Sport – you just have to love it

2016-07-13 06:00

WHERE the heck to start? Staring you in the face in one of the Sunday papers, across six columns is a picture of a relieved Serena Williams (34) stretched out, showing broekies and all on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, after taking the women’s singles title 7-5, 6-3 against Germany’s Angelique Kerber.

You have to forgive Serena. This was after winning her 22nd major title, which took her level with Steffi Graf’s Open era record. The victory moved Serena to say: “Number 22 is awesome. Centre court feels like home!” What a match – it brought the best out too, in Angelique. “Serena, you deserve it,” she said. “You are a great champion, a great person.”

Doesn’t that make you feel good? Sends a shivery feeling down your spine – not to mention the match between Scotland’s Andy Murray and Canada’s Milos Raonic in the men’s singles final.

Andy Murray, who has won the Wimbledon singles title before, did it again, sobbing with joy at beating Raonic in straight sets, despite the belief that Scots are generally unemotional types.

But that’s Andy, a true sportsman: proud of his achievement but humble in his attainment thereof. Up the Scots!

There was plenty of excitement on the rugby field too. Did the irony of the Sharks 26-10 Super Rugby victory over the Cheetahs at Durban’s Kings Park strike you as odd? It looked for a while as though Sharks coach, Gary Gold, might grow a permanent frown across his troubled forehead as the lads from Bloem took an early 7-0 lead.

Somehow the KZN boys hung on in a strangely stop-start game in which the Cheetahs often looked the better side. But give the Natalians their due, they stuck to their guns with brave defence from forwards and backs alike, and gradually the tide began to turn.

The turning point, with flyhalf Garth April providing 14 points with the boot, came from an unstoppable try by JP Pietersen.

As hard as the Free Starters kept trying, this was the crucial turning point, even though the Sharks’ over-eagerness through three crucial knock-ons, cost them three tries in the match’s final quarter, a possible 21 points more.

Referee Stewart Berry might have awarded a penalty try against the Sharks at a crucial stage of the first half.

Would it have made a difference? Who knows? Unlikely somehow, judging by the manner in which, as the game drew to its close, the Durban team produced impenetrable defence.

The Sharks now need to put away the Sunwolves at Kings Park, while the Bulls face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next Saturday – crucial matches both, though the Durban side have a two-point advantage over their rivals going into the final round-robin weekend of the competition.

Finally, over the next several weeks some mostly unintended humour from sports greats of the past. First the great Springbok forward, Boy Louw, seeing a Wallaby for the first time in Australia: “Jeez, okes, looks at that big mice!”

And while refereeing a club game in Stellenbosch, after a complaint by the opposing team captain: “That was never a try, Oom Boy.” Louw’s crisp reply: “If you looks in the Argus tonight you’ll see it was a try!” Watch out for these, there are plenty more!


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