Scotty Stevenson: Scrumtime! A black comedy in five parts

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Photo / Kenny Rodger
Photo / Kenny Rodger

INT. East India Club - midday.

A group of middle-aged men stare at each other across a large oak table. A man dressed in tails blows a sterling silver whistle and the meeting is called to order.

The man drinking a pint of Guinness counts the heads around the table, and looks puzzled.

"We're one short!" He proclaims in an accent that matches his tipple.

The man with the whistle clears his throat and leans in to respond.

"No tie," he says, shifting awkwardly.

EXT. East India Club - 12.05pm.

The man in the black polo shirt is deep in conversation with the doorman. "But I have to wear this polo. Team issue. You of all people must understand that," he says.

The doorman looks down his nose. He is standing on a packing case marked with the initials RWC. He looks down at his own tie, a 2005 Lions one, stained with tears.

"This wouldn't have happened in my day. I had standards you know. When I was ..."

A side door opens and the man in the black polo shirt falls through it. The doorman has now attracted a small audience and hasn't even noticed the sudden disappearance. A front page from the Daily Mail flutters past him.

INT. East India Club - 12.10pm.

The group seated around the table is startled by the sudden arrival of the man in the black polo shirt, tumbling as he has through a secret door hidden in a bookshelf. A man with a can of Fosters in front of him curses under his breath.

The man with the Guinness clears his throat. "Nice of you to join us. Right, let's get on with it then. Scrums have become ... "

He is interrupted by the man with the silver whistle. "Wait for my call please," he says.

"Sorry, I'll start again, on your call."

"Right," says the man with the silver whistle, pausing with authority. "Yes, nine."

The man with the Guinness clears his throat again. "Scrums have become a bit of a ..."

The man with the silver whistle blows a shrill blast, shattering the crystal wine decanter in the middle of the table.


The new voice belongs to a distinguished looking Frenchman. He marches to the table and quickly sweeps the shards of glass off the table and under the carpet, before retreating hurriedly out of the room.

The man with the silver whistle instructs the men to stand and move the table a metre to the left and reset it there. They do as they are told and settle back into their seats.

"Yes, nine," says the man with the silver whistle to the man with the Guinness.

"Thank you. Right, I think we can all agree on why we are here so let's begin. I believe we have a powerpoint presentation to start us off.

The man in the black polo shirt begins to connect his laptop to the projector.

INT. East India Club - 3.12pm.

The man in the black polo shirt finally has the laptop working.

"Sorry," he says to the man with the silver whistle. "I usually have an analyst who takes care of this sort of thing."

Another blast on the whistle. The others wake suddenly. The man with the can of Fosters in front of him has been having a nightmare. He wakes screaming.

"Robbie ... No! ... Obstruction ref!"

He realises where he is and regains his composure. The slide show begins.

INT. East India Club - 9.23pm.

The man in the black polo shirt clicks to the last slide and shuts the laptop. The room is silent. There are 15 puzzled looks around the table. The man with the Guinness in his hand surveys the table and clears his throat. "Well, I think we have seen enough to ...

The man with the silver whistle blows another blast.

"Sorry, I haven't called time on."


"Now you can go."

"Thank you. Well gentlemen, I think we have seen enough to know we have some work to do in this area. All those in favour of convening a working group to discuss what to do with the findings of the focus group convened to discuss the findings of the trial, raise your hands."

Eight men raise their hands.

"All those in favour of agreeing right now that we need to widen the tunnel and allow the attacking team to control the feed in order to ensure we don't have another situation like the one we had in the Rugby Championship where just 39 per cent of scrums were completed, raise your hands."

Seven men raise their hands.

"Well, there it is, eight against seven," says the man with the Guinness, finishing the last drop.

"And that's the problem," says the man in the black polo shirt.

"What problem?" asks the man with the Sterling silver whistle.

- NZ Herald

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