FATE, destiny, call it what you will. I’m a great believer, and even more so after the events of last weekend.
Within a couple of hours Darren Clarke had fulfilled his destiny in winning the Open golf championship, at an age when most professional players are just happy to win a cheque big enough to pay the mortgage, and a 32-year-old Japanese footballing goddess had won the World Cup for a country that more than any other deserved something to put a smile on its face.
Let’s take Clarke first. Always a magnificent ball striker he grew up learning his art defying the capricious winds around the coastline of Northern Ireland, so it is no coincidence his best performances have come on links courses.
Royal St George’s played into his hands when it battered the majority of the field into submission, and Clarke was able to master it and sustain a challenge that would probably have been beyond him previously.
The loss of his wife Heather to cancer at a grotesquely early age, forced Darren into a new perspective on life.
Now driven, rather than obsessed, he has come to terms with some personal demons and controls his emotions and the slings and arrows of life more maturely.
That counts when you find yourself within touching distance of a pot of gold, and having followed fellow Irishmen Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy onto the majors roll of honour, has guaranteed the Emerald Isle one massive party hangover.
Homare Sawa is one entirely different kettle of sushi.
When Japan arrived in Germany for the Women’s World Cup, they spoke bravely about being motivated by the devastation wreaked on their homeland by earthquake and tsunami.
They even talked about winning the World Cup, and some scoffed, after all this was a country that had won just three matches over 20 years and five editions of the global event.
Well they had the last laugh when they beat USA for the first time in 26 meetings in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.
Yet with nine minutes to go they were a goal down when three American defenders decided to play keep-ball between themselves and watched in horror as a little dot of a girl called Aya Miyama sent the match into extra-time.
It was like watching a basketball team play 11 Ronnie Corbetts, and there were a few knowing smiles when six-foot striker Abby Wambach restored the lead for the Stars and Stripes.
That’s when fate struck again. Sawa, playing in her fifth World Cup and already possessor of a new record as the oldest player to score a World Cup hat-trick, dashed to meet a corner and with a flick of a sniper’s boot sent the ball high into the American net.
The distraught favourites proceeded to miss their first three spot kicks and a 20 year-old slip of a thing called Saki Kumagai sent an entire continent, never mind a nation, into dreamland.
I’M GLAD to see Jacques Rudolph is coming back to pile on the runs for Yorkshire.
It’s great having a home grown team when you’ve got the cream of the country’s talent as it was in the days of Hutton, Watson, Trueman, Wardle et al, or even Close, Illingworth etc, but as the county is in a transitional stage, the young crop needs support.
I always remember the late David Bairstow saying it was like having pea-shooters against cannons in the days when we were sticking to our Yorkshire-born only policy and being fired out by the likes of Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Malcolm Marshall.