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Sporting pictures in the mind

For what it’s worth – despite my Rust editorial responsibilities – I have to confess that my original plan for yesterday afternoon had not involved sport at all.

There was plenty of it going on – the women’s rugby league international between England and France, the rugby union Premiership final at Twickenham between Leicester Tigers and Saracens, Royal Ascot horse racing, the build up to Formula One’s Canadian Grand Prix, the third round of golf’s US Open – and the unedifying task of considering the implications and fall-out resulting from the horrendous findings of the Whyte Review into the culture of bullying and abuse that has apparently been both endemic and systematic within British Gymnastics for decades, to list but a few of many items that might have attracted my attention.

However, after having phone conversations with both my kids (my son aged 40 and my daughter due to celebrate her 39th birthday next month) upon what I had to be reminded was Father’s Day weekend, I had decided to spend the afternoon chilling out in the garden, doing a bit of lawn mowing, tidying up, filling flower pots and taking various items of rubbish and/or foliage clearance to the bonfire pit in readiness for its next ceremonial lighting at some point within the next few days.

All good domestic stuff that often gets neglected but which – whenever you do get around to attending to it – afterwards allows you to bask in a certain welcome sense of achievement.

Having accomplished the bulk of my equivalent of Hercules’ fifth labour set by Eurystheus – viz. the cleaning up of King Augeas’ stables in a single day – as early as 2.00pm, I was then delighted to be advised by Mrs Hollingworth that I was excused all further duties both because she was content with our weekend’s progress so far and – feeling slightly under the weather herself – she now intended to retire to her bedroom for a snooze.

Faced with this “free time”, I decided to make myself a sport of lunch and then settle down in front of the television to watch at least the beginning of the rugby union Premiership Final due to kick off at 3.00pm.

It was at this point I hit a snag. When I tuned to BT Sport – the broadcaster of the “live” coverage of the fixture – I discovered that something was wrong and that, without “logging in” again I wouldn’t be permitted to access it.

“Logging in again” would require me to enter our family’s collective “signing in username” and password – neither of which I could remember, even if I ever once knew them.

I like to consider myself a practical person. There was no point to be had in wasting time trying to “improvise” my way through the “logging in” process and/or ranting against the system.

I knew that Radio Five Live was providing live commentary on the Premiership Final and so I calmly moved to my computer and accessed it.

Today I’m adding a potential new sub-division to the perennial Rust debate over whether or not being at a sporting occasion in person is a superior spectating experience to watching it live on TV.

Listening to a live radio commentary upon a sporting occasion on the radio – where does this sit on the spectrum of “live sporting experiences”?

My experience of listening to live radio commentaries goes back a long way – to Test Match Special (cricket), live late-at-night boxing commentaries from around the globe (especially in the heyday of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali as he later became) and overseas British & Irish Lions rugby tours …

Sometimes, arguably, with radio commentaries the experience of having to create for oneself the images to accompany the word-pictures can a distinct plus – rather than a minus.

I’d be interested to learn what other Rusters might think.

I don’t regard rugby union as a specialist subject of mine but – for what it’s worth – I was mildly pleased that Leicester Tigers eventually prevailed in what turned out to be a classic “edge of the seat” frenetic, intense and compelling match yesterday that could quite easily have ended the other way.

To end, I’d like to pay my own salute to Freddie Burns, the Leicester Tigers 32 year old (second string) fly half, who came on to replace the injured George Ford quite early on.

Burns – who has been around the block a few times with Gloucester, Bath and two stints at Leicester over the last fifteen years and won 5 caps for England – once famously committed the cardinal sin of failing to “dot the ball down” properly over the goal line when clean through whilst playing for Bath against Toulouse …

See here, courtesy of – YOUTUBE

Sometimes in life redemption can occur.

Now, happily, instead Freddie will be forever remembered as a Leicester Tigers legend for potting this drop goal in the 2021/2022 Premiership Final …

See here, courtesy of – BT SPORT 





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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