I`ve noticed that the weight of traffic on this site declines in the build-up to and during an international break: even Supersparkes has not been posting new threads on the forum. Presumably, having finished dissecting the previous match, we have not yet started to fret uncontrollably about the game the week after (but, boy, am I going to worry about it over the next few days). So, here is how I spent my sporting weekend without the distraction of a WW match.
For me, there was plenty to occupy my mind, though transmission times favoured my rugby viewing schedule over the soccer one. As before, I intended to watch the Welsh, Scottish and ROI matches in order to assess the performances of the WW players and to offer them some protection from injury by shouting at the TV whenever an onrushing opponent lunged at them.
In the event, I saw little soccer. On Friday evening my wife decided it was time to catch up on a couple of recorded programmes. So, while Wales, England and ROI were kicking the ball around, I was watching ‘Doc Martin’, followed by Richard Madeley on ‘Who Do You Think You Are` (but Judy did not reveal anything).
By the time that my wife wandered off to play Freecell on the computer, Wales were a goal up and ROI had scored twice (including one from Doyle). Thereafter, I switched between channels, observing the Montenegrin come-back and Rooney`s rush of blood to the head, as well as a fine Welsh victory. I admit I dwelt on the Welsh game so I missed Ward`s second yellow card, most of Hunt`s contribution and, typically, the second Welsh goal.
Saturday was no better. I found no sign of the Scotland game in the Radio Times and, in any case, it clashed with ‘Strictly Come Dancing`. Is Russell Grant this year`s Anne Widdecombe? He certainly displayed better footwork than some of our defenders. To my shame I cannot really comment on the games except to observe that Hennessey kept a clean sheet and that Doyle, preferred to Long, scored his tenth goal for Ireland … and that (at least until Tuesday) all our representatives emerged unscathed (I think). Does anyone else have a better appreciation of the events?
On the other hand, I watched a lot of rugby. Getting up at 5.45 a.m. on Saturday morning, I reached for the breakfast I had prepared the night before by opening the fridge and taking out a bottle of HSB. Handing my Scottish neighbour another bottle as he came in at 6 a.m., we settled down to view the Wales -v- Ireland game. Great match, even better result.
With just enough time to brief my wife on a famous victory (not that she really cared), I called on my mate and we set off to watch the England-v-France game with other friends at a pub in the next village. Aarrgghh!! Even though my future son-in-law is French (and I am painfully trying to resurrect my schoolboy French for the wedding), I wanted England to win. Unfortunately, the fired-up Gallic side turned up rather than the lackadaisical one that often takes to the pitch against reputedly inferior opposition … rather like our team. However, being Welsh, I managed to cope with the pain.
I barely made it back home – I had to disappear into the bushes at one point- in time to accompany my wife to the surgery for our flu jabs. She wasn`t happy because we found ourselves at the end of a huge queue of senior citizens at the health centre. At least I could console myself with the knowledge that one or two of them would probably agree with me that the late 1950s was the best time to be a WW supporter. I tried to broach the subject with the guy in front of me but, as he had forgotten his hearing aid, the conversation never really got off the ground (just like Vokes, one might say).
I did not go out for a training ride on Sunday morning, partly to avoid exacerbating the effects of the inoculation but also to enable me to watch the Australia and New Zealand games at my friend`s house. I enjoyed watching the Aussies beat RSA, given that Wales were robbed of a victory over the latter earlier in the tournament. I had tipped my TV onto its side to make sure the ball passed between the posts.
Question: after a flu jab would a bike ride have posed less of a risk to my health than several pints of bitter? To find out, I went on a 25 mile spin after I had returned home. Strangely, I nodded off in the afternoon but redeemed myself by making dinner (while watching rugby highlights).
Anyway, all is set for a Wales -v- New Zealand final in two weeks time, mercifully a day after I travel up to Molineux to see the match against Swansea. I might be Welsh but on this occasion I desperately want the home team to win.
In the evening, while waiting for the ‘Strictly Come Dancing` results, I noticed that Groundhog Day was being shown on Channel 5. When I switched it on, my wife asked me why I wanted to stare at the film for the umpteenth time (note the pejorative tenor of her enquiry). I replied that I will only stop watching it when MM no longer repeats the same old mistakes and learns humility. If he does, we will break the cycle, our results will improve and, as a bonus, he gets to sleep with Andie MacDowell.