The Brolly Dollies, featured above, barely brought their Z game to ladies’ captain’s day at Whittington Heath last Saturday but earned an honourable mention (and a wee prize) for their team name. It was left to a team anchored by a seemingly ageless octogenarian to win the spoils and provide us youngsters (!) with the inspiration to hang on to the clubs and keep persevering.
There was inspiration on a different level at the US Open, where Gary Woodland kept his nerve and game intact to win his first major title and deny Brooks Koepka, who also played beautifully, his hat-trick. It was worth staying up into the early hours to watch a competition that matched the surroundings.
A couple of days later, Maureen, not so fresh from her journey home from Pebble Beach, had caught up on Neighbours – nothing much seems to have changed on Ramsay Street, except that most people, bar Paul, who probably has a pact with the devil, are looking a wee bit older – so we had a look at the Women’s World Cup.
England against Japan was unwatchable because there was something wrong with Jonathan Pearce’s microphone and he faded in and out, outdone by the noise from what looked like a very sparse crowd. Pearce, cruelly christened “the strangulated screamer” by Dai many years ago, was ditched in favour of Scotland versus Argentina, which turned out to be compelling stuff.
It took us a while to realise that the Sweaties were wearing the pink shirts and the Argies were the ones in the dark blue, so we had to adjust our befuddled thinking to cheer on the right team. I confess, we are easily confused (at least Mo could use jet lag as an excuse) and know as much about the women footballers as my sisters-in-law know about women golfers – not nearly enough.
As it turned out it was a great game to watch, full of incident, controversy and good goals. The Scots, who needed to win to have any chance of going through to the next stage, played some slick and exciting stuff and were 3-nil up with not too long to go. It wasn’t the time to relax – goal difference might prove vital – but Scotland switched off, Argentina switched on and suddenly it was 3-2 and the Scots were twitchy. Then, in the last minute, they conceded a penalty, awarded after seemingly endless scrutiny by VAR (video assistant referee).
But worse was to come.
Scotland’s goalie Lee Alexander not only saved the penalty but also blocked the follow up. Then VAR intervened again.
It was decided that the goalie had left her line too early, so she was given a yellow card, the penalty was retaken and Argentina equalised.
The Scots, as so often, in whatever sport you care to name, had been the architects of their own downfall but there are aspects of VAR that are far from satisfactory and the tweaks to the rules make life very difficult for defenders and goalkeepers in particular. If the position of your toes is subjected to slow-motion trial by video, penalty saves could become a thing of the past and don’t get me started on defenders having to defend with their hands tied behind their back…..
My football career never got beyond kicking the ball against the garage door and practising Willie Carr’s donkey kick flick in the garden – think I even managed it once. Mo reminded me that I’d wanted to go to a women’s football get-together of some sort in Kells but Mum vetoed it and refused to take me and I didn’t have the gumption to find alternative transport. In those far-off days, girls who wanted to play football were regarded as more than a little weird.
There was no golf on the agenda for me this week – collecting Mo from the airport on Tuesday took precedence – and preparing for yesterday’s Ascot Day took some doing, what with squeezing in a spray tan (probably a bit excessive for the Staffordshire enclosure, judging from the comments of my companions) and sorting out a shoe mix-up. Having bought shoes to match my dress, I drove to Cheshire, took the shoes out to show my cousin and, horrors, found only one shoe in the box – and it was the wrong shoe! From a pair I’d rejected because they didn’t fit. Can one go barefoot in the rain at Ascot? Is hopping allowed?
In the end, all was well because I had time to get back to the shop and collect the right shoes – two of them – but that’ll teach me to fall into chat when I should be concentrating on my purchases. I’d include a photograph of the finished outfit but that would entail revealing the depth of my tan……
It would be remiss not to mention the success of WHGC’s members in the handicap section of the English Senior Women’s Stroke Play Championship at the sublime St Enodoc in Cornwall earlier this week. Jenny Smale won, Chrissie Fisher was third and Jayne Fletcher finished eighth. Congratulations Heathens; perhaps someone will write a poem…..In the meantime, here’s a picture.
Finally, I must just mention that the indefatigable, irrepressible, incomparable Pat Ruddy has a new book on its way out (publication date July 1st). It stems from “a lifetime dreaming golf holes” and is an account of Pat’s course designs and his musings on a great many golf design topics.
What’s it called?
“Holes In My Head”.