I should have been there; Paul Patterson, MBE, kindly invited me, as he has done each year for as long as he’s been chairman of the JSAD.
But I needed to ‘rest’ my eye after a cataract operation, so I had, for a short while at least, some tiny idea of what it is to operate with a disability.
My eyes may have been giving me trouble but it didn’t prevent me seeing the JEP’s back page picture of special gymnast Rui Reis, this year’s Jersey Sports Association for the Disabled’s Sports Personality of the Year. Having spoken to him and John Grady, the gymnast’s coach over the years, he thoroughly deserves the award, but then he is just one of something like 200 people who regularly take part.
So I pay tribute to them and also to the organisers, coaches and helpers who make these two days so very special. The Island does their disabled sportsmen proud and I only wish that I could have been at the Merton Hotel on Saturday night to see them!
Caversham International Tennis
Somewhere else I would have liked to have been at the weekend would have been at Les Ormes, where the most recent Caversham International Tennis tournament was held.
According to organizer and CI LTA development officer, Hugh Raymond, the standard set was the highest he’s seen.
Okay, it might be that a Jersey player never wins either the men’s or women’s event because it is attracting some of the world’s top players, including Finland’s Jarkko Niemmen who beat Frenchman Robin Haase to win the ATP Challenger title in what colleague Lauren Goyette described as ‘perhaps the greatest international ever to be seen in Jersey’.
But the standard of this competition is such that it is impossible to watch and not be impressed.
And Islanders should, indeed, watch and support the event. Where else in the Channel Islands can you see such talented sports people, playing the kind of shots you’d have to pay a fortune for, if you went to Wimbledon?
So, hopefully, with two good eyes this time next year, I’ll be back . . . although it would be nice to copy Wimbledon and to have a bowl of strawberries and cream during the event . . .
Finally, on the subject of places I would have liked to have gone to last weekend, I would have loved to have seen the Jersey under-21s win back the Ambassadeur Bowl at Blanche Pierre Lane in Guernsey last Saturday.
The game sounds as if it was a cracker – 3-3 after extra time with Jersey then winning on penalties, 5-4 in a dramatic shoot-out in which Jersey’s Nick Ashley produced two excellent saves, while Guernsey’s keeper Ashley Williams only saved one.
It was also a nice touch to have joint players of the match in Jersey’s Jay Reid and Guernsey’s Ben Coulter, but I was slightly disappointed in Guernsey coach Tony Vance.
Afterwards he said: ‘We were by far the better side in commitment, attitude and ability and we had the edge both with and against the wind.’
Maybe, Tony, but in ten years time your comments will largely be forgotten while the record books will tell another story: that Jersey won it, and Guernsey didn’t.
Postscript. If anyone was going to score a try against Argentina it was always going to be Matt Banahan.
He just seems to have this knack of receiving the ball and, several seconds later, touching down over the tryline.
However, how well will he and England do against New Zealand tomorrow? Full of hope as I always am when England play, I must admit that I do have grave reservations that whatever players Martin Johnson uses, England will be stuffed . . . (Let’s hope I’m wrong!)