"That's an impressive-looking camera," said the security supervisor politely.
"Thank you," I replied.
"…Only, for future reference, we don't allow those sorts of cameras in here."
"It's very professional-looking."
"You mean it has a telephoto lens?"
"That's right. We don't mind small cameras, but nothing professional."
"Why on earth not?"
"I don't know. It's just the rules."
So I put my camera away.
I wouldn't have minded, but it's not as if had been acting like an embarrassing uncle at a wedding, getting in the way of the pros or anything. I had been sitting quietly in the seat I had paid £20 for, taking some snaps for a bit of fun.
A bit later on, I collared the security supervisor again and pointed to one of the official photographers standing behind the try-line with a two-foot long lens: "For future reference, that's a professional-looking camera," I advised. The security supervisor laughed. Then, when he was supervising the other way, I pulled out my very amateurish-looking cameraphone and took his picture. That's within the rules, apparently.
I think the Powers That Be are being rather pompous and unreasonable, saying it's OK to take photos at London Irish rugby matches, provided you don't take any good ones. So, if you are a fan of The Irish who has just Googled your favourite team and found this page, and if you'd like copies of some of the photos I took, please feel free to dowload them from my Flickr pages, print them out, send them to your friends, put them on your own websites, use them as your computer wallpaper (the Digger one is rather nice), make them into T-shirts or mugs, do what you like with them (apart from make money out of them). If you'd like higher-resolution versions of any of them, please let me know. Enjoy.
(It wasn't even a particularly good game, was it?)