows in the conversion."
I wasn't wrong and could pretty much relax down Chequers, almost right from the kick off.
England beat Wales today at home. At Twickenham.
I've been to Twickenham on more than a couple of occasions. The two most memorable were the two most social (i.e. alcoholic) of the matches. Nottingham University versus Loughborough University in the UAU Final was also my first journey into the stands. Loughborough slaughtered us, as was pretty much par for the course in the 1980s. John Lomas at full back and Brian Moore at hooker. Me and the rest of the lads from Lenton Hall at the bar getting hammered.
The second was a Varsity match - the Oxford Cambridge annual tradition. The game is a cracking excuse to socialize with business associates and clients, to then write the invoice off as an expense and the time off as client entertaining. I was there with my first company, Nielsen. Chris Weighell, Tony Meacock and I thrashed a mini bus full of booze down the M40 ahead of the rest of the team. Later, among many others, we entertained a cheese manufacturer and some big wigs in dishwasher detergents, one of whom was later fired. His tumble down the East Stand steps after a few too many may not have helped his case.
Back in those days if I went to Twickenham and I had a ticket for the sidelines I'd be right in the middle of an Archibald Leitch designed, iron work stand. Those were the times when Twickenham was a green place and by no means a concrete Fortress. Archibald Leitch was England and Scotland's most famous sports ground architects of the early twentieth century. Most of his stands followed a similar template. The grandstands were square, had standing terraces along the bottom, and the seats raised up and behind. Archie designed White Hart Lane, the infamous Hillsborough, the marvelous Trinity Road Stand at Villa Park and a couple dozen others that mattered less to me.
Next year the World Cup final will be played at Twickenham. October 31st. With some more luck like today England will have previously beaten Wales on the 26th September.
I wonder who's face will be on Thailand's bank notes come then.