What A Racquet!


‘Poc -uhh, poc -yaaahhh, poc -uhh, poc -yaahhh, poc -yaaahhh, poc -uhh, poc -yaahhh  ………… poc -Nnnuuuhh! (combined ‘Oooohhhhhh!’ from the crowd) poc -Eeeeyaahhh! poc -uhhurrf… ‘Out!”

as it lazily issues from the TV and the rain pitter-pattering on the window remind me that Blimey O’ Reilly, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis championships have come round again. Where does the time go?

It seems not more than two minutes since the heroic Men’s final of 1980. You must recall, it was McEnroe and Borg. Strangely etched on my memory, I spent the afternoon with My Best Mate Aky in the Off-Licence he ran on Seven Sisters road, more or less halfway between the Rainbow Theatre and Holloway Road. I’m not even sure we watched it, as for that you needed a TV – even in those days. We may just have listened to it on the radio.

What I do remember vividly is that it was dead that afternoon. Not a soul around.  A real bore.

So, like lost souls cast adrift in the middle of the ocean, we devised simple games to keep up our morale, to maintain the kind of clarity and lucidity needed to face the painful, impossible, yet inevitable question that awaited us and that we had both been putting off: The Wheatsheaf or Rochester Castle?

Onesuch game involved pre-empting the definitive tabloid headline for the following day’s editions.

Winner was (I’ll never forget it)

“Ice Borg sinks Mac the Strife in Titanic struggle”

I never did check to see if it was used. New balls please.

© Andy Daly  2011

Pic credits: both All England Tennis Club

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