The day had finally come. England had seen off the opposition and were playing Australia in the final. Faye and I spent the day drinking in the garden at the Banyan Tree Lodge (sounds posher than the YWCA) and preparing for what was to be a huge night out.
We arrived nice and early so we got a prime seat for the action. This didn’t actually turn out to matter as the pub was soon heaving and sitting down became pointless. An intrepid group of about 10 English people had turned up to support their country amid a baying mob of around 300 wig wearing Aussies.
What followed was an intense game and the closest fought world cup final there has ever been. The first points of the final were scored by Australia, in six minutes , Lote Tuqiri outjumped the much shorter Jason Robinson and scored a try, following a sensational cross field kick from Wallabie fly-half Stephen Larkham , the conversion unsuccessfully crashed against a post . I already had a sinking feeling in my stomach as the Darwin Community Choir began to sing that old family favourite, “Pommies Take It Up The Arse (Doo- Dah, Doo-Dah)”. Then Jonny Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal for England in the 11th minute, bringing the score to 5-3. A further penalty goal by Wilkinson in the 20th minute took England into the lead , 6-5. In the 28th minute, following a Wallabies infringement imperious Wilkinson slotted a penalty to make it 9-5 . Following a flowing attacking move involving English forwards and backs Robinson slid into the corner for a try for England in the 38th minute . England led at half-time 14-5 . We had drunk a lot by this point but the excitement had dulled the effects and so we snuck in a couple more schooners of V.B. and smoked a few cigarettes before the second half began. The second half kicked off and Elton Flatley kicked a penalty goal for Australia in the 47th minute, following the England scrummage being penalized for being too boom-ting by referee Andre Watson and taking the score to 14-8. With England dominant in possession but lacking in finishing, Wilkinson made a number of unsuccessful drop goal attempts . England’s forwards were again penalized harshly by Watson in the 61st minute, this time for allowing Rolf Harris to live in peace in England. Flatley kicked the subsequent penalty goal for Australia and England’s world cup dream was in the balance in the final quarter with only 3 points separating the teams . England were again to suffer when Flatley kicked a penalty goal on the 80th minute, taking the score to 14-all, and the match headed into extra-time.
The banter had died down and people were already congratulating each other on a game well played. Nobody knew what to make of it. As the first period of extra time kicked off, a hush fell over the pub. With nerves frayed among both sides and the thousands of fans in the Telstra Stadium Wilkinson and Flatley both scored penalties to put the score at a tantalising 17-17. After having the ball returned to England from a Mat Rogers kick, and with 26 seconds on the clock, Wilkinson kicked a final drop goal and England won their first Rugby World Cup 17-20. And we went fucking MENTAL!
We danced, we drank, we sang, we cheered and what seemed like 100 Aussies bought us drinks. At one point I was holding a 5 pint pitcher of beer in each hand. I don’t really remember the rest but I know it involved a few more drinks, and eventually we staggered back via Uncle Sams 24 hour diner and went to bed ecstatic.
For reviews and more information on what a classy venue Uncle Sams actually is, check this link out. I Love that in Darwin, a man can struggle to eat a rubber glove, then set it aside to “tackle it later” BEFORE realising it wasn’t a piece of beef. This is an ACTUAL transcript of an interview with a Darin resident who had eaten there.
Evelyn Nicholson and Rod Jockway told the Northern Territory News they made the discovery at Uncle Sam’s in Darwin.
“I thought it was a tough piece of meat,” Mr Nicholson said.
“I pushed it to one side and said I’d tackle it later.
“It turned out to be a glove.”