As you may have noticed it’s an Ashes summer and the Tests are heading our way faster than an Aussie tearaway from the Pavilion end. But in the lull between first and second Test — which starts on Thursday — take a minute to consider the Ashes urn: an 11in-high piece of terracotta fought for on five separate patches of terra firma.
I won’t go into its entire history — Wikipedia this ain’t — but in its 121 years in existence, at some stage at least, one person has dropped it and, more than likely, stuck it back together. This was confirmed in 2006 on its trip Down Under, when airport security insisted on scanning the famous trophy and the x-ray uncovered the secret.
Now, I was once told, by a very reliable source, a story about a former English cricketer dropping the urn on hallowed ground, but I can’t go any further for fear of legal repercussions and an old-fashioned clip around the ear.
It’s England (and friends) against Australia for the most famous 11 inches in all of sport. I wanted to make a joke here, but was reminded by the editor that RT is a family magazine.
I will, however, point out that the winner of the ashes gets bragging rights for, well, three months, as we’re doing it all again, starting in November.
Cricket: the Ashes, England v Australia, Second Test Thu, Fri 10am Sky Sports Ashes; highlights 7pm Channel 5; Thu 10.25am, Fri 10.30am Radio 4 LW, 5 Live Sports Extra
King Harold of the fairways
Around about the time that urn was being labelled, a man called Harold Hilton was winning the first Open championship to be held at East Lothian’s windswept Muirfield, which overlooks the spectacular Firth of Forth. He won the title twice as an amateur — wiki, this is — and the famous old golf course, well over a century later, is ready to host this crown jewel of an event for the 16th time.
Some say it’s the toughest challenge for the world’s best golfers. I say, just pour the wine and enjoy.
Golf: the Open Thu, Fri 9am BBC2, Radio 5 Live
Time to outdo the men?
And if you have a glass left, raise it to the early stages of the Women’s Euros, where England’s females will have to go some to fare worse than their male counterparts of late. Cheers!
England’s group games:England v Spain: Friday 12th July, 7pm (k/o 7:30pm), BBC3/ England v Russia: Monday 15th, 4:30pm (k/o 5pm), BBC2; 4:45pm Eurosport; 5pm Radio 5 Live/ France v England: Thursday 18th, 7pm (k.o 7:30pm) BBC3; 7:15pm Eurosport; 7:30pm 5 Live