Australia likes to think of itself as a global sporting power but it was a lacklustre weekend for our athletes on various world stages.
It wasn’t all bad. Our cricketers enjoyed some success, batting all over a mediocre Indian bowling attack for an easy victory in the Champions Trophy overnight, moving Australia through to the semi-final stage. Glenn McGrath even returned to form, so all is well there.
The other good news was that our form soccer player of the moment, Tim Cahill, scored again at weekend, as Everton drew 1-1 away to Arsenal. This came just days after Everton beat Luton Town 4-0 in the Carling Cup third round. Then again, how seriously can you take scoring against a side called Luton Town? That sounds like beating up on Airey’s Inlet.
And that’s about where our international success ended, unless you get excited about Neil Robertson getting the wobbles but hanging on to become the first Aussie to win a ranking event in the Aberdeen snooker final.
Australia didn’t even get close to winning the World Series in baseball … some mob called the St Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers, and globally, we had a dud weekend on the golf course. On the PGA Tour, the best any Australians could manage at the Chrysler Championship in Florida was Rod Pampling’s tie for sixth, at seven under after a charging finish. KJ Choi won the silverware, at 13 under.
In Dubai, in an LPGA event, Karrie Webb could only manage third behind Annika Sorenstam, who was enjoying a rich vein of form all week while in Europe, no Australian even looked like winning the Order of Merit. Irishman Paddy Harrington did that, by managing to finish second to Vijay Singh in the Volvo Masters, just edging out Paul Casey as the European tour’s biggest money-winner for the season.
These days, it’s rare to find happiness for local sports fans in tennis and sure enough, no Australians were involved as world number one Roger Federer finally managed to win his home tournament, taking the final of the Swiss Open. Federer’s record this year is 87-5 and last week he became the first player in the Open era to win ten titles for three straight years.
It turns out Australia can’t even win bastardised “international rules” football games that we invented over a pint of beer or two with our Irish football peers. In the First Test on Saturday, Kevin Sheedy’s Australian team was leading Ireland with two minutes to play but managed to lose by eight points.
There’s always next weekend.