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Category archive: Sport

Friday April 26 2019

Video here.  Says Patrick Crozier: This is brilliant. Say I: not very fair.  Plus: I question the editing.  Was this what happened all the time?  Or was this the one recorded highlight?

Thursday April 18 2019

More sport.  This time in the form of a striking (literally) little passage from the preface of a book by Richard Tomlinson about the famed Victorian era cricketer W.G. Grace:

By the time he was twenty-seven, Grace had scored fifty first-class centuries.  He performed this feat at a time when pitches were so poor, and cricket gear so flimsy, that batsmen risked their lives whenever they took guard.  In one match at Lord’s – a ground where he would pick stones out of the rutted pitch – W.G. scored a hundred and then saw another batsman killed by a ball that smashed his head.

Despite the gear having got a lot less flimsy, cricket deaths, even now, occasionally happen.

Wednesday April 17 2019

Last night, United crushed in the Champions League by Barca, in Barca.  And tonight – glory be – City knocked out by Spurs in a mad scramble of a game in Manchester.  So, Spurs win without Kane.  They’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Did you see that result coming?  I didn’t, and especially not after City scored after about one minute.  And then, after about three more minutes it was 2-2.  Bonkers.

Are there any Mancunians who support both United and City against all comers?  The way I support all the London teams?  If so, such persons had a bad two nights.

Meanwhile, what’s happening at the top of the Premier League means that I am having to set aside my London-wide support for the duration.  Man City or Liverpool are going to win it.  But Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are now competing for two Champions League spots next season.  So, when Liverpool recently played Chelsea, I found myself, albeit with a heavy heart, supporting Liverpool.  Chelsea lost, which meant Spurs stayed ahead of them.  Hoo.  Ray.

THE FOLLOWING EVENING: Well, I’m back to supporting Chelsea and Arsenal, against Slavia Prague and Napoli respectively, in the Europa League.  Both are strolling it.  Go, London!  Asks the BBC footy feed:

Are we heading for an all-English Champions League final AND an all-English Europa League final?

Despite Brexit.  It would be a lovely thing to see, but there’s a bit to do for that to happen.  Like Spurs and Liverpool beating Ajax and Barca.

Yes, telling you about how I’ve been in France.

So. where was I?  In France?  Well, to give you an idea, here are some of the excellent places I visited:

imageimageimageimageimage
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Whenever I am in foreign parts, I always photo signs, adverts, and the like.  Every place has its own style for doing such things, so signage photos can be very evocative, when you look back at them.  Also, they tell you where you were, and hence what all the other photos taken at the same time were of.

Click on the above photo-fragments to get some context.  If you are curious about any of these places, well, you now have the words you need to go searching.  Words are already links, in the sense that you don’t need me to turn them into links.

I especially like how, when you leave a French town or village, you get a sign with the name crossed through with a red line (2.3).

I also photo war memorials, keeping a particular eye open for repeated surnames.  In Lagrasse (3.1), Baillat, Fontvieille and Jougla are surnames that each get two mentions.

I also like to photo the stuff in tourist shops, especially the postcards (1.1 and 3.2).  That way, you get what tourists generally consider to be the best views, and are alerted to interesting local things which you otherwise might miss even learning about.  Although, in St Cyprien, I got a bit of aggro from a couple shopkeepers who objected to me photoing their produce instead of buying it.

Wednesday April 03 2019

I follow Tottenham Hotspur on Twitter, and for once, the hysterical tweeting whenever Spurs score a goal (often in a game they lose (which they don’t tweet about the rest of)) was justified.  This time the fuss concerned the very first goal scored for Spurs in their new stadium, by Son Heung-min. 

Spurs beat Crystal Palace 2-0.

Here’s what the new stadium looks like, with added fireworks:

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It says there: “Just incredible.”

I’m not a real Spurs fan, because I don’t think it looks “just incredible”.  I just think it looks like a football stadium, and a rather bland and boring one.  But, that’s fine.  It’s a big old machine for people to play and watch football in.  Also American Football and pop music, apparently, which makes sense.

I also like this photo:

image

In the distance, the Walthamstow Wetlands, i.e. various reservoirs.  Here is a photo I took of the stadium from next to those reservoirs.

This was not just an important occasion for Spurs; it was also an important game for Spurs.  Had Spurs lost to Crystal Palace this evening, it would have put a severe damper on the rest of their season.  As it is, they will return to their new home for the next game they play there in very good spirits.

