Big fall

A great weekend with friends in Agulhas. Braais, games, laughs, drinks, beaches, walks… all of the good stuff. The only thing that marred it slightly was me taking a heavy tumble on Struisbaai beach during a last-batsman rush to save the game of beach cricket.

You wouldn’t think that sand could be so hard.

I now have a large knee, a bruised shin and my dysesthesia is back with a vengeance. Walking is fine, running is a non-starter and I’m feeling rather foolish and more than a bit pissed off about the whole thing. And so we concentrate on the positives, which are plentiful and include:

1. The fact that I made the run, before retiring hurt and successfully avoiding vomiting in the Indian Ocean. Much like the contents of my stomach, I was not out.
2. The fact that otherwise, the weekend was a proper jol, and
3. The fact that we got back to Cape Town just in time to see this guy…

… brilliantly slot home the winner against Bournemouth.

I’ve always been a fan of his.

The Blades up to fifth, looking properly good, and the press now talking of Champions League footy at Bramall Lane next season. And for once, they don’t mean just on the big TV sets in the Blades’ Social Club.

I’m hoping that we’ve just about done enough to avoid relegation at this point and while the actual Premier League title seems just out of reach, I’d be very happy with any finish in the top half of the table. I’m not sure we have the depth of squad to take on the rest of Europe right now.

Still, that league position is fantastic (and actually, totally justified) and the attention is flattering (and actually, totally justified).

Post-match reaction

I always watch these videos. I never share them. But this one I am sharing, because it’s one that I will go back to from time to time.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder speaks about our 0-1 defeat to Manchester City last night:

Quotes of note:

You’ve got two clubs there tonight that are a million miles apart. One’s spent about a billion pounds and the other one is on its own journey, which I’m not embarrassed about… and we’ve gone toe to toe with them and left everything out there.

I thought they were excellent, outstanding. I thought every part of the football club was outstanding tonight.

And he’s right. It’s not often I feel this proud after the Blades lose. We went down fighting. We tried our best, but sometimes, your best simply isn’t enough and this was one of those times. Manchester City are undoubtedly the best team we’ve played or will play this season. The fact that the scorer of their only goal is probably worth more than our entire squad put together gives me some solace, even if it gives us no points.

A draw would have been wonderful, a win amazing. But we’ve clearly raised ourselves for this run of Big 6 games over the past month. We now need to keep it going as we head into a run of matches against the rest of the Premiership.

Onward and (hopefully) upward.

Sport news

The rugby went well.

The better team won and now the country is fine. Those annoying economic problems have disappeared, the people all love each other and unemployment has ceased to be an issue.

The nation is united.

And talking of United…

The real big game of the day, the one that mattered more, well… the better team won there too, so that went really well.

Cheer up, Chris. It’ll all come out in the wash, as they say. Apart from the Burnley result, obviously. That’s indelible.

One nil to the… hang on a minute

Another brilliant performance by my beloved Sheffield United last night, full of commitment and hard work, set on a solid foundation of tactical genius, and backed up by 30,000 passionate South Yorkshire voices.

Some say that they could see it coming:

Arsenal have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition (4 – D2 L2).

It was a great night to be a Blade and – for the moment at least – I’m rather enjoying this little Premiership adventure trip we’re on. I don’t know if people who support “big teams” really understand what it is like to have been playing Southend United (no offence, Southend fans) and Tranmere Rovers (offence, Tranmere fans) a couple of years ago and then find yourself playing the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal each week.

I’m in dreamland.

Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson has kept 25 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season; more than any other goalkeeper in England’s top four tiers.

That’s not to say that it’s always enjoyable watching the games. Sure, I’m loving seeing us pitted against the best that England (and often, Europe) has to offer week in, week out, but it still feels like every game is a cup final. That means that the pressure is constantly on and it seems that I am fully engaged, as my watch’s stress monitor showed me:

I love the way you can actually pinpoint kickoff at 9pm.

I feel like I aged 10 years in 90 minutes but I don’t mind, although I will be older than Medusa by the time the season’s over. Last night, only a celebratory brandy was enough to bring me back down from a near heart attack and I didn’t get to sleep until 3am.

Don’t even care…

Best day

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Bit of lie in, a drive out to the winelands up North, some lovely wine in a really unusual setting – themed ‘caves’ set in old reinforced concrete wine tanks – at Klein Roosboom, then onto Nitida next door for more wine and a rather decent lunch. I only took the new 50mm lens out to force me to be a bit less lazy, and some of the shots were quite good, but we weren’t really there for the photography, to be fair. (We were there for the wine.)

This one is of the Rouge Lounge, where the walls have been stained red through years of wine fermentation, and glisten with tartaric acid crystals.

We only got back home at quarter to four and then I watched Sheffield United beat Everton at Goodison Park before lighting the braai for a bit of late steak. With some more wine. Because why not?

There was some top trolling from the traveling Sheffield United fans at Goodison Park yesterday. 😀

For the record, despite all that wine, I still managed a reasonable 5km run this morning. A reasonable one, not a particularly fast one.

And now? More football, more wine, I guess.
Well, someone’s got to do it.