TV View: Barker can’t contain her enthusiasm as England net gold
Commonwealth climax offers an ending to rival last week’s Champions League drama
Helen Housby, who scored in the final second, and her England netball team-mates celebrate at full-time after defeating Australia to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
After the week that was in it, it got to the point where you fully anticipated Lossiemouth taking maximum points from their Highland League fixture, even after Soccer Saturday’s rolling scores told us they’d gone 6-0 down to Buckie Thistle.
The Champions League, after all, had taught us that nothing is impossible.
Nothing except Lossiemouth doing a Roma x 2, as it proved, their failure to pull even one goal back, never mind six, leaving them trounced and third from bottom. They are, though, 12 points clear of Fort William who haven’t won any of their 29 games and have a goal difference of -132.
There is, then, always someone worse off, and no one in this universe felt worse off than Gianluigi Buffon last Wednesday night. And no one, of course, emotes quite like Gianluigi, even when Juve win a throw-in he responds much as Marco Tardelli did when he scored that goal in the 1982 World Cup final.
“Pinch me, George!” “Only if you pinch me, Jim!”
Like ourselves, Messrs Hamilton and Beglin were a bit wonderstruck by the sight of Juventus going 3-0 up at the Bernabeu, just as we were recovering from the insanity that was Roma v Barcelona the night before. Then the penalty, Gianluigi’s red card, Ronaldo’s conversion, and it all turned apocalyptic for the Italians.
Over on BT Sport Michael Owen tried to offer some comfort to Gianluigi.
“If there’s any consolation at least he’s not going to have to miss the next match because of the red card.” A death stare settled in on Steve Gerrard’s face.
To be honest about it, if anyone had suggested that a netball match would offer an ending to rival last week’s Champions League drama, they’d have been offered a death stare too, especially by those who always regarded the sport as basketball for people who can’t run. Or like Gaelic football since they brought in the mark.
But England’s last-second triumph over Australia at the Commonwealth Games was a complete blast. Not least because of the BBC’s highly excited commentator.
“IF YOU WANT TO WIN A GOLD MEDAL, YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR HEAD,” howled Caroline Barker who had actually mislaid hers long before Helen Housby got the winner. Most notably when Australia’s Gabi Simpson proved to be a thorn in the English Roses’ side.
“Blimey,” said Caroline, “she’s irritating.” And every English score was greeted with a “oooooooh hoooo hooooooo!”
Epically non-neutral, then, you had to chuckle. And when the winner came, Caroline combusted. “ENGLAND HAVE DONE IT! ENGLAND HAVE DONE IT! THEY’VE BROKEN HISTORY!”
It was terrific stuff from the, well, history-breakers, and a significantly more pleasant spectacle on the BBC than the night before when Callum Hawkins collapsed two kilometres from the finish line in the marathon. And instead of trying to help the Scot, the spectators took photos of him. It’s at times like that you’d quite like the world to stop so you can disembark.
“Where on earth is the help,” asked Steve Cram, and indeed it took so long for the paramedics to arrive, it was as if they’d had a 26.219 mile journey. Bewildering. But at least the winner, Michael Shelley of Australia, was happy. He’d overtaken the stricken Hawkins and said to himself, “Jeez, I might still be in with a chance here!’” Strewth.
Meanwhile, another Australian, Daniel Ricciardo, did some overtaking himself to win the Chinese Grand Prix, Sky’s Martin Brundle saluting his daring after he’d gone past five cars in the closing laps to earn himself a large bottle of champagne.
“Somehow, you’ve got to lick the stamp and send it,” said Daniel, kind of like He Who Dares Wins.
Which is what Jon Rahm was attempting to do at the Spanish Open when Sky’s Tony Johnstone gave us an indication of the fella’s self-belief.
“I met him on the range at Firestone last year,” he told us. “I said, ‘you know, I’ve got a feeling that within the next two years you could be world number one’. He just looked at me and said: ‘Why so long?’”
He’ll be a history-breaker yet.