Monday March 25 2019

I’ve just watched England beat Montenegro at football, in Montenegro, 5-1.  A few days ago England beat The Czech Republic 5-0, in London, and I watched some of that too.  England are looking good.

Here is the most convincing explanation I have found of why.  In the bit under the subheading “More ball-hoggers”, it says this:

You know that lad in school who never passed the ball? Turns out he was on to something.

Ashworth says English players are already more technical than he has ever seen thanks to a revamp of the academy system in clubs and a more consistent playing style with England.

But the FA wants to go further.

Peter Sturgess, the FA’s foundation phase coach for five- to 11-year-olds, has been telling coaches up and down the country that mastering the ball is his number one priority. Passing can come later.

“We are saying that passing is important but it’s not a priority for foundation-phase children,” he told BBC Sport. “The priority is building a massive connection with the ball so their individual ability on it, in tight and pressurised situations, becomes as good as it can be.

“You put 11 of those players together on a football pitch and they can play any system you want, because they have less chance of losing the ball.”

Ashworth and Sturgess just might be onto something.  To have a good football team, start by having lots of “foundation phase children” who are good at controlling a football, with their feat.

LATER: Meanwhile, in Scotland.

Thursday March 21 2019

Looking out over the gloom of Bermondsey yesterday, with maximum zoom, from the balcony of a friend’s flat:

image

Despite the dreariness and consequent blurriness, you can clearly see the Big Olympic Thing there.  Next to it, right behind the tower of the crane, you can also see, if you look a bit harder, the top of the London Stadium, now the home of West Ham United.

What this photo illustrates, among many other things, is the enormous contribution to a city made by Recognisable and Big Things.  Most of what you see in that photo is dull Unless you are a craniac like me) and generic.  You could be anywhere.  But once you see that contorted red shape, however dimly, you know at once where you are looking and what you are looking at.  These Things aren’t called “landmarks” for nothing.  They are like giant squirts of solidified piss from God.  They mark the landscape.  They give it shape and structure.  You know where you are with them, but without them, you don’t.  Without them, you could be anywhere.  With them, everywhere becomes somewhere.

Saturday March 16 2019

The job of sports fan internetters like me is not to just wallow in the mere news that the commentators have just been reporting and to repeat their opinions about why it all happened (although that can be fun to look back on, in the years to come).  It is also to notice the daft things that commentators sometimes say.  The above gem of verbal inappropriateness came, from ITV commentator Nick Mullins, after just 13 minutes of the England Scotland rugby game at Twickenham, just after England scored their third try.  England really don’t look like they’re going to lose this one.

The basic reason England are winning is that Wales, earlier this afternoon, dessicated Ireland.  That actually is not a bad word for what Wales did to Ireland.  Ireland didn’t score any points at all until the clock had gone past 80 minutes, Wales having already scored 25.  This meant that Wales already had the Grand Slam, and that meant that Scotland would not now be working themselves into a frenzy of Scottishness to deny England, who were undone two weeks ago by a frenzy of Welshness (which did deny England the Grand Slam), the mere winning of the tournament.

And now, on the half hour, England have just scored their fourth try, making it 31-0 to them.

And what did Nick Mullins say about that?

This:

“Scotland are being drowned.”

When you get dessicated, what you want is water.  But not that much water.

I feel sorry for Scotland.  If you’re an England rugby fan, feeling sorry for Scotland is great.  Scots never feel sorry for us, which is how they torment us.  We feel sorry for them every chance we get, which is our way of tormenting them.  All I am missing now is a Scotsman for me to feel sorry for in person.  They must really hate that.

But hey, Scotland have just scored a breakaway try.

Said the moisture-obsessed Mullins, switching metaphors:

“A shaft of light.”

If you’ve been desiccated but then drowned, a shaft of light is probably what you want.  31-7 to England at half time.

I am going to miss the end of this game because I am off out to dinner.  Fine by me.  My guess is that the second half of this game will be rather an anti-climax, like the second half of the England France game.  The only thing that could make it interesting would be a couple more shafts of light for Scotland at the start of the second half.  If that happens, I would have to stop feeling sorry for Scotland, which would be terrible.

And Scotland have indeed scored, 7 minutes into the second half.  Just before they did, Mullins said:

“Scotland are beginning to throw some coals on the fire!”

Said a colleague:

“Can that be the spark?”

Scotland not drowned after all.

Well, well, well.  Two shafts of light it is.  Two Scotland tries at the beginning of the second half.  Suddenly I am starting to regret that dinner date, and to stop feeling sorry for the Scots.

