Magazine article The Spectator

Winter Warmers

Magazine article The Spectator

Winter Warmers

Article excerpt

James Cook's third voyage as an English captain ended in disaster, stabbed to death and disembowelled by a pack of angry Hawaiians in 1779. The latest Captain Cook's third tour since taking charge of the national cricket team has been just as successful, with Alastair's England given the Hawaiian treatment by Australia. But don't despair: for the British sports fan there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Try these:

1. Our women cricketers are thumping the Aussies, and it's the women's Ashes that matters, right? Just remind any passing Australian of that, and last summer's Lions tour too, if you've got the time. Thanks to seven wickets from Anya Shrubsole, they won the only Test of the multi-format series in Perth, a ground where the men have only won once. With six points for a Test win and two for each limited overs win, Australia have to win the rest to regain the Ashes. (If England's men were playing with such a system they would be trailing 36-0. ) 2. Getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki has been good for Rory McIlroy. After a wretched 2013, the Ulsterman has started the year with a second in Abu Dhabi, and he'd have won had it not been for one of those lunatic golf rulings which meant he lost a couple of strokes because his heel was on a line marking a golf cart track. But a Rory firing on all cylinders is good for golf, and Europe wants him on hot form for the Ryder Cup.

3. It's almost Six Nations time. England have a nasty trip to the Stade de France in the first round, but might fancy their chances against Les Bleus, who could be more than usually mercurial, with the players who fancy Valerie refusing to pass to Julie's supporters. Be interesting to see who Francois brings along, though I'm not sure if either of his gals is much of a rugby fan.

4. It's still early January but Manchester United have lost four times this year, and sit seventh in the Premier League. …

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