Belfast Telegraph

Oh I say! It’s Wimbledon

By Gail Walker

New balls, please! As the World Cup grinds relentlessly on, marinaded with the salty tears of millionaire players looking for someone to blame for the fact they can't kick a ball straight, how refreshing to hear the plink-plonk of ball and racquet and the polite ripple of applause as yet another British player crashes out in the first round.

Yes, it’s Wimbledon. I know, I know, SW19 still retains the faint whiff of an old England, Bentleys, and standards, boy, standards. There are times when you expect Bertie Wooster to burst from the stands being chased by a hatless policeman and an assorted number of double-barrelled bluebloods.

Meanwhile, on Court Number 1, Miss Marple (played, of course, by Margaret Rutherford) is sorting out a nasty case of a gentleman player poisoned by his own barley water ...

Still, it’s always a fortnight to gladden the heart. In an ever-changing world, Wimbledon, despite protestations to the contrary, remains much the same year after year: someone will grunt too much, an unseeded woman player will wear something rather ‘daring', there will be much agonising about why there isn’t a champion among the British players, there will be endless camera shots of players’ girlfriends and minor royalty.

Oh, and somebody will mention the price of strawberries and cream, somebody will mention Virginia (‘Ginny') Wade and the Jubilee year. Sue Barker will be there, along with a ‘humorous' montage during an enforced break due to rain.

And above it all, the plummy ghostly vowels of the late, great Dan Maskell — “Oh, I say!”

Bliss.

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