Emirates Team NZ coach Rod Davis discloses an incident that occurred during the America's Cup World series in Plymouth, England.
Half-way through the Plymouth regatta. I am sitting in the coaches’ office, well the office is a rigging/boat building container where Joe Allen and I fight for space with the shore team, with my back to mid container doors.
Even though the doors open into a huge tent housing the AC45 cat and its wing, it is cold. After all this is Plymouth, England, not really known for late summers, or any summer for that matter.
We are all a little on edge, as we have been told, in no uncertain terms, no screw ups. Little things will matter. Translation: make sure your belt is a North Sails belt, your shoes are Camper shoes, etc. It was safer to disappear unless you a good reason to be at the base.
All this because Grant Dalton is to have a major summit with all our sponsors and marketing people at the other end of the tent; complicated stuff of whose logos go where on the boat and wing. They have heaters down there, not that the meeting needs them.
There is a muffled conversation behind me, just outside the door. I pay no attention, until I hear Tyson Lamond say, 'Could you just step in here while we sort this out'. Alarm bells start ringing. This can’t be good. I turn about to see Glenn Ashby, head down, hands behind his back handcuffed with two of Plymouth’s finest, one on each side. Our little Aussie looked a like a school boy in deep trouble. He did not want to look at any one, just at the ground and hope it would somehow swallow him up.
If things has not keep going downhill, Tyson would have been player of the day for getting the situation out of sight and ear shot of Dalts and the meeting. They train their cops well in England. Glenn had no chance. Each of the police officers locked their arm under Glenn’s bound arms and lifted him into the container. No nonsense and no messing around here. The cops were about 30ish, fit, and stern. Very much in control
Joe’s reaction was to defuse the situation by adding petrol. 'Do you know who this guys is?' Joe’s opening shot. Like that would make all the difference. Joe was dreaming if he thought the Cops quiver and say, 'Oh, he’s Mr Ashby, and you’re Mr Allen! Sorry, we’ll get the cuffs off, forget the whole thing and slink away.'
My only question was 'what happened'. (That comes from years of asking umpires for the facts found). Apparently Glenn got into a scuffle with some local lads who had been drinking. Rugby was the catalyst and whether England sucks more than Australia. It got out of hand. Punches thrown and a local lad when down, hard. This is Team New Zealand, if Glen had been defending the All Backs rather than the Wallabies maybe it could have gone better for him.
The bad news is the cops want to see the man in charge before they take Glenn to the cop shop for booking. Oh, this is going really bad now. Excuse Dalts from a very important meeting with our sponsors to sort out one of his players who had just got himself arrested. Great, just wonderful. It crossed my mind to say 'we will go with you now while we take him into custody and will deal with this all later'. But they were insistent.
Dalts comes into the container and the cops tell the story again. After listening with no emotion, he grabs Glenn’s chin with his left hand, and flicks is head up so they are eye ball to eye ball. I thought Glenn was about to get an all mighty right hook from Dalts clenched fist. But he just stared at him. After what felt like an eternity, but was probably five seconds, Dalton pushed Glenn’s chin to the side and said 'well the other guy is not much of a fighter…there is not a mark on him!'
One cop said something to the effect that might be true but it’s all a jack up anyway.
They got me, hook, line and sinker, the boat too. Got Tyson and Joe, but he will now try to deny it. Did they suck in Dalts? Hard to tell, Dalt’s reaction would be been the same either way. Under arrest or a practical joke? No, not really true. As Dalts made very clear to everyone, in one scenario, Glenn Ashby would be looking for a new job.
It turns out Glenn was on his way to the tent, when the cops asked him if they could see the boat. Glenn said sure, but we can do better that than that!
The two cops get Oscars for their performance, Glenn did not have a speaking role but never deviated from the script, even while Dalts was eye-balling him. Me? I just got sucked in like everyone else.
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