The fall of the mighty

Chris Taewa

COLUMN

ORDER please. Order.

President Godfrey Worthington the third raps his knuckles on the table with the authority of a judge wielding a well-used gavel.

The volume level plummets to pin-drop silence as an extraordinary meeting of the the Pemberton Town Old Boys’ Rugby Club committee gets under way.

The tension is suffocatingly palpable. You can almost see the eggshells on the floor. Forget a butter knife. You could cut this air with one slow brush of a feather duster.

“We all know why we’re here,” Mr Worthington says, staring accusingly into every set of eyes in the room.

A week out from the most important match in Pemberton’s immemorable history, they’re having to deal with the biggest controversy since three players from the under-8 boys’ team decided to experiment with Mentos and a bottle of Coca-Cola in the back of the bus.

And it all centres around the premier club side’s star fullback.

Buck Godspeed has been a revelation. The former Eketahuna age group representative, who joined Pemberton after a Tinder date with the coach’s daughter went swimmingly well, has been a signing of earth-shattering proportion. Combining the stealth and speed of Shaun Johnson, the tactical nous and kicking game of Dan Carter, and the X-Factor freakishness of Beauden Barrett, Godspeed is the Perfect Storm of a rugby player.

Resembling the genetic synthesis of Brad Pitt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been a bonus. Pemberton’s crowd attendance has skyrocketed — teenage girls contributing 85 percent of the rise — although president Worthington has concerns over the number of bras and panties ground staff have had to pick up after match day since Godspeed’s arrival — especially the frilled knickers very much like those he bought for his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary.

But it only takes a glance at the premier points table and balance sheet to accept this 21st-century Beatlemania. Bar profits are up a staggering 500 percent and last weekend they had to bring in an extra barbecue and double the meat and onions order for the sausage sizzle. Six new tackle bags at this moment are being stitched together by six-year-old children working 18-hour shifts in a west African factory.

Too good to be true, president Worthington remembered thinking to himself after last weekend’s historic semifinal win put them into the grand final for the first time.

Too bloody good to be true.

President Worthington raises a copy of Monday’s Pemberton Enquirer and stares into a sheepish quorum — daggers the size of a Conan the Barbarian-wielded sword jettisoning from his eyes.

“BUCK NAKED ” the front page headline screams in Franklin Gothic Bold.

Below it is a grainy photograph of what appears to be a nude man on a mountain bike, weaving down Pemberton’s main street.

The story is by Edna Peabody — the Enquirer’s 84-year-old chief reporter and chairwoman of the one-member Pemberton Moral Standards Society.

“Humiliation descended on the respectable town of Pemberton at the weekend, thanks to the disgraceful antics of an ignorant import rugby head,” the intro snarled.

Said rugby head is, of course, Godspeed, who, it transpired, after scoring all 54 points in Pemberton’s semifinal demolition of the Jeffrey Cosmopolitan Club over-40s, consumed a box of Steinlager original, proclaimed himself the Cape-less Crusader and headed downtown on his trusty steed Avanti to fight crime with the help of his imaginary sidekick Throbbin.

Not a problem until this superhero decided he didn’t need undies or a utility belt and when he stopped outside Pisces Takeaways, at least six iPhones and Samsung Galaxies flashed in unison, bringing Bruce Wayne to his knees.

Godspeed’s reputation was in tatters. Not only was he not wearing a helmet, his cycle did not have a light and it was a particularly cold night.

The young man decided to cop it on the chin, mistakenly thinking the punch would be thrown by Naz Khanjani, not Joseph Parker.

Appearing live on Pemberton 2XS, he read an emotional statement to the community. He apologised for everything and everyone…..Donald Trump, global warming, The Real Housewives of Auckland, kale, white middle-class men who do the haka while abroad, comb-overs and The NRL Bunker.

But most of all, he said with as much teary-eyed-ness that can be conveyed over the airwaves — though it was livestreamed and he was scheduled to appear on Paul Henry and the Jono and Ben Show — most of all, he was sorry to his family. He had let them, his teammates, his country, Lorde, Peter Jackson, Colin Meads and Willie Apiata down.

And when asked if he had anything else to say, he replied: “All credit to the opposition, it was a game of two halves.”

ORDER please. Order.

President Godfrey Worthington the third raps his knuckles on the table with the authority of a judge wielding a well-used gavel.

