Henman's fitting finale

FRIDAY

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th September 2007, 3:33 pm
Updated Friday, 28th September 2007, 9:26 am

TIM Henman played what turned out to be his last ever singles match as a professional in the opening rubbers of Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Croatia.

It was fitting that Henman should bring the curtain down on his illustrious career at Wimbledon where he enjoyed some of his finest hours - though it did feel strange to be be watching tennis from Wimbledon in late September.

There have been any number of excellent Super League matches on Sky Sports this season, though none as dramatic I would argue as Wigan's 31-30 win at Bradford in the the first round of the play-offs.

After waiting until the last week of the league season to secure their place in the top six, the once-mighty Wigan looked like falling at the first hurdle when trailing the third-placed Bulls 30-6 early in the second half, but they produced a stunning rally to prove that it really is never over until the fat lady sings.

The nation’s boxing fans got their first look at Doncaster’s unbeaten bantamweight prospect Jamie McDonnell on Sky’s televised show from Bethnal Green’s York Hall.

Though not at his brilliant best, as was always going to be the case against a physically stronger and more experienced Ukranian born opponent, the 21 year-old wlll have done enough to have whet the appetitte of many viewers with his slightly flattering 80-73 points win.

SATURDAY

ALTHOUGH it should have been a day off, I decided to take in the Doncaster Knights vEsher National League One encounter at Castle Park to run the rule over Lynn Howells’ new side.

Howells had promised that his charges would try and make amends for their poor showing against the Cornish All Blacks in their previous home game but if anything it was worse.

The only saving grace was the fact that Knights chalked up a fourth successive win.

There is clearly more to come and when Knights do get it right at home someone could cop a real beating.

I had been hoping to grab a word with winger Justin Bishop, who also doubles as backs' coach, but as he had lost a tooth during the game he didn't feel up to doing an interview, which was perfectly understandable.

The first thing I did when I got home was to turn on the TV to see how Doncaster Rovers had done at Southend.

Rovers have a good record at Rooots Hall in recent years and I had expected them to come away with something even though the Shrimpers are a decent side.

It sounds as though it was another game that Rovers could have won, but good performances count for nothing in the league table.

Even though he places great store on the quality of a performance - believing that if the team play well they will win more than they lose over a season - I am sure that manager Sean O'Driscoll would have settled for a couple of scrappy 1-0 wins of late.

Apologies for anyone who had a sleepless night after seeing a frightening picture of yours truly in the Southend programme.

It is the last time I ever ask my wife to take my picture, especially late at night.

I had recorded the England-Samoa Rugby World Cup game and watched it after the X-Factor.

England had nearly been as bad as some of the hopeless cases you see at the start of every series of X-Factor in their first two group game.

Their performance was better than in their two previous group games but they still didn’t look anywhere like defending champions.

It was good to see fly-half Jonny Wilkinson back.

The golden boy of English rugby has had a dreadful run of injuries since dropping the winning goal in the 2003 final Down Under and it speaks volumes of his courage and dedication that he is back playing at the top level.

SUNDAY

I probably watch less televised sport than your average sports fan due to my job. But with my wife away for the weekend visiting relatives and the weather being distinctly autumnal I decided to watch the Scotland-All Blacks game.

The All Blacks played in a silver change strip, and in my opinion, didn't look nearly as fearsome as they normally do.

Of course that could have been due to the fact that with Scotland fielding what was virtually a second string, they didn't need to pull out all the stops.

TUESDAY

DONCASTER Rovers star Jason Price took another step towards achieving full fitness when playing for all but ten minutes of a friendly against a young Mansfield X1 at the Lakeside Sports Complex.

WEDNESDAY

DONCASTER boxing manager John Rushton was “fighting mad” about some of the comments made about his boxers by members of the

Sky Sports team commentary team covering the York Hall show when I spoke to him about his two fighters.

Former Great Britain hammer thrower Mick Hill, now a leading figure in the England Athletics coaching structure, was in town addressing a coaching seminar.

Knowing that I am a qualified sprint coach, Doncaster Athletic Club secretary Barry Barnes invited me to come down and I planned to do so until a couple of evening jobs popped up.

THURSDAY

ROVERS boss Sean O’Driscoll faced some tough questions about the club’s disappointing start to the season at his weekly press conference at the club’s training ground. But he didn’t duck any questions and answered his critics head on.

Rovers media manager Steve Uttley ribbed me about the programme picture and said it had given him nightmares.