Domain Buddy and Sport
Sports are very important to me. I am good at Sports – this is not immodest, but a fact: I have good hand and eye co-ordination, and have played just about every ball game possible. And I love the adrenalin produced by Sports – mostly playing, but also watching.
I have also met most of my friends through a shared love of Sport – particularly Tennis.
One of the good things about life in the 21st Century is that TV sports coverage is excellent, and I look forward immensely to watching international Tennis, Rugby and Cricket – and of course, Formula One.
I suppose my love of sport first started by throwing around (or kicking) a ball with my father, whose particular passion was tennis. In Uganda as a boy, I played some cricket before going to Kenton, my prep school in Nairobi, Kenya
At Kenton, I loved sport and was in all the school teams for Cricket, Football, Athletics, Swimming and Hockey. I was pretty fast over 100 yards, but pretty hopeless at the 440 and longer race distances . Roller skating in the school yard was also a favourite
At King’s School Canterbury, the love of Sports died somewhat – to be 4 foot 10 inches tall when your fellow inmates were a foot taller and three stone heavier was rather a disadvantage. The main games played were Rugby and Cricket (football was not supported or encouraged) but I did eventually make the school 3rd Cricket Team and played House Rugby. I also discovered Squash, where physical size was not so important, and had a very brief attempt at Boxing.
By the time I went to RAF Cranwell, I had caught up physically, and started to enjoy my Sport again. I went on to represent Cranwell at Cricket and Squash. I also played some tennis at a rather average level.
After leaving the RAF in 1972, and as life became more business and family oriented, team sports like cricket, rugby and football became much harder to organise, and apart from the occasional “friendly” cricket match, were no longer a possibility.
Because I needed the exercise, I turned to sports that one could do “solo”, or with a small number of other “playmates”: tennis became my favourite sporting outlet, together with clay pigeon shooting (thanks to Ron Hollett) and windsurfing. And of course, working out in the local gym.
Best Team Sporting Moment (Cricket):
Helping RAF Cranwell beat RMA Sandhurst at cricket with an unbeaten half century
Worst Team Sporting Moment (Athletics):
Failing to win the 220 yards at Kenton’s Athletic Day. Having won the 100 yards, and in the final of the 220 race, I was in 4th or 5th place on the outside bend with 50 yards to go, and I felt I had the energy to make a decisive break to the front of the field. For whatever reason, I decided to hold my position, and ended up losing the race. Of small consequence in the scheme of things, it is something that I still remember and regret – one of the “what ifs…” that everyone encounters in life.
Biggest Sporting Regret
Never learning to hit a tennis ball with topspin: all my shots were “old school” slice, which meant that whenever I came up against a half-decent player, I was annihilated! Also, because of my previous squash expereience, there was too much “wrist” in my strokeplay. Without topspin – as any tennis player will tell you – you cannot hit the ball with power, because any shot will go sailing out of the court. I tried to correct this later, with some coaching etc. but topspin is something to learn as a child, so that it comes to your game naturally.
Sports I have Attempted – with varying degrees of success.
- Cricket – Stopped after skippering the RAF Marham Team 1972
- Tennis – Still playing if I get a chance. Played for club teams in local West Middlesex league matches over 20 years.
- Hockey – Played at centre in Kenton College Team
- Football – Played on the wing for Kenton College Team
- Rugby – Last played at RAF Cranwell inter Squadron matches. Fullback or Centre.
- Squash – Last played at team level RAF Cranwell
- Badminton – Played socially but nver really rated the sport.
- Clay Pigeon Shooting – I owned three shotguns and particularly enjoyed the Sporting Shoots
- Windsurfing – I found mastering the conditions difficult. Just about managed the water start. Far too cold for me as a UK sport, although I did try the local Queen Mary Reservoir
- Water Skiing – More of a hobby – achieved mono-skiing – last attempted in Rhodesia 1976/1977
- Snow Skiing – Not my finest hour – various holiday attempts – but better to start from the age of 3!
- Swimming – At Kenton, school team for backstroke. Otherwise useful for windsurfing!
- Boxing – Learnt the basics and had a few “fights” or rounds at Kings Canterbury
- Formula Ford – Driving course at Snetterton, and drove at circuits Oulton Park and Donnington
- Athletics – I was basically a sprinter – finest hour at Kenton College.
- Horse Riding – My cousin Robin in Rhodesia kept horses. Finest hour – taking one of the racehorses called Brigadier around the Salisbury Race Track at full gallop.