Monday 27 November 2023

1989 UK Championship: Stephen Hendry

The evening of Sunday December 3, 1989 seemed significant in the world of snooker. As a 20-year-old Stephen Hendry won the UK Championship at Preston there was an overwhelming sense that the baton of power was being passed from one great champion to the next. The end of the decade painted a worrying picture for the dominant figure of the sport in the 1980s.

Steve Davis had lost finals before. Yet this felt different. Since turning professional in 1985 Hendry had been seen as the future of snooker, the boy who could knock Davis off his perch. Winning the 1987 Grand Prix and 1989 Masters, Hendry was flying up the world rankings and justifying the hype surrounding him.

Sunday 19 November 2023

1984: Viv Richards' 189

"I think that's the greatest ODI innings," Australian skipper Pat Cummins said, regarding Glenn Maxwell's stunning unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan in the 2023 World Cup. "It's the best I've ever seen, probably the greatest ODI innings ever." Former New Zealand wicketkeeper and commentator Ian Smith seemed to agree. "I've never seen anything like it."

Sport naturally sets itself up for debates about the greatest or worst, be it competitor, match, series, tournament, goal, try, shot, insert as appropriate. As soon as anything happens in the sporting arena, you can be fairly confident that within minutes or hours pundits and social media experts will be discussing the merits of what we have just seen.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

1983: Spain v Malta

There are some football matches in the distant past that will forever be shrouded in suspicion. Those results that give growth to conspiracy theories, accusations, and general doubt over sporting integrity. Often first impressions are proved right - not much consolation to Nottingham Forest fans in 1984 - but there are others that may never be confirmed one way or the other.

Fans of the Dutch national team could be forgiven if they cast their minds back to one particular match in December 1983. On the brink of qualification for Euro 84, there was only one possible result that could prevent an orange invasion of France as Spain prepared to play Malta in the final Group Seven match in Seville.

Monday 6 November 2023

A Question of Sport: Princess Anne

Not all appearances involving the royal family on the BBC have been cringeworthy. Long before Prince Andrew, Pizza Express, and his revelations of being sweat free, and just prior to the toe-curlingly terrible It's a Royal Knockout, there was a television programme that managed to paint the royal family in a positive light.

Princess Anne appearing on the 200th edition of A Question of Sport was a memorable moment in so many ways. With just four channels to choose from there were many shared television experiences like this throughout the decade, as the likes of JR, Charles and Diana, Den and Angie, and Taylor and Davis attracted millions of viewers.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

1987/88: Liverpool v Nottingham Forest

There are always debates relating to greatness in sport. Constant comparisons between individuals and teams from various eras spark conversations in pubs, on phone-ins and social media, as those involved dig their heels in and present evidence supporting their case. 

Arguing about the greatest football team to ever play the sport could prove tiring. Judgement is often clouded by club allegiances, recency bias, or the more mature among us refusing to believe that a team from the distant past will ever be surpassed.

Take the Liverpool team in the 1987/88 season. Surely there can be no argument that Kenny Dalglish's side were great, as they swept aside the rest of the First Division with football that seemed to be from a different planet. The last great Liverpool team of that era has to enter a competitive field as the best to hail from Anfield during the glory years.

Monday 25 September 2023

Ryder Cup quiz

A bit of a change this week, as have a crack at writing my first quiz on this site...