Yeah, as Ice Cube once sang, today was a good day. If you support Harlequins and West Ham, like me.
Let’s start with Quins, because I was there, at the Stoop today. European Champions Cup, against Leinster (in terms of cities, Dublin). One of the great European teams of recent years. The team we lost to when the infamous bloodgate incident sullied the name of Quins. The game today was intense, closely fought, but in the second half Quins were magnificent, and pulled away, with two tries, to win 24-18. It has been a bit of an iffy season for the team so far, but this must surely launch them on a new trajectory. The whole team was great and Nick Easter was a deserved Man of the Match. But I might have given the accolade to Chris Robshaw. For the last four weeks, he has given his all, as captain of England, against the best teams in the world – New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, as well as the brutal Samoa – and with no break at all, this weekend, he was pitched against Leinster. And he was everywhere, relentless, tackling everything that moved, winning ball, heaving the scrum, offloading. From the first minute to the last. Awesome.
And then West Ham. 3-1 victors against Swansea, another unfancied team doing well. The victory puts us 3rd in the Premier League. We will slip to 4th on Monday, as Southampton or Man Utd, who are playing each other, will get the points to overtake us, but it is just fantastic to be 4th in December. Playing excellent football against allcomers. Watching the highlights on Match of the Day 2, I was just overjoyed to see the renaissance of Andy Carroll, after so many injury problems. Two magnificent headers for goals. Not today’s norm in top level football, but if the team can keep putting it on his head, he will score! Add a brilliant finish from Sakho, on his return from injury, and all seems well in the West Ham world. They have come through a spell when a lot of key players have been injured and carried on getting good results. The squad now has real depth. It is looking good.
Of course, as a West Ham fan, with forty plus years of disappointment to draw on, I’m expecting it to go wrong at any moment. But I’m daring to dream that something good is happening, too.
With luck, things for West Ham and for Quins are looking up!