It’s been six long months since Mr B and I sat around three tables pushed together in the centre of the bar at Worthing Town Football Club at the start of our Sporting Memories meeting. Oh, how we miss those weekly
Our 10 a.m. pick-up by Dial-a-Ride’s wheelchair-accessible bus occasionally arrives a quarter of an hour early which means that we arrive
even before the large banner advertising that “Sporting Memories Meets Here This Morning” is pinned up at the club gates. When that happens we have time to share a coffee before everybody else arrives.
How we miss the singing of “Sussex by the Sea” (with slightly amended lyrics) which starts off our meeting. Likewise, we are suffering from withdrawal symptoms now that we can no longer
enjoy the passing of a specially inscribed football from person to person as we are all invited to introduce ourselves and relate for the assembled group our sporting highlight of the week. I always had to use my (admittedly fertile) imagination when
it came to my turn; sometimes I was still agonising over what my contribution might be on our bus journey in. Then there was the delight of knowing what delicacies the Really Rather Wonderful Rhona had baked for our delight, to be enjoyed with yet another
mug of coffee mid-meeting. Most of all - though on a level with Rhona’s rock cakes - we miss the weekly Sporting Quiz when the combined knowledge of the whole group generally managed both to name all six of the Mystery Faces and to solve almost all the
Since COVID-19 and the Lockdown put a stop to our weekly pleasures, Rhona has ensured we stay in touch by sending us, each month, four copies of
the “Sporting Pink” so that each week we can test ourselves on our sport knowledge. This is greatly appreciated by Mr B and me but I’m afraid it just isn’t the same without all our knowledgeable companions contributing their two-pennorth...
Take this morning, for example. Of the six Mystery Faces, I only recognise one, a rather young Billie Jean King. To be honest, it’s the specs with the frames turning
up at the sides that give her away - I think I actually had a pair a bit like them once upon a very long time ago. Mr B’s answers are as follows: “Picture B - he’s that American, you know, the athlete, can’t think of his name. D is
the cyclist, the gold medallist - whatsisname; A - that’s the Paralympic chappie, you know who I mean, it’s on the tip of my tongue...” When it comes to calculating his score, I give him the benefit of the doubt and award him five out of
six, on the basis that he did know who they were. I score 1 out of 6, thanks to Billie Jean.
Worse is to come when we tackle the 10 questions in the Quick Quiz.
“Which Dutchman beat Gary Anderson to win the PDC Darts World Championship in 2017?” I ask, in my best quizmaster voice. “I’m trying to remember!” he grumbles, “It’s, erm, it’s Van der Something or Other.”
I allow him one third of a mark for getting the “Van” bit right. It seems that this week’s quiz compiler may well hail from Holland as the next question concerns the names of the Dutch twins who played for Glasgow Rangers in the early 2000s.
Mr B earns another third of a point for Frank and Ronald de Boer, having correctly guessed that they had a “de” in their name.
I follow this
up with: “Who was the first goalkeeper to score a goal in the Premier League game during Everton’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa in October 2001?” Mr B scowls in concentration: “I know this one! I know it, it’s on the tip of my tongue,
it’s oh, Bloody Hell!” Even without checking the answers on the back page, I am pretty sure the goalkeeper in question is not Mr Bloody Hell.
B scores a point for knowing that the Alexander Stadium, home to athletics club Birchfield Harriers, is in Birmingham, and another for naming Bath as the first English club to win the Heineken Cup in 1998. I surprise myself by knowing the answer to question
5, concerning how many rounds make up an amateur men’s boxing match. In all, Mr B ends up with 4 out of 10, while I excel with 1 out of 10. “Shall we try Spot the Ball?” I ask, tentatively, but Mr B has decided he isn’t playing any
Such a spoil-sport!