The volume level plummets to pin-drop silence as an extraordinary meeting of the the Pemberton Town Old Boys’ Rugby Club committee gets under way.

The tension is suffocatingly palpable. You can almost see the eggshells on the floor. Forget a butter knife. You could cut this air with one slow brush of a feather duster.

“We all know why we’re here,” Mr Worthington says, staring accusingly into every set of eyes in the room.

A week out from the most important match in Pemberton’s immemorable history, they’re having to deal with the biggest controversy since three players from the under-8 boys’ team decided to experiment with Mentos and a bottle of Coca-Cola in the back of the bus.

And it all centres around the premier club side’s star fullback.

Buck Godspeed has been a revelation. The former Eketahuna age group representative, who joined Pemberton after a Tinder date with the coach’s daughter went swimmingly well, has been a signing of earth-shattering proportion. Combining the stealth and speed of Shaun Johnson, the tactical nous and kicking game of Dan Carter, and the X-Factor freakishness of Beauden Barrett, Godspeed is the Perfect Storm of a rugby player.

Resembling the genetic synthesis of Brad Pitt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been a bonus. Pemberton’s crowd attendance has skyrocketed — teenage girls contributing 85 percent of the rise — although president Worthington has concerns over the number of bras and panties ground staff have had to pick up after match day since Godspeed’s arrival — especially the frilled knickers very much like those he bought for his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary.

But it only takes a glance at the premier points table and balance sheet to accept this 21st-century Beatlemania. Bar profits are up a staggering 500 percent and last weekend they had to bring in an extra barbecue and double the meat and onions order for the sausage sizzle. Six new tackle bags at this moment are being stitched together by six-year-old children working 18-hour shifts in a west African factory.

Too good to be true, president Worthington remembered thinking to himself after last weekend’s historic semifinal win put them into the grand final for the first time.

Too bloody good to be true.

President Worthington raises a copy of Monday’s Pemberton Enquirer and stares into a sheepish quorum — daggers the size of a Conan the Barbarian-wielded sword jettisoning from his eyes.

“BUCK NAKED ” the front page headline screams in Franklin Gothic Bold.

Below it is a grainy photograph of what appears to be a nude man on a mountain bike, weaving down Pemberton’s main street.

The story is by Edna Peabody — the Enquirer’s 84-year-old chief reporter and chairwoman of the one-member Pemberton Moral Standards Society.

“Humiliation descended on the respectable town of Pemberton at the weekend, thanks to the disgraceful antics of an ignorant import rugby head,” the intro snarled.

Said rugby head is, of course, Godspeed, who, it transpired, after scoring all 54 points in Pemberton’s semifinal demolition of the Jeffrey Cosmopolitan Club over-40s, consumed a box of Steinlager original, proclaimed himself the Cape-less Crusader and headed downtown on his trusty steed Avanti to fight crime with the help of his imaginary sidekick Throbbin.

Not a problem until this superhero decided he didn’t need undies or a utility belt and when he stopped outside Pisces Takeaways, at least six iPhones and Samsung Galaxies flashed in unison, bringing Bruce Wayne to his knees.

Godspeed’s reputation was in tatters. Not only was he not wearing a helmet, his cycle did not have a light and it was a particularly cold night.

The young man decided to cop it on the chin, mistakenly thinking the punch would be thrown by Naz Khanjani, not Joseph Parker.

Appearing live on Pemberton 2XS, he read an emotional statement to the community. He apologised for everything and everyone…..Donald Trump, global warming, The Real Housewives of Auckland, kale, white middle-class men who do the haka while abroad, comb-overs and The NRL Bunker.

But most of all, he said with as much teary-eyed-ness that can be conveyed over the airwaves — though it was livestreamed and he was scheduled to appear on Paul Henry and the Jono and Ben Show — most of all, he was sorry to his family. He had let them, his teammates, his country, Lorde, Peter Jackson, Colin Meads and Willie Apiata down.

And when asked if he had anything else to say, he replied: “All credit to the opposition, it was a game of two halves.”

• Buck Godspeed was stood down for the final to deal with personal issues. Pemberton Town OB beat the Pemberton Boys’ Collegiate 2nd XV 24-23 , Godspeed’s replacement slotting a controversial 80th-minute penalty awarded by the referee and employee of President Worthington. Godspeed never graced the field of Pemberton again, instead heading overseas on a six-figure contract with a club in an Irish county where people are regularly seen riding bikes naked.

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