It’s a great time to be alive if you’re into Australian sports. AFL finals kick off tonight, and the 4th test in Old Trafford started last night. In the background there’s the basketball world cup, and the premier league kicked off a few weeks ago. For me though, it’s all about the footy and cricket. Let’s start with the cricket.
I have memories when I was just a kid of going to bed with the expectation that Australia were heading for victory only to wake up to the shock news that we’d lost due to an extraordinary performance or set of circumstances. You only have to mention Headingly ’81 for a sneer to develop on my face. As a kid, I was devastated.
As it turns out I’m just as devastated as an adult, and unfortunately I have to add Headingly 2019 to that wretched list.
I was pretty quiet about the cricket last week. We had the game just about in the bag and still managed to lose. I’d watched until midnight on the last day of the test and had been reassured that victory was likely, if not certain. Restless in bed, I’d picked up the phone to check the score just in time to watch the eighth and ninth English wicket to fall with a good buffer of runs up our sleeve. To wake up the next day to find we’d managed to lose was like a punch to the gut. What made it worse were the circumstances, truly extraordinary, including a dropped a catch, a simple run-out muffed, and then the most howlingest of umpiring howlers when England just a few runs shy of winning. After the World Cup final the poms can only believe that God is an Englishman, though I prefer to believe he’s setting them up for a mighty fall – or perhaps it’s just some small cosmic recompense for the disaster of Brexit.
None of that is much consolation to me. I couldn’t talk about it, much less accept the reality of it. When it came up on the news I switched stations, though I saw enough to know how totally ballsed-up it was.
But anyway, you get over it, and ultimately it only adds to the drama of the contest – and so far this Ashes series has been a cracker.
For what it’s worth, I’m tipping this test match will be a draw (rain) and they’ll go into the last match level with one win apiece. I’m glad, however, to see Starc back in the team. I’m not always a fan but he can be a devastating bowler. I’m dead-set certain we’d have won at Headingly with him playing because he’s lethal against the tail. And, he makes Lyon a better bowler.
So, to the footy. Tonight my team take on the Eagles in Perth. The Eagles are hot favourites and that’s fair enough. They’re the reigning premier and are playing at home. I have a good feeling, though. I’m not saying we’ll win it, but we’ll go close. We have to go for broke. Get going and we’re hard to stop.
Great time of year.