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An epic day of sport

I can scarcely remember a more epic, less predictable, cornucopia of sport than Saturday.

On Friday we had a reunion lunch of sports writing colleagues. These can be depressing affairs as one or others drop off the perch and we reminisce on the “good old days “ of creative accounting with expenses , industrial drinking when we started never mind finished up at El Vino’s and rehashing the old anecdotes of Fleet Street of yore. I was quite pleased to get back to base on Saturday without too much of hangover.

My first game watched on TV was Watford v Crystal Palace in the Cup. I was attracted to this match as they were two closely-matched teams that often produce a feisty encounter. If the game lacked exuberant skill this was made up as it was a “real cup tie”, a ding-dong of a match with no quarter asked or given.

I moved onto the key clash of Super Saturday in the Six Nations when Wales overwhelmed Ireland. I shall have to ask our rugby correspondents quite why Ireland were so unconvincing after their victories home and away over the All Blacks.

Perhaps Jonny Wilkinson hinted at the answer by saying that you get into a comfort zone after the hype and you no longer challenge yourself. I have seen this flawed triumphalism in English cricket in 2005 after we won the Ashes in a superb series but there was humiliation down under with Freddie Flintoff as captain. It’s something a good coach should guard against but with Joe Schmidt retiring perhaps he hoped rather too much for a swansong.

When England ran up a 31 point lead in the Calcutta Cup I found myself thinking these staggered kick-off times do not work as by now Wales were crowned champions.

I have to say the thought of Wales and Liverpool as champions fills me with some dread as we will never hear the end of this.

Jonathan Davies was already squeaking away on the commentary and Eddy Butler does not need much persuading to get into hwyl mode.

So England v Scotland looked a dead rubber and at 6.00 I had my normal malt and read. Bless me when hearing the radio 5 commentary by chance Scotland had mounted the comeback of comebacks and I watched the last pulsating 20 minutes.

Finn Russell gave a master class in fly half play and the last-ditch defending of the Scots was something to behold. England may be inconsistent but for many years dreary behind the pack but now they they have centres like Henry Slade that will light up the World Cup.

Manchester City favoured by some odd refereeing decisions also made a comeback after being two down against Swansea.

Time for change of sport now. I watched an hour of the Players Championship at Sawgrass , the so-called Fifth major. Once again Rory fell away ( only to win the $2.2 prize) but Pargie’s fancy Tommy Fleetwood was well-placed at second.

Pete Dye has designed a testing course which does not just favour the big hitter with the signature 17th island green which can catch anyone who is wayward with their pitch.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts