This is the first in what will be a weekly roundup of sports news from the UK where we like our sports to have confusing rules and funny names.
This week in sports began in a sombre mood with the news that French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi passed away on Friday 17 July. Bianchi had been in a coma since crashing his Marussia car into a recover vehicle at a rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix in October last year. A funeral was held for Bianchi in his hometown of Nice on 21 July, it was attended by world champion Lewis Hamilton and many of Bianchi’s colleagues from the world of motorsport. The Marussia team, now known as Manor, said Bianchi had left an “indelible mark on all our lives”.
The 144th Open Championship concluded on Monday with American Zach Johnson taking his second major title with victory in a thrilling three-man play off on the final day.
Fellow American, and current Masters and US Open champion, Jordan Speith was in pursuit of a 2015 Grand Slam, but hit a bogey on the 17th and could not birdie on the last hole to make the play-off. This miss led to share prices in his sponsor, Under Armour, dropping from $89.46 to $88.79 – seemingly chump change, but multiply that by roughly 215 million shares in issue and that’s a total of about £90m.
Amateur Paul Dunne, 22, had been staking a bid to become the first amateur to win The Open in 85 years, but his professional rivals out played him on the final day.
The Ashes is in full swing, and England will be looking to exact revenge for their dismal showing in the Second Test last week. Things looked bright for Alistair Cook’s men after winning the first test, but, they managed to lose by 405 runs in the second test. Serious questions will have to be asked of England’s squad who looked totally out of sorts at the end of the second test.
Chris Froome of Team Sky is currently holding the “maillot jaune” in this year’s Tour de France. He is being ably supported by his team-mates, but special mention must go to Geraint Thomas –the Welshman is having a superb Tour this year, and is displaying team-leading potential. In his role of “domestique” (basically, ensuring Froome can go in his slipstream) he is proving to be an absolute superstar. Watch this space, as we have a felling Mr Thomas will be challenging for a Tour title soon.
It’s pre-season for footballers all over the land, and the bigger clubs are off on their marketing trips, sorry, pre-season tours. Chelsea and Manchester United are in the USA, Manchester City are in Australia, and Liverpool are in Malaysia. As well as enjoying their tours, a lot of clubs are busy snapping up players in the transfer window. Liverpool, for example, sold one of their best players, who had a not so great season last season, to a rival club for nearly £50m, then bought a striker who has had one good season for nearly £35m. Wait. Liverpool has done this before. Has Andy Carroll taught them nothing?! Good news for Man City fans though – if the pattern follows, then Raheem Sterling will be a flop, but score a last minute goal in the Champions League semi-final and City will go on to win the tournament on penalties.
The Rugby World Cup is coming to these shores in September for the first time since 1999 (before you pendants get comment happy – we know England didn’t host it then, Wales did, but two semi-finals and a raft of group games were played in England, so calm down.) So, it would be remiss of us to not have a regular section about this tournament. The England squad are currently in Denver doing some high altitude training (and, according to James Haskell’s Instagram, going to the cinema) in preparation for the tournament. Stuart Lancaster will announce the final squad after two warm up games against France in August, so stay tuned.