Whatever takes Pete Sixsmith‘s fancy in summer, you’ll find it here at his Soapbox …
There’s an old adage that says that a dog walking on its hind legs may not be able to do it well, but it’s a wonder that it can do it at all. Some folk think the same about the fairer sex playing manly sports like football, cricket and Rugby League.
So, as I turned away from Andy Murray’s disappointing end to a Wimbledon tournament where he has played as well as he could – Nadal is just better, nothing to be ashamed about – I pressed the red button on my remote just in time to see England equalise against New Zealand in Dresden.
It was a good goal as well. Full back Alex Scott burst down the wing and put in a superb centre that Everton’s Jill Scott headed in a la Kevin Kyle. It was far better than most of the crosses that Wee Shugie McBardsley or Elmo put in, so maybe The Brucester should add her to the coaching staff.
I looked her up on the BBC site and discovered that she played for Boston. My first reaction was “How does a remote town in Lincolnshire have such a fine female football team” when I realised that it was Boston Mass., home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots and one of the most sport mad cities in the whole wide world.
There are three of her team mates who play in the States but the majority of the squad are drawn from Arsenal and Everton and it was Arsenal’s Jessica Clarke, on as a substitute, who fired home the winner in the closing stages.
The stadium, which looked like a replica of Reynolds Folly at Darlington, was almost full, the officials did well and the whole thing was bereft of the general nastiness that went on 12 months ago in South Africa. It tempted me to go and watch some when the Olympic road show hits the UK next year.
Talking of the Olympics, I applied for tickets and was delighted when I received an email telling me that I had been awarded tickets in the ballot. I had thought my itinerary out carefully over a three day period and had gone for a morning athletics session in the Stadium (a place I know well after the bloody taxi driver at West Ham took us round it several times in May) with some cycling, boxing, handball and table tennis to back it up. I also put down for some hockey for the day I intended to travel back in order to fill in the morning.
A day later, the ticket allocation arrived. Would I be seeing Ursain Bolt or Jessica Ennis? Would it be Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish or some boxing genius from Cuba? I could hardly contain my excitement as I opened the email.
“You have been allocated one ticket for the Hockey at 8.30 on the morning of August 6”, it informed me.
Well, maybe not. I don’t think I shall be paying extortionate rail fares and hotel rates to take advantage of my Olympic allocation. To say I was disappointed would be a slight understatement and my defence of the balloting system was immediately replaced by a rant at the Chelsea loving Tory who runs the bloody show. Never did like Seb Coe, always preferred Steve Ovett and The Cramster.
England’s next game is on Tuesday against Japan with a 17.15 kick off. They need to win it to be sure of qualifying for the ko stages. It takes place in Augsburg, a city known to History students as the place where, in 1555, the legal division of Christendom was made permanent – but you knew that anyway.