Well we had a great night hosting our old friends John and Dee. As well as a nice meal out we had some laughs and a few memories stirred watching some film footage Dee had taken at a party for my 40th birthday from all of 8 years ago, ahem. Great times. We even got to bed at a reasonable hour which is a bit unusual for when we get together.
I have been accused of being a bit of a professional northern, wearing my up north cloak when it suits, then reverting to urbane London-lifer/Italian medallion man the rest of the time. Well isn’t that what we all do if truth be told ie fit in as seemlessly as possible into your surroundings? It’s not like I bang on about how wonderful life is in Barnsley like Michael Parkinson or talk faux scouse like Cilla Black whilst both have spent the last 40 years living in leafy Surrey. I’m the first person to sing the praises of a place but also to point out its idiosyncracies and downsides. Look at my last posting if you want proof!
Well it has been a tough time on the sports front for England fans of late but just as things seem darkest along comes not just a fantastic win but an absolute mullering of the Aussies in the second Test in their own back-garden. The baggy greens are in disarray and there’s a national call to re-instate the podgy one. Ho, ho, ho. No wonder Ponting looks haunted. Oh it’s good to be a proud Englishman sometimes because let’s face it we get so many disappointments thrown at us (usually self-inflicted) and we have to take our pleasure when we can. Our cricketers are playing brilliantly and whilst one victory doesn’t signal an Ashes series win, being 1 up is verrry satisfying as my good friend Ben demonstrates below. Enjoy!
We had friends round yesterday for a late and lazy lunch. I haven’t drunk as much wine in ages and today I’ve felt pretty jaded to be honest. But first thing this morning I checked out the BBC sport website to find out how things worked out at the Open. I was rather hoping to find that Ross Fisher had won it and had had to miss the presentation ceremony to dash to be at his wife’s side as she was about to have a baby. It would have made for some great headlines – ‘Birth of an Open Champion’ and all that. And if Fisher hadn’t won it then I would have been almost as happy to see fellow Englishman Lee Westwood win his first Open. But if truth be told I was kind of hoping to read that Tom Watson had defied sporting logic to win his 6th Open at the age of 59.
Well it was kind of ironic that we were talking to one of the main umpiring bodies today about representing them in sponsorship finding activity and all the main sporting headlines were being made over an umpiring decision. The context of course is the test series between Australia and India, where Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was banned for the duration of the test series after being found to have called Australia’s only non-white player Andrew Symonds a monkey. Tonight the ICC bowed to pressure from the Indian authorities, who were suggesting that they might pull out out of series, and had umpire Steve Bucknor removed from umpiring the forthcoming test. They are also seeking to have Harbhajan’s suspension overturned. This sorry affair says an awful lot about the state of cricketing politics and ethics.
Well all the papers are doing it so I thought I’d do my own favourite sporting memories, and some not so glorious ones, of the year. So here goes: Continue reading
Have you caught the stuff in the press these last few days about those at the very top of our primary sports criticising each other? In the Sundays we saw both Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt (both of whom I have lots of time for) criticising the England team manager Brain Ashton for his ineffective leadership during the RWC, in their autobiographies released now they have announced their retirements from the international game. This came on the heels of former England cricket team coach, Duncan Fletcher, announcing in his autobiography that his captain during the disastrous Ashes series, Freddy Flintoff, was irresponsibly pissed for much of the time. Continue reading