Fringe Box



Tired of Sporting Failure? Look No Further Than YOSICC

Published on: 14 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 15 Jul, 2014


By John Schluter –

It was Benjamin Franklin, loosely quoting Daniel Defoe, when he wrote in a letter of 1789 ‘In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’.

If you are a sports lover, or more precisely an English sports lover, to this pair of inevitabilities you may wish to add early elimination from the football World Cup, losing at rugby in New Zealand, cricket embarrassment and, up until last year, failure at Wimbledon (detailed qualification later on).

As an avid cricket lover, I was led to believe that the Ashes were contested every 15 or 16 years. The other matches played between England and Australia in the intervening series were purely there to allow different English players to experience ritual humiliation, a form of mental conditioning a sports psychologist would say.

From 2005 onwards, apart from the minor blip of 2006/07, England ignored the script and became successful, normality resumed last winter.

Sporting success became a little contagious on this isle, in 2012 Bradley Wiggins went for a bicycle tour on the continent and won a yellow jersey, the London Olympics was a massive success, especially in the velodrome, even the weather behaved itself. English sport was sitting pretty, well as pretty as it can sit on a bicycle seat that looked as if it had been manufactured by Gillette.

Good fortune resumed last year, another Englishman, Chris Froome (born in the leafy Home Counties suburb of Nairobi) won ‘Le Tour’, the Ashes were retained and Wimbledon went berserk.

Admittedly the SW19 victor was an effervescent Scot but he loves England so much he now lives here.

So back to this year. In the first week of January, a raucous crowd of Sydneysiders (and a good selection of English supporters) witnessed the humiliating completion of a 5-0 series whitewash to ‘Return The Urn’ Down Under.

I can imagine the reasoning behind the English fans’ travel plans; it would have gone something like this:

‘Let’s go to the Ashes in Oz this winter, we’ve just won 3-0 at home, England are favourites, what can possibly go wrong?’

‘Well the last time, I only went for the Perth test and England lost, I flew home a bit miffed but they cleaned up in Melbourne and Sydney, ultimately winning 3-1’

‘OK let’s go for Melbourne and Sydney this time, the Ashes will probably already have been won by then. We can celebrate in style.’

The Ashes were indeed won by then. Well and truly. Barmy.

Still there was the Six Nations Rugby to look forward to, maybe a grand slam? In the event England managed the Triple Crown, defeat in Paris ruining the script, that’ll teach us to send ‘Nos cyclistes’ over to steal their ‘Maillot Jaune’

England’s cricketers went to contest the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Twenty20 is a shortened form of the game, comprising 20 overs per side, I guess that’s where the name comes from, and was designed to delight and enthral with big six hitting, flashing lights and fireworks.

This format of the game was invented in England about 10 years ago. Other countries were a little slow to catch on but gradually interest spread and before long an international competition was devised with the hope that television audiences would relish this shortened format and bolster interest in the sport on a more widespread level.

Soon most first class cricket playing nations had their own regional competitions with overseas players adding to the spice.

Even some of the smaller cricket playing nations hoped to jump on the bandwagon, with the ambition that maybe, just maybe, one day in the future, their day would come.

England lost to the Netherlands and came home.

Maybe the two test matches here against Sri Lanka would provide a resounding home victory against a side devoid of their world record wicket-taking spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan and a few of their recently retired experienced and able campaigners?

England lost 0-1.

By now the football World Cup was in full swing in Brazil and with the group stages nearing completion, we catch up on the home team’s progress.

England are out and are on their way home.

Wimbledon tennis started with a fair chance that Andy Murray might retain his crown. He lost in the quarter-finals and sounded disconsolate at the press conference; so disconsolate that had someone popped in halfway through they would have assumed he’d trounced his opponent in straight sets.

For the first time since 2007, the Tour De France staged its grand depart in the UK, well Yorkshire to be precise. All eyes were on ‘God’s Own Country’ as glorious sunshine (what other sort is there. Can you have unimpressive sunshine? Or gloomy sunshine?) accompanied the riders on the first leg from Leeds to Harrogate.

Sprint favourite Mark Cavendish was hoping to clean up at the finish and celebrate at his mum’s house (she lives in Harrogate).

A tangle on the run-in saw him tumble, dislocate his collarbone and put himself out of the race.

Ah well, at least Fountains Abbey and the other beauties that Yorkshire offered looked lovely in the sunshine, as did the sizeable crowds that flocked to witness the spectacle.

All focus was now on Chris Froome, handily placed only two seconds behind the leader.
On to France, stage five and three crashes later Froome was out. Well it was raining. Unlike Yorkshire.

Now what is this sporting preamble all about I hear you ask?

On a sombre note, just over six years ago, on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, we lost a dear friend and captain of the local pub’s cricket team, Ye Olde Ship Inn.

Rowan Golder was (and is) sorely missed and it was decided that a memorial shield be procured and a series of matches played against local rivals, the Sanford Arms, to decide where it would live for that year. Well it actually lives in Ye Olde Ship Inn (in much the same way as the Ashes never leave Lord’s).

The great thing is a Guildford team is bound to win: guaranteed sporting success.

On Wednesday of last week (July 9), Ye Olde Ship Cricket Club (YOSICC) won the second of three matches against Sanford to go an unassailable 2-0 up in the series.

So all the gloom and doom of the year of sporting failure has been lifted by this wondrous news, hang out the buntings, open the Champagne and organise the street parties.

Should you wish to bathe in the glory of Ye Olde Ship Inn cricket team’s success and maybe be part of a potential ‘Were you there Grandad?’ ‘Aye lad, I were there’ moment, then why not pop along to Shalford cricket ground on a Wednesday evening.

Matches generally start at 6pm and go on till about 8.30pm, so get there early to avoid disappointment. To guarantee disappointment, stay for the entire match, fortunes do change.

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