THE UPSIDE NEWS ADELAIDE WEEKEND SPORT WRAP

 Balls
Weekend sports wrap by Paul Bidmeade:
AFL, Cricket and Tennis gives couch a workout


As Adelaideans shivered through a cold snap, it was the weekend’s sport which moved us to tears, admiration and disbelief.

Sport in Adelaide started early on Thursday as two arch rivals stood silent in the darkness on the hallowed turf of Adelaide Oval, in tribute to the late Phil Walsh.

As ‘Lanterns’ by Birds of Tokyo played after the game, Adelaide Oval felt like a family of 45,000 people.

During the game between Port Adelaide and Collingwood, though, it was different.

Supporters of both teams were bickering, Taylor Adams and Justin Westhoff were wrestling, and the crowd yelled, “Ball!” in unison; football had returned to normal.

Collingwood left Port defender Mathew Broadbent alone as an extra man in defence in the last quarter and he proved to be the saviour, as Port won it for ‘Walshy.’

The match was played tough and strategic, just how the late coach would have wanted it.

Yet once the game was over, there was no opposition, because this tragedy reminds us how precious family is.

The AFL is one big family and this tragedy has unified everyone.

As the crowd left Adelaide Oval on Thursday night, a boy rode on his father’s shoulders singing the Port song with glee.

This was a clear sign that life moves on, but through this tragedy, families are closer.

Even Port Adelaide reached out to their biggest rivals last weekend, wishing the Adelaide Crows the best in their game; unfortunately for the Crows, they couldn’t get the job done.

They played well in patches, but the emotional strain finally took its toll.

Phil Walsh had a saying that “there’s no such thing as an honourable loss,” yet given the circumstances, I think we can make an exception.

The Adelaide Crows showed bravery just putting on the boots that day.

Subiaco Oval, which is now Domain Stadium has for years been labelled the ‘House of Pain,’ due to the long narrow ground and relentless Perth supporters, but last Saturday it was the ‘House of Healing’ for the Crows.

The Perth crowd showed tremendous respect and humility; as Crows players left the field in tears, the Perth people gave them a standing ovation.

IMG_3415[1] (1)The West Coast Eagles took to Twitter  before the game to tweet  “With you @AdelaideFC #weflyasone #AFLEaglesCrows.”

It was a break-out match for West Coast big-man, Nic Naitanui, who established himself as the best ruck-man in the competition, While local lad Riley Knight kicked two goals on debut.

The high scoring encounter was entertaining but also heartbreaking to watch.

A side that isn’t high-scoring is the Australian Cricket team, who crashed to a 169 run defeat in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.

Tailender Mitchell Johnson top scored with 77 in the second innings, but his efforts were diminished by a superstar English bowling attack, who destroyed Australia’s top order.

English batsmen Joe Root was awarded man of the match, for his 134 runs in the first innings.

It was English Cricket coach and former New South Wales batsmen Trevor Bayliss’ first victory against his homeland.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is yet to confirm whether his citizenship will be stripped.

Shane Watson will be fighting to keep his spot in the second test, after scoring 30 runs in the first innings and 19 in the second.

If he’s replaced by Mitchell Marsh, that’s one decision he cannot review.

Like Groundhog Day, Watson continues to get trapped plumb IBW and continues to waste Australia’s DRS reviews.

The 34-year-old isn’t the only one letting Australia down at the moment.

Australia’s ageing batting line-up struggled with the slow English conditions, but hopefully they can bounce back on Thursday.

While age may have wearied the Australian Cricket Team, Serena Williams seems to get better and better.

The 33-year-old won her sixth Wimbledon title on Saturday downing Spanish 21-year-old Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4.

Williams made a remarkable comeback in the first set to win four games in a row, after Muguruza stormed out of the blocks to take a 4-2 lead.

It was clear that Muguruza’s lack of experience got the better of her and the American’s thunderbolt serve blasted her to victory in one hour and 23 minutes.

Serena now holds 21 Grand Slam titles in her trophy cabinet.

She will head to New York hoping to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the one calendar year for the first time in her career.

Another 33-year-old by the name of Roger Federer failed to win a record eighth Wimbledon title in the Men’s Final.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic spoilt the party in four sets 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (12-10) 6-4 6-3.

The ‘Fed-Express’ was hoping to become the oldest Wimbledon champion of the Open era.

Yet ‘The Joker’ was hungry for success, figuratively and literally, eating a piece of grass after winning his third All England Club title.

The match was filled with drama and it seemed the rain delay in the third set, helped Novak steal the momentum.

The Swiss master has vowed to return to Wimbledon next year in his quest to write his name into the record books.

Last weekend proved that there is sentiment in sport, but results don’t follow a fairytale.

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Paul Bidmeade is a freelance journalist who lives in Adelaide. He is a sports enthusiast, music lover and proud ‘Croweater.’

He plays football in winter and tennis in summer.

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