July 14: A day of sporting madness

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Picture: ATP Twitter.

There are moments in sport that we say we will remember forever.

There are also are moments and days that we christen the best of all time and the greatest we will see.

But rarely does a day come around that captures the imagination of the entire sporting world like July 14 did last year.

It was 71 minutes in the early evening of incomprehensible madness action-packed, engrossing, and spectacular theatre to the point that we’re still getting over it a year later.

Its sensible to think that every sporting code and organisation across the world, somewhere in their headquarters tucked away has a file labelled “what if this happens”.

It’s happened here in Australia in the last 10 years with a drawn AFL Grand Final and the replay the following week in 2010 and the NRL Grand Final and golden point in 2016.

While the best laid plans are made and materialised, nothing can compare to the chaos of actually having to action the said plan that might happen once in a blue moon.

The setting is London, the city in which the day would see three of the biggest sporting events on the calendar unfold on the same day and, as we will find out, all reach its crescendo all at a similar time.

While Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix occur every year, the country was captivated and swept up the festival that was the Cricket World Cup.

Which for the home side and nation, was the final hurdle on a long road back to relevance in the sport.

Since being bundled out by Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval in 2015, this day had been bookmarked for a very long time in the hearts and minds of cricket people in the UK.

Meanwhile, just 30 minutes down the motorway on the other side of town, two of the titans of tennis were preparing to take centre court in what has been described since as one of the best tennis matches ever played.

As Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer battled it out to again determine who will be crowned king of the All England Club, the journey to get to the end would swerve in thousands of different directions.

The live sites were set up across London and the televisions were on across the world as everyone settled in for the unfolding drama.

It was always going be a late night down under with the time difference wreaking havoc with cricket fans sleeping patterns for the past seven weeks (and the Ashes series that followed) and while we would tend to doze off in closing stages of the games as we kept ticking into the morning.

Nothing would keep sports fans from calling an early night this night.

New Zealand ground its way to 241 and the feeling was that it wouldn’t be enough given this England team has made a habit of running down totals in excess of 300 in no time.

But as the pressure of finals would ensue, nothing would quite be as it seems as England faltered, rebuilt, stuttered their way to the final overs with wickets in hand but plenty of work to do but with its two biggest assets in Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler at the crease.

Down the road, the titans were going pound for pound, trading winners and sets and ticking into the longest Wimbledon men’s final ever played.

As afternoon turned to evening, just as it looked like a sure thing that Novak Djokovic would march on to his fifth title, a resurgent Roger Federer came storming home to force a fifth and final set.

At the same time, at 6:24 pm, Buttler is caught on the deep square leg boundary by the sub fielder Tim Southee and as the tale started walking their way out to the middle, the quivers and the tensions around Lords grew and rose to levels unseen before.

Across the world, you could feel the tension.

You could hear the remotes copping an absolute pounding as the channels were flicked back and forth to constantly stay across it all.

For those who had two screens running it was genuinely hard to decide which screen to keep your eyes fixed on for a prolonged period of time.

The final 10 deliveries of that final (in regular time) is some of the craziest cricket you will ever see.

The catch on the boundary cushion. The throw in and ricochet off the bat that goes to the boundary before Trent Boult holds his nerve twice to break the stumps at the non strikers end and tie the game.

Of the 39 previous tied games in One Day Internationals, none of