Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it time to find some other sports to follow?

If you are an English supporter who is passionate about rugby and cricket, I feel your pain. What a weekend. A weekend of dashed hopes, humiliation, reality checks and despair. A weekend that makes me worry even more for the rugby World Cup later in the year, and a weekend when one must hope that the powers that be finally accept that we are truly bloody useless at the shorter forms of cricket and start to do something about it. Rugby and cricket are my things and plain sailing it is not.........

First off, all credit to Ireland. We weren't smart enough, we weren't good enough, and you can't give away that many penalties to a team possessing perhaps the best fly half in world rugby at the moment. Experience counts for so much in professional sport, and for all the talent we have, we could not do it when it really mattered. As an English supporter of course I was confident thanks to recent results, but there was no getting away from the feeling of impending doom about the Irish kicking game especially - talk about precision. An inescapable feeling that for all our improvements, we were going to go to Dublin and get turned over by an increasingly savvy team. That Ireland coach is something else, and although it was hardly the most showy game of rugby ever played, that was a proper Six Nations test match if you ask me - and we were found wanting. Where do we go from here? Who knows, but it's a World Cup year and we still ain't ready yet if you ask me. 2019?

But at least the England rugby team came to the party. At least they are putting their bodies on the line and refusing to give up. But if you are also an English cricket supporter? Well it's just embarrassing isn't it? I must admit that it has always been Test cricket for me and I don't thrill to the shorter forms of the game like the tensions and subtleties of a five day epic - but it's the cricket World Cup and if cricket is one of your things then of course you are into it.

But I've had enough. I just can't take the way in which we persist in playing our one day cricket when much of the rest of the world has moved on and left us in their slipstream. The English mentality of burying our collective heads in the sand and hoping stuff simply goes away permeates nearly everything it seems, and I just can't take the garbage that is being trotted out after each successive abject humiliation. Holy frigging cow we invented the sodding game, but wow is our Englishness holding us back from becoming even half way decent at one day cricket. The game is changing and we sure as hell ain't changing with it. Strikes me that we've got the players yet the powers that be aren't picking some of them, and when they are, they are stifling the life out of them with their sheer Englishness.

Where's the proactive captaincy that you see with a team like New Zealand? Whilst we might have lost to Ireland in rugby and it would be easy to blame our Irish cricket skipper for our collective cricketing woes, that would be too English again - blame somebody else while ignoring the collective ills. Where's a bunch of English batsmen who can take world class bowling attacks apart with impunity? Where is our dealing in fours and sixes instead of nurdling the ball around like in one day cricket of old? Where are our savvy one day bowlers who can swing the white ball? Times have changed. One day cricket bears no relation to Test cricket if you ask me, yet we pick teams and play as if it does. Thrashed by Australia, New Zealand and now Sri Lanka at the World Cup, and a part of me hopes that we lose to Bangladesh just to get it over and done with. We live in hope because we love the sports we love, but wow can it be cruel sometimes - a weekend of sporting misery!!

The title of the blog post is of course a joke, as in rugby and cricket are my things and always will be, although after a weekend like that you can't help but wonder. I wouldn't watch football even if we got to a World Cup final I dislike it that much. Are we any good at darts? Curling perhaps? What about tenpin bowling, we must be ok at that? Hell, I have less than zero interest in any form of competitive fishing, yet with our cricketing woes especially I am giving thought to watching England fishing teams do what they do on lakes, rivers and shorelines. Are we any good at that sort of stuff? But I won't of course. I will hope eternal and I will follow England in rugby and cricket. Surely it can't get any worse?