3. Even More Bard News

Incredible! Revelatory! Stunning! All great words you will find in any dictionary. The response to the South Atlantic e-mails has been equally remarkable but we’re going to ignore it anyway and persist in bringing you:


First published in Rugby League World, Issue 433 (May 2017)

Dear Uncle Nigel,

I suspect you may think the attached expenses claim a trifle excessive but let me assure you it was money well spent. I was returning from a long day promoting under eights rugby in the schools of Hoxton Bonnet, when I ran into my landlady Delores Dubois watering her dahlias in the hotel lobby. She invited me to join her in the hotel bar for a small sweet sherry. We then moved onto pale ale, milk stout, several pints of Guinness, some pisko sours, a McDonalds double thick milkshake (two straws) and of course your old favourite, Drambuie and Babycham – all of which she charged to my hotel room. Hence the expenses claim. However after we finally hit the crème de menthe Delores opened up and told me all about her life and at the end passed me a copy of an article she had written for ‘Oi You’, the South Atlantic’s slightly more aggressive answer to Hello Magazine. It was an interview with Bard Island Barracudas reclusive chairman Kinton Nesscliffe. Highlights follow but keep them to yourself. It’s heavily embargoed and if it leaks out early there will be lawsuits flying around like punches at a Hull derby.


Kinton Nesscliffe: the Man, the Myth, the Manure

Towering over the town of Talbot Rothwell is the Bard Island Chunky Chips Superbowl, better known to the crowds that flock there as the Fish Pond, home to Bard Island’s Rugby League Champions the Barracudas. I’m here to meet their Chairman, the legendary turd tycoon Kinton Nesscliffe, the Bard Islander who has made millions on the international manure market and reinvested them in his home town. There’s no escaping Kinton in the town –and there’s no escaping Kinton at the stadium as standing outside it is an eye-catching 7 foot tall statue of him depicted as a Greek god naked apart from a fig leaf and a rugby ball. I was still looking at the rippling muscles and thighs you want to sink your teeth into when his son Braithwaite met me and took me up to see the great man in his spacious office.

In the flesh Kinton is an energetic septuagenarian with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, although considerably shorter than his statue. There is however, despite what his detractors might say, not even the slightest whiff of manure. I started our conversation by asking about that statue.

“It’s very good isn’t it? When I suggested we have a statue outside the stadium I thought it would be of a former player or one of those modern ones that look like a penny farthing put through a mangle but somehow represent the egalitarian spirit of the game. However we put it to a public vote and well I be blowed, the public chose me! Didn’t they Braithwaite?”

“They did Dad. Fair and square. Nothing dodgy about the decision and I should know. I counted the votes.”

“You see I’m very popular in this town. In fact I’m surprised they’ve not re-named it after me! Only joking of course. Actually though we did discuss it with the council but it would have meant changing all the stationary.”

What’s the statue made of? Is it bronze?

“You’d think so wouldn’t you? No it’s manure. Dugong dung to be exact. Leave it long enough and it sets like concrete. Then you glaze it with cuttlefish urine and it polishes up a treat. The Statue of Liberty would have been made the same way but they couldn’t get enough dung so they had to settle for copper instead. You know you can do anything with the right kind of manure. Everyone knows they make instant coffee from sawdust and rabbit droppings but manure is everywhere. Paint, shampoo, toothpaste. I even know some people who put it on their roses to make them grow better.

“Of course you have to use right sort of manure. Use cow when you should have used horse and disaster! That’s how I made my millions of course. Knowing when to use cow, when to use horse and when only camel will do. They call me the Einstein of Excrement. No one knows it like me. I can tell you everything about a turd just from sight, smell, touch, and taste. And it’s the same with Rugby League players. I can tell everything about them the same way. Well not so much taste.”

Young Braithwaite interjects at this point to add, “You say that Dad but you did lick Dick Cressida to see if he’d make a good scrum half…”

“True I did”

Obviously I have to ask: what did he taste like?

“Chives. With a hint of lemon. That’s not right for a scrum half. They should be more… minty.”

Cressida’s been on good form this season. Is he the key to the Barracudas’ success?

“Cressida’s done some good stuff. He’s also done some bad stuff so it all balances out and he’s not getting a raise not matter how often he asks for one.”

Some have said you’re not a team player. What is your relationship like with Bard Island RFL chief executive Tedstone Dellamere. Didn’t you recently call him “a facetious fool who can go and boil his head?”

“Oh that was just a bit of banter. Ted and I just disagree on certain things. For example he thinks it’s bad for the game if the Barracudas win everything and I don’t. I think history will prove who’s correct there.”

Thank you for your time Mr Nesscliffe.


Finally, have you seen that controversial new film purportedly about the 1973 BARLA tour of the local area – Kong: Skull Island. Here on Bard there has been much criticism of the many factual inaccuracies in the film: the giant gorilla wasn’t that big, no one involved in the tour had ever fought in Vietnam (although some had been involved in a punch-up in Cheltenham) and as a scout from Featherstone Tom Hiddleston couldn’t get the accent right (although Delores’ main complaint was that he didn’t take his shirt off enough). Hopes are higher though for the proposed sequel Skull Island II: King Kong Vs Ashton Sims.

Until next time

Yours faithfully

Crispin St Claire

(Read the next thrilling instalment in Rugby League World, every month until the editor gets bored, gets sacked or stops getting the jokes).