1996 The Genever Challenge

Strollers respect each other for many reasons and this was never better demonstrated than the night Max wandered up to Aitch with a couple of Genevers in hand and offered one to his fellow fly half. The reason he gave was that Aitch had flown out on Saturday morning for the match but had to return home the following day and Max saw this as devotion to Stroller duty of the highest magnitude. Aitch being the only generous Tyke known to man duly returned the compliment with a different flavour Genever for the two to consume.

At this point one or other (and neither can remember which) declared that he would not allow the last Genever to be bought by the other; and from such benign  roots was the ultimately deadly Genever challenge born; for there were many varieties of Genever on sale, some say 26 were counted on the shelf. Rounds were alternately exchanged and various fellow tourists joined the fray for the odd round or three but left as the pace remained unrelenting.

Now fly halves of a certain vintage are surprisingly competitive by nature both on and off the field and neither challenger would yield; indeed at some point a “no hands” rule was introduced into the event which added the necessity to down the contents of each small necked glass in one, thereby increasing the speed of intake. Details of how the challenge ended are vague; suffice it to say that Max did not appear again on tour whilst Aitch was still in Belgium. Aitch however was roused from his bed the morning after by a bowl of cold water in order to fulfil some masochist’s desire for him to play in the 7’s team.

He managed a masterly 7 minutes of controlling the match by not moving and then left the field and hid under the first aid tent treatment table to avoid the second half!