The Premier League kicks off again in a few weeks. Anticipation is building for what should be a brilliant Rugby World Cup. Gaelic Football has reached the Super 8s stage. All these sports receive good coverage throughout the year, and rightly so. But, some of the sports that can go under the radar in this country, came to the fore last weekend.
The Cricket World Cup and the tennis at Wimbledon reached its climax, and the Grand Prix at Silverstone also took place on Sunday. In fact, it was a shame in a way that it was all happening at the same time, because each event deserved its own moment in the spotlight.
Lewis Hamilton mentioned beforehand, that there should have been a way to avoid the clash, so spectators could have the chance to enjoy each occasion. He is right there, but the organisations have their own schedule and they have to stick to it. Fans of golf will be happy that there is no major clash this weekend, which means a lot of attention will be on the Open Championship, taking place at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
The Grand Prix itself, was one of the more entertaining races in recent years, with collisions, safety cars, time penalties, and plenty of overtaking moves. Vettel crashed right into the back of Verstappen, knocking both drivers off the track, and he was duly punished. In the end, it was Hamilton who pulled clear, and ended up on top of the podium yet again.
Cricket has a reputation with some for being quite boring, although in some places in the world, it is treated like a religion e.g. in Pakistan and India. If you watched any of the World Cup final between England and New Zealand, and you still don’t like cricket, then it is not the game for you.
To have 300 balls each, and both teams to score the same amount of runs, is a rare occurrence, but this is exactly what happened here. So, it went to a Super Over. England batted first and totalled 15, meaning New Zealand had to better this. A tie here wouldn’t have been enough as England had scored more boundaries in normal play (a controversial ruling). To no surprise, it came down to the very final ball. New Zealand needed 2, they managed 1, and were then run-out as they attempted the winning run. It was a dramatic end to a dramatic game. England won their first cricket world cup, and at their home ground. To add a sense of irony, the captain who lifted the trophy was Eoin Morgan, born in Dublin and used to play for Ireland!
As for Wimbledon, that saw the biggest drama of them all. The men’s final was the longest there has ever been. Halep beat Serena Williams in the women’s final in 56 minutes. The men’s match lasted 4 hours and 57 minutes. What a contrast!
What’s more, it could, and probably should, have gone on even longer. This was the first year a final set tie-break at 12 games all was introduced. This was designed so that evenly contested matches that went on and on would have a definite end, and the eventual winner wouldn’t be too wrecked to compete at their best in the following round.
However, this didn’t happen once in the entire tournament, until the final. Of course, being a final, there was no next match for the players to worry about. The new rule should have been dropped for this match only. A tie-break is a bit of a lottery, whereas the old way of slugging it out until one man cracks, is a fairer way of getting a worthy winner.
Roger Federer was the first to match point, but it was Novak Djokovic who ended up with the golden trophy after an epic battle.
Written by Matthew Drew