Our contributors look back on some of their favourite sporting moments of the summer…
Ashton Agar Scores An Ashes 98
Ashton Agar’s first boundary in test cricket was a beautiful straight drive over the head of Jimmy Anderson, England’s strike bowler. A number eleven having his fun, we all thought. Then he reached 30. This guy can play, we all thought. Yet the situation never got to the 19-year-old from Melbourne, who became the first test debutant to score a half-century from number eleven. When he passed the previous best test score for the position, he was five runs away from an historic century, and with two runs to go he hooked a short ball from Stuart Broad towards the boundary. The whole of Australia, and most of England, looked on in horror as the ball was plucked out of the air by a diving Graeme Swann to end Agar’s dream. His innings was over, but for 132 minutes Ashton Agar brought pure fantasy to the 2013 Ashes.
Neymar Wows at the Confederations Cup
Neymar is legitimate. As a Brazilian in Nottingham it is a shame I had heard more of Neymar than I’d seen. I was ready to dislike his selfishness and diving ability and laugh off his failed dribbles, much as I would mock Dani Alves when he tries a long range shot which invariably is aimed straight at the keeper. But then I saw him play. And did he play. There was something about the moves he’s put on but not only the hold the ball and humiliate your opponent a la Ronaldinho Gaucho but an objective clinical move to make a play, AND the pace he was doing them at was astounding. I can say I am ready to love again.
The Wait For The New Football Season
Odd-numbered years may lack global sports competitions. Yet, for steadfast season-ticket holders like me, summer represents one thing: preseason. The excitement of the new season builds and we recycle the stubborn belief that ‘this is the year’.
Coming from a Fulham fan, such fantasies often dissipate by Christmas, if that. So why do we renew our tickets and go through it again and again?
At a club with a
statue of Michael Jackson stature as humble as Fulham, it is not so much the expectation of silverware as the anticipation of gameday pleasure; those ritualised walks to the ground, those tastes of pre-game pies and pints, those back-of-the-net sounds, those volatile feelings of joy and despair. Perhaps we are not the glory-hunters of May, but we certainly are the comfort-seekers of a wintry Saturday afternoon.
The Lions Win Down Under
Given the torrid few years it has endured and despite its undeniable importance, the British and Irish Lions’ series victory in Australia was more significant than denting their host’s sporting ego that little bit more. 16 years after their last series win in South Africa and with the uninviting prospect of a tour to New Zealand to come, the eventually-emphatic victory for Warren Gatland’s side ensured that the credibility of this fine sporting institution was well and truly maintained, something for which British rugby fans will always thank him, even if they disagreed with his selection policy.