And another.  31-19.  It’s a game.

Another Scotland try.  31-24.  If Scotland win this, they will be as insufferable as I was being half an hour ago.

I’m off to dinner.  Thank goodness for mobile phones.

Another Scotland try!  Under the posts.  31-31.

Mullins:

“Are you not entertained?”

I think I am.  Four shafts of light, in the second half alone.  Five, if you could the one in the first half.

England’s defence is being desiccated.

LATER (i.e. after I got back from my dinner party (very enjoyable)): England 38 Scotland 38.

Friday March 15 2019

Here are three photos I took, on May 21st of that year:

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I vaguely recall refraining from showing them here (and there was indeed a here then) because I had no idea what was going on.  I still have no idea what was going on.  I should have asked more questions at the time.

Some kind of sporting event promotion perhaps?

Saturday February 23 2019
Friday February 22 2019

Yes, about that horse’s head sculpture that I showed a photo of here, a week ago.

I complained about how the way its neck was sliced through was maybe too obtrusive a part of the whole effect.

Well look at this other photo I took of it:

image

Sorry about the bus, but this is my only photo from anything like the angle I need to make my point.  Which is, that the severed neck looks like a face, and the horse’s ears look like little arms pointing upwards.

And the whole thing looks like one of those idiotic Olympic mascots.

Not, surely, the look the sculptor was going for.

Monday February 18 2019

Being logical about it, there are five Six Nations weekends each year, during which each of the Six Nations plays all the other Five Nations, and there are forty seven Six Nationsless weekends.  But Six Nationalists like me know which weekends I am talking about.  I’m talking about the one between week 2 and week 3 and the one between week 3 and week 4.  The Six Nations is happening.  But, it’s not.  The Six Nations is under way.  But it’s stuck.  I have just endured the first of these two weird ordeals.

But in between these two black holes of non-Six Nationsness, the key game of this year’s entire Six Nations, Wales v England will be happening, in Cardiff.  Both England and Wales have won their first two games, and only they can each still win a Grand Slam.  England, with their three South Sea Island hulks playing, have been unbeatable, so far. And they have many times started out unbeatably against Wales.  But then the Welsh play catch-up rugby, which is a game that they, unlike any other Six Nation these days, can actually play, and they often then win, despite England’s scrum being on top for the whole game.  So I am taking nothing for granted.  Especially when you consider that England will have only one Vunipola playing, the other one having hurt himself against France, as earlier noted here.  But England will have a Tuilagi playing, in addition to the surviving Vunipola, so I just about fancy them to win.

Meanwhile, how did I survive the recently concluded weekend?  Well, there were two good cricket matches to be following.  There was an amazing test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka, which SL won by one wicket, following an unbeaten last wicket stand of 78, and what was clearly a wonderful 153 not out by their wicketkeeper Kusal Perera.

Here’s a picture of Perera celebrating that amazing win:

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But, note those empty seats.  I wonder how many people actually paid to be present at this game.  Rather few, if that’s anything to go by.  People are now saying, as they have been for many years, that Test Cricket is dying.  But it keeps being interesting, in a way that the other crickets now played can’t ever really match, any more than a number one pop song can quite match a Bruckner Symphony.  That’s if you like Bruckner symphonies.

The other good cricket game was one of those other crickets games, the final (finally) of the Big Bash League, contested between the Melbourne Poisonous Spiders and the Melbourne Big Hairy Bastards.  Or some such belligerently metaphorical contestants.  It was definitely Melbourne v Melbourne.  Melbourne won, but not before Melbourne had looked certain to win but then suddenly collapsed, allowing Melbourne to snatch the trophy.

The two semi-finals having happened on Thursday and Friday mornings, I was up promptly on Sunday morning to follow this game.  But it happened in the Australian afternoon instead of in the evening, and it was all done when I clicked in.  Oh well.  It was fun to read about.

Wednesday February 13 2019

Last night: Manchester United 0 Paris St-Germain 2.

This evening: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0.

From a BBC report on tonight’s game: How could anyone underestimate the resolve of this Spurs side after the manner in which they have kept pace with Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool without any squad strengthening and recent injuries to key figures Kane and Alli?

But: Oh dear.  Because this makes it that bit more likely that Man U will sack Solskjaer and buy in The Poch.  Which it would seem they can do and Spurs are powerless to prevent, unless The Poch decides for Spurs.  As he well might.

I really, really hope Man U contrive some kind of miracle revival in their away leg in Paris.  As to what Spurs manage in their away leg, well, I just hope they get through, and that nobody else important gets injured.

And that the way Spurs are now playing says to Poch: You can’t walk away from this.

PLUS (later): This

Sunday February 10 2019

The weather outside is again really nice, but it’s wasted on me and my camera.  Because, it’s Spurs v Leicester on the internet, England v Windies on the internet, and England v France on the TV.  Football, cricket, rugby.  How can a man ignore all that?  Well, maybe “a man” could, but I can’t.  Spurs have beaten Leicester (and now Man City are crushing Chelsea); and the Windies have got England back on the floor in the cricket (where England have been all series).  As a test cricket fan I am glad that the Windies getting back into the swing of doing that well.  For a while now, it has seemed that their only talent was for the limited overs stuff.

And, England are crushing (crunching) France, although a few French tries at the end would not surprise me.  Two out of three is not bad

The first weekend of this year’s Six Nations was great, but the second, now nearing its end, has been rather flat.  Ireland got back on the horse against Scotland yesterday, and Italy, as they do, lost.  Now England are doing what all the commentators said they’d do to France, following their great win over Ireland last weekend.  The charm of the Six Nations is how unpredictable it can be.  On the first weekend France got beaten by Wales after being 16 ahead at half time.  Italy got no less than three late tries against Wales when they were looking down and out, which was a definite surprise.  When England got the final try to settle it against Ireland, the commentator said: Who saw this coming?  Not me.  But so far this weekend, it’s all gone with the not-especially-smart money.  France are now 36 behind, so even if they get five late tries, they’ll still lose.  It’s all looking a bit “waiting for the end” just now.  The serious business of the game was being sorted when England got their four first half tries, which meant that their bonus points, for four tries and for winning by more than seven, were both settled, along with the win.  Can England get over 50 points against France?  Maybe, but it doesn’t feel like it matters.  Yes, a commentator has just said: “The match has rather fallen asleep.” Indeed it has.  The most important moment of this match may prove to be when one of the Vunipolas walked off injured.

Anyway, it’s over now.  44-8 England.  Plus, when I was trying to find a report on England crunching France, I came across our Ladies crunching their Ladies.

The England men, meanwhile, have been transformed by their returning-from-injury South Sea Islanders, the Vunipola brothers and Manu Tuilagi.

Tuilagi is odd, in that he is pronounced Tooey Langy.  Except by Jonathan Davies of course, who says Tooey Largy.  Davies also says Viney Polar instead of Vooney Polar.  The world needs to find a way to mispronounce “Jonathan Davies”, and keep on doing that until he learns his job.

But, hello.  What’s this?  The Windies 59-4 (after being 57-0!), replying to England’s 277.  Two wickets in two balls to Moheen.  Two more wickets in two more balls to Mark Wood, who I didn’t realise was playing.  By the sound of it (i.e. from reading the Cricinfo chat), Wood should have been in the England side from the beginning.  Only four wickets on day one.  Ten wickets already on day two, and it’s not yet tea time.

It is now!  Windies 74-5.  Another to Wood.  “England are rampant.”

Tuesday January 29 2019

I do like an interesting hat, when I photo a photoer:

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And I admire this photoer’s choice of subject matter.  The Scalpel was looking especially fine, its angle catching what was left of the setting sunlight.  We’re at the top of the Tate Modern Extension, by the way.  A favourite spot of mine.

But, going back to that hat.  What does it say on it?  P........S?  Philadelphia Eagles?  Pittsburgh Steelers? A bit long, but conceivably one of those.

Hang on, I wonder if I photoed any more photos of that same photoer, which might shed light on the matter.

Yes:

image

I hope a robot couldn’t identify this guy from that photo, what with it being so blurry, although I dare say his loved ones could.  But, anyway, what that says is that the hat goes P....OTS.  And we have our answer.  He is a supporter of the New England Patriots.

And no wonder he is proud to be sporting this celebratory headgear.  The Patriots are due to contest Super Bowl “LIII” (53), against the Los Angeles Rams, this coming Sunday, which I will be watching on my TV.  Here is a Daily Telegraph report about that.

The game will be played in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, of which, the Telegraph says:

That jagged-looking roof opens and closes in a very pleasing way:

The “:” is there because there then follows video of this pleasing effect (that being it on YouTube).  I greatly enjoyed this.

Blog and learn.