London hosts two big sporting clashes

This Sunday, Lord’s and Wimbledon (plus Silverstone) will be the focus of attention

A little after 2pm this Sunday three major sporting events will be in full flow in England. It’s a clash many sports fans would prefer to avoid.

How does one choose? 

The final of the Cricket World Cup will be halfway through at Lord’s in north-west London; the men’s singles final will have just started at Wimbledon in south-west London; and an hour-and-half up the road in Northamptonshire the lights will have all gone out to signal the start of the British F1 Grand Prix.

What a lash-up by the administrators of the different sports in terms of scheduling!

Do they not talk to each other? I suspect not. All live in their own sporting bubble. Also, I would imagine each would claim that pressure on their calendars means that the clash could not have been avoided.

So, the capital’s police will have to cope with cricket and tennis fans on the roads, railways and tubes. I doubt if they will constitute a significant problem. It’s not like it’s two big football matches. As a sweeping generalisation, supporters of cricket and tennis seem to be a much more sensible bunch. Although when you hear a cricket crowd singing the football anthem “It’s Coming Home”, as they did at Edgbaston on Thursday, you do start to wonder. 

It could have been worse, I suppose. Organisers of F1 have said they would like to stage a race somewhere on the outskirts of London in future. It’s a good job they are still just thinking about it.

So, part of my Saturday will be spent ensuring that there are enough supplies brought in of the following: Gin with several bottles of tonic; a long French stick with mature cheese and ham; strawberries and cream or ice cream – can’t make up my mind.

The cricket starts at 10.30am – admittedly a little early for the gin. I may wait until the noonday gun has gone off. Although the noonday gun I’m familiar with – at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong – will have gone off several hours earlier which I may use as an excuse for an early G&T start.

Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Picture: Paul Gregory, Flickr

The plan is to camp out on the sofa for the entire duration of the cricket. The gap between innings will allow for the ham and cheese to be brought out and I will probably flick over to the tennis for an update at the same time.

If England look like they are getting a thumping in the cricket, plans may change. Fans of English sport always expect the worst. But, not this time, surely? Kiwis may have other thoughts.

Just in case you missed the semi-final

I have several good Aussie friends, so I won’t gloat too much about the cricket semi-final other than to muse about how many runs England might have added in the close to 18 overs that remained at the end of the match. Wish I had been in their company while it was in progress. Talk about spitting feathers!

Silverstone from the air. Picture: alexleslie87, Flickr

Anyhow, although I’m interested in the result, I’m not so worried about watching the Grand Prix. Apart from the occasional dust-up between Hamilton and Vettel I don’t find elite motor racing especially exciting. Though I know many people who are enthralled when it’s on. For their sake, I hope it’s a thrilling, incident-packed race.

Good sense has prevailed in the UK in that the cricket will be available on terrestrial TV. The satellite people at Sky TV have the rights to it, but they have opted to share live coverage with Channel 4. Great news and a PR coup for Sky (although I subscribe to Sky Sports Main Event so could watch anyway) ! Even so, Channel 4 plans to switch from the cricket to the motor racing and allow the cricket coverage to continue on More4.

It will be interesting to see the viewing figures for the three sports. I would gamble of the pecking order being cricket, F1 then tennis given Andy Murray is not involved in the singles. But I wouldn’t put money on it. 

I don’t possess a flag with the cross of St George on it. Maybe one for the Saturday shopping list.   

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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