River Wissey Lovell Fuller

August Editorial

August 2004

Ray bemoans the sporting failures of recent weeks"

Oh dear! What an unmitigated disaster. After all the pre-tournament hypes, what happened to the various England sports teams? Rugby; Sir Clive Woodward said, we have some changes, but basically we are the World Champions. I don't expect to lose any of our matches in the southern hemisphere! Result: New Zealand 2 England 0; Australia 1 England 0. Gosh! How unexpected.

Then we had Sven-Goran Eriksson, coach of the England football team who, without a shadow of a doubt, were going to win the 2004 European Soccer Championship. France 2 England 1 after England were winning 1 - 0 at 90 minutes; Portugal win on penalties after David Beckham skies his kick over the bar and Darius Vassell has his saved. Oh, dear! The England players were too tired, they had played too many matches and weren't ready in terms of fitness for the tournament of their young lives. Then we had Tim Henman, who yet again, set the ladies hearts a fluttering only to fail at the penultimate hurdle.

And finally, of course, the England cricket team. Having whitewashed the New Zealand team in the test series, and soundly beaten the WIndies in their test series, it seemed a good bet that we would win the triangular One-Day series against these two teams. Ah But! Fate took a hand. Tim Lamb the Chief Executive resigned on a matter of principle over the proposed Zimbabwe tour. He was quickly followed by John Reid, the Director of Communications; then, despite Andrew Flintoff's two successive centuries, his inability to bowl and the English weather combine to ensure that England did not qualify for the tournament final. That was my third disappointment of the summer.

So what sporting challenges remain for me to look forward to this summer? Well, there are the Olympic Games, if Greece can get the stadiums finished in time. But if they can win the 2004 European Football tournament against all the odds I wouldn't bet against them staging the best games in recent history. So what chance the British athletes? Well recent analyses by all the pundits suggest there are 10 possible gold winners for Great Britain. There are no prizes for guessing that our best chance of gold lies with Paula Radcliffe in the marathon. But I suspect there is a demon lying in wait to prevent this; climate, the course and even her age suggests that one of the Ethiopians will push her into second place.

As for the rest, there is money on Ben Ainslie in the sailing, Chris Hoy in the cycling sprint and Richard Foulds in the shooting. But if you want my favourite, it is the British coxless fours in the rowing regatta lead by none other than Matthew Pinsett. Please tell me I am not to be disappointed for the fourth time.

But, of course, there will be the pleasure of seeing Norwich City in the Premiership! Happy viewing, folks.

Ray Thompson

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