It has all been said, and it has all been gone over, but for what it is worth, here is my tuppence-worth, on the most exceptional days sport ever witnessed.
I had on Saturday decided to lose a packet on X-Court sets in the Ladies Final. Essentially I reasoned this was going to be close. Serena would win two sets to one, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. My bet involves multiplying the scores and adding them, thus 42 + 24+ 42 = 108. Memory suggests the mid-market price was around 50. I did my biscuits buying everything north of that, and the resulting 6-2 6-2 result (24) was a bitter financial body blow. It also ensured that I swerved the same bet in the Men’s final. My thinking was Djokovic wins, it’s going to be a tough match, he wins in three sets to one in big numbers – call it 94ish, maybe tops a ton. Phew, gentle readers, the makeup (the actual result), was 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 or in X-Court spread terms 270.
I would almost certainly have bottled it after the second set and would have definitely wiped my face and walked away after the third. It also meant that I could relax and watch the game.
There’s an often overused word. Relax why don’t you amd watch probably the best F1 GP I have ever seen, with six drivers being tactically astute, stubborn, lucky, neat, brave, fearless and ruthless to a degree rarely seen in what has become a pretty repetitive sport governed by rules and money and very, very short people. The battle throughout between Red Bull (principally Verstappen) and Ferrari (both Le Clerc and Vettel) was extraordinarily thrilling, relentlessly skilful and continually driving to extremes that delivered genuine edge-of-the-seat moments with hands in mouth smothering the gasps of disbelief. Hamilton won because of a Safety Car… no he won because he refused to come in – … no because they thought the ever-smiling Vaseline Botox had a problem and they were going to bring him in… or not … or they did… or they didn’t. Either way, the inevitable SC came on (Six of the last seven F1s at Silverstone have required the yellow dusters be waved), and like a cat on a slow starling, Hamilton was in, tyred and out to replace Potash at the front. He won, he set a new record, he behaved properly, he thanked the crowd, he thanked his team….he is becoming a good egg.
MeanwhileTMS had kept us abreast of the cricket; (somebody, please put Tuffers up for a gong, his relentless good humour and charm make him essential listening); and we had managed to get them out for 242. Containable, winnable. But then those two words became a Kiwi mantra, They contained England they took us to the edge and, but for another lucky accident – but without the use of a Safety Car – Stokes got an extra four runs that delivered a draw, and the elephant in the room that is the Super Over.
Meanwhile we were flicking back to the Tennis and now back to the cricket on TV. Thank God the GP finished when it did! Back and forth. Bravery, Guts, Astonishing Grace in Defeat, Extraordinary palpitating vicarious pleasure at these athletes victory. I’m afraid today that knackered ain’t in it. We are exhausted and still seeing a shot by Federer in the 5th set that hung in the air for an eternity. and the rueful apology of Stokes, who is man enough to apologise for someone else’s misfortune and the sight of Vettel slamming into the backside of Verstappen in a manoeuvre we have seen before known as the Witty German Braking Move, which few find funny.
The Losers were not seen of course. They were the millions of people who didn’t know there was a World Cup going on – because an extra £23pm is beyond them in tough times. Don’t say “Well Done Sky” for handing it over to C4 – instead, ask Terrestrial companies what their purpose is? Get rid of everyone in TV earning more than £150k and buy some bloody content that isn’t produced by people in grey aged 22, who think Cricket is for fuddy-duddies.
People who focus on the outcome and not the action annoy me (not you, Oh Sage).
Archer is not a mature bowler who held his nerve. He bowled a wide with his first ball and a wide with his last ball which he speared down leg side wide of the stumps. Had the batsman left it then they would have had one to win and another ball to receive. Because they had a swipe at it and fell short, Archer is hailed as having held his nerve. Piffle.
The same is true in racing. Many of the best rides are on beaten horses, many of the best training performances are the result of nicking black type with a third-placed filly, who was not really up to it.
Amelia went to bed upset that Federer had lost rather than focussing on the achievement of five hours at the highest level against an outstanding opponent. The outcome was not the one she wanted but it was an amazing performance.
Welcome back. Long may the light of your insights illumine some murky corners in all our minds.
I totally agree…. to a point. Or rather to the point. Yes, Archer wobbled, but that’s what pressure and responsibility do to a player. Djokovic’s second set and seven unforced errors, another wobble. Verstappen’s DRS management perhaps another. Konta? The Open and the Frenchman in the burn? Crikey Bob, action and outcome aplenty for over six magnificent hours and I’d happily do it all over again.