John Gibson: Mike’s still very much on the ball

I thought he was having me on. He’s the arch-humorist. “Meet Mike Cipolatto,” said Norrie Rowan.The kind of invitation nobody in his right mind could refuse.

Not being a rugby man, I’d never heard of Mike. He did sound like a chip off the old block. Introductions to Rowan’s assorted guests are never dull. This one had form.

A Melrose stalwart, I learned, he was top try scorer in Scotland in successive seasons in the Sixties. He was doing law at Edinburgh University then and to speed him down to Melrose in time to train, the polis would stall the traffic in Galashiels. So it’s chronicled.

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Retired Mike still puts himself about. Friday night he addressed the haggis at Meggetland.

Rowan had also roped into the Dome for lunch another of rugby’s kent faces, referee Graham Allan, who officiated in the women’s sevens in Tobago last month. He was for some years Heinz’s representative in South America. Another of the 57 varieties who grace Rowan’s table.

Stormin’ Norman would have the last word at the sherry trifle. Digressing, he opined: “Lesley Hinds is a rottweiler in knickers” and the SRU “have handled Scottish rugby so badly it’s unbelievable”.

Afterwords . .

. . . Somebody, maybe my butcher, just the other day reminded me everything has an end. Only the sausage has two.