Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Patrick’s Day – and the story of a non-fan “watching” the rugby online

I’m not a big fan of sport. But this afternoon’s rugby was thrilling. I’ve haven’t seen a fame of it on TV, or heard a snippet of radio commentary. But the ball by ball coverage (well minute-by minute) on BBC Sport Online was riveting.

Needing a big margin of victory, Ireland seemed to be holding Italy to twelve points as the score went from 13-12 to 20-12 to 32-12 to 46-12 before Italy staged a minor comeback and the match finished 51-24. Hitting “r” to reload the page every ten minutes or so.

Confident, I didn’t track the France Scotland match so closely. 10-7 seemed an encouraging lead for France. They’d get a win, but no great margin. 20-14 at half time seemed a manageable difference. Then 32-14. 39-14. Arghh. They’re ahead of Ireland. 39-19. Hurrah for Scotland. Will the morning headlines lead with

“Scotland score winning try for Ireland!”

Looked hopeful.

1708: They are five metres out with time running down on the clock. Half-a-minute.

Surely it’s all over. And it was. A late push forward by France, and a decision by an Irish video referee, settled the Six Nations in France’s favour.

Happy St Patrick’s Day anyway. It’ll not convert me to attending games, or watching rugby on the box, but it was a thrilling finale. And thank you to the BBC for the online commentary. You’re forgiven for having a sport budget, just this once.

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