Half-time in the summer of sport
So we are now into the World Cup finals..... I won't say anything about the quarter-finals, and even less about the semi-finals! There is nothing of interest that I can add to the staggering 35.7 million tweets offered up about the Brazil match! But it does seem to be a turning point in international football and although non-partisan, I was pleased to see a European and South American final otherwise it will just be like the Euros.
So roll on Sunday...... I am expecting a German win as I doubt that even the magic of Messi can get under the skin of the virtuoso performance and discipline of our European neighbours. They are a class above everybody else.
But it's not all about football.
We also saw a sublime Men's final between Federer and Djokovic that restored everyone's faith in Wimbledon's ability to produce some classic matches, especially as it followed a one sided women's final which was all over in less that an hour.
However, at this midway stage of the Summer of Sport, I can report an English win in the Celebrity Golf challenge held at Celtic Manor in Wales last weekend. With so many other international sporting events going on (Wimbledon finals, Grand Prix etc) you could be forgiven for missing it!
This is an annual event that is a friendly competition between the 4 nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I was part of the English team last year and thought I had missed out this time, but a last minute call drafted me in to the English Team (get well soon Jodie) captained by Mike Tindall.
As I remember it from last year, it was/is a fantastic weekend with great banter between the teams and more than a little competition between the teams. It's advertised as a friendly event but when you put sportsmen together in a competition, there is always a level of seriousness.
Mind you, it's not just the sportsmen. The actors, entertainers, and singers also pulled out some very fine performances. And, even though there was lots of laughing and mickey taking I noticed a glint of steel in the eyes of the Boyzone lads (Ronan, Keith and Brian) as well as Brendan O'Connell...(Mrs Brown's boys) from the Irish team. They also had Martin O'Neill who popped up on TV in Rio a few days later which meant he must have gotten on the plane straight after the event.
The Welsh had amongst their number the very funny Rob Brydon and my mate Gethin Jones as well as the Rugby legend Gareth Edwards. The Scottish were captained by Gavin Hastings and Kenny Logan with a clutch of Rugby lads who collectively, were a very strong team
My own English stable was both extremely cool and very funny, but don't let the joking fool you. Bradley Walsh, Mathew Brood, Mike Tindall, Graeme Swan and Peter Jones are all accomplished golfers who have clearly practiced hard and achieved a level of ability that would surprise a lot of people.
The upshot of the weekend was two brilliant days golf in the most beautiful setting. Any of you who haven't been to Celtic Manor you should give it the once over as it is a fantastic course in the most beautiful countryside. It was a charity event that raised a lot of money for the two charities... Caron Keating Foundation and the Play Golf Help Save Lives defibrillator campaign, founded by former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher who was the Celebrity Cup's golf ambassador and mentor to the star players.
The hosting was superb the dinner better and excellent auctions, (vocal and silent auction) organized by Jamie Baulch and Cheryl Hicks ...... raised an incredible .......
I can even say my own golf game improved so all in all a fantastic weekend and a very rare English win by one point!
With the Commonwealth Games just one week away, welcome to the second half of the summer of Sport.