Getting into Kempton Park last Saturday was quite a mission as no one knew where the Barnard Stadium was, all one could see was a lot of small buildings and dust making me feel we were in for a horrid day with the way the wind was blowing violently.
A supporters experience by Sharks_Lover
At last having found the stadium I could see trees and the blue main stand rooftop and a black wave of Sharks supporters waving their flags franticly and showing their passion for a team loved so much.
Around the field were jumping castles and beer tents as spectators awaited the match.
Then it was match time as we took our seats amongst a crowd I estimated at around 10000 people, of whom I am sure 98% must have been sharks supporters. One could truly not see a red jersey unless you looked long and hard, but the match got underway and for the next 90 min plus we watched a game that was honestly being played with the foot off the pedal as far as the Sharks were concerned.
One could tell that the Sharks just wanted to win and get off the pitch fearing injuries that could hamper the team for the rest of the tournament. From a Falcons point of view it seemed they were more interested in disrupting play and to be honest they niggled the Sharks players to such a degree that the game never got started and had no flow to it.
Sadly the officials didn’t play their part to make it a better game for this small but very vocal crowd. The wind factor also contributed with continuous dust blowing into the players’ faces which I am sure made it very difficult to breath, out on the pitch. One could see that, although slightly green, this pitch was bone dry and very hard.
The Final whistle blew and crowds went crazy to get onto the field. There was a buzz and with constant cheering and singing it was time for the MOM to be chosen, my wife, myself and a few friends made our way onto the field but found it impossible to get close to the MOM announcement area as about every supporter wanted to be first and wanted to see their heroes.
This is where I as a Sharks supporter feel there is only one team in the world, and feel that every supporter out there is important to the Sharks team as after they left the field and the MOM announcement, they then returned onto the field with 100’s of supporters chanting and cheering, girls with banners wanting Steyn to marry them, others chanting Steyn Steyn Steyn, and We want Steyn etc. Needless to say the players signed like crazy and had photos taken of themselves with supporters for around 30 min.
Then it was off to the after match function to which we had been invited, around 200 people sat awaiting the players’ arrival with refreshments flowing. Then they arrived to the screaming of Sharks fans.
I had memorabilia to have signed for an extremely sick young lady that worships, the Sharks, laying in hospital in PTA having been diagnosed with cancer 2 days after the last sharks Bulls match. For this I was allowed into the cordoned off area for the team and officials. Thus I got to meet all the players and coach etc, and what a function it turned out to be for me. (I ALSO ASK IF ANYONE THAT READS THIS COULD SPARE A THOUGHT FOR YOLANDI JONES AGED 27, AND IF YOU CAN FIND IT IN YOU HEART TO PRAY FOR HER IN HER TIME OF NEED)
Firstly I have to say John Plumtree is an absolute gentleman and was so open and frank as we spoke,
A couple of things he said were, quite interesting, as I asked him about some of the players and going forward to the business end of the Currie Cup
I asked about the Bismark and John Smit issue, where I said I felt Smitty would do well at prop as I thought that it would help to have both Bismark and Smitty to get enough gametime, his answer to that was “100% correct!”
I said I felt we needed another lock where he said nope, Hargreaves is as good as any lock around and although very young he is starting to come into his own.
We carried on talking with Grant Bashford joining, when Plumtree made a comment about Smitty being his trump card, to which he had a huge smile on his face. How one takes that comment I do not know as we all have been asking the question of, where to from here for Smitty
This in a way helped to see the coach’s thoughts and where the sharks were heading and how badly they wanted to win the Currie Cup, from there I moved to getting the things signed by all the players etc,
And during this time I got to talk to all the players, whom I must say were so friendly and giving of their time.
Adi and I spoke quite a bit where he told me he is actually tired of all the talk about him going to WP,
In his words “I AM GOING NOWHERE.” He and I spoke of Bradley Barritt and how sad it was to lose him, Adi saying that no doubt Bradley would be playing for England. Having had a chat to Bradley too, he told me this, IF I GET A CALL FOR THE BOKS IT WOULD BE MY ALL, this shows you where his heart actually lies.
It was amazing how many of the players asked me the same question. That being “what and how do we as sharks supporters clubs do for the games” and they were amazed at all I told them about our gatherings and how we travel for the sake of our beloved Sharks.
One thing I must say, there is a vibe and a very tight unity within the Sharks camp. THEY MEAN BUSINESS
Then it all came to an end as the bus departed for the Airport and the crowd dispersed.
To the Sharks I say THANK YOU for a wonderful day and a day where I learnt how amazing it was to be a supporter of a team I loved so much, but a team that loved us as well, for what we do as supporters.Tweet