It’s not every day that you’re asked if you want to watch a group of tigers slug it out with a bunch of bears. But Robyn and I were invited to attend such a spectacle recently.
And no, it wasn’t one of those no-holds-barred nature documentaries on Channel 5, the latest movie blockbuster from an alternative comic book universe or, indeed, a raucously-themed hen night in Nottingham city centre.
It was, in fact, the meeting of the Leicester Tigers and the Bristol Bears in the Gallagher rugby premiership at Welford Road in Leicester.
And, just to be clear, we were asked to go and watch the game and not take part in it; although, truth be told, I always thought I could do a job for someone in the second row of the scrum and I’ve long considered Robyn to have the all-round organisational skills, vision and distribution of a young Danny Cipriani.
We took finance man Tony Shreeve along for the experience and sat in the well-appointed Mattiolli stand for a game that had huge significance for the home side.
A powerhouse of English rugby throughout the professional era – and the amateur days before that – Leicester were in very real danger of being relegated to the championship … and that has never happened before in the club’s history which boasts multiple league and cup wins.
Things had, however, gone a little awry (or, for younger readers, ‘Pete Tong’) this season for reasons too convoluted – or, to be honest, not-very-well-understood-by-me – to go into here.
Suffice to say, there was tension in the air.
Thankfully, the company was excellent; the afternoon was hosted by business development exec Molly Smith and there was ample opportunity to catch up with business contacts and enjoy the first-rate facilities and live band after the game.
It was also notable that, unlike one or two other sports we could mention, no one in the crowd – or, indeed, on the pitch – questioned the referee’s decisions or parentage.
Unfortunately, a lovely afternoon ended on a sour note as Leicester lost, meaning they were still in danger of the drop, mathematically-speaking at least (update: they’re safe now).
And, to a chap like me whose life revolves around numbers, that’s a significant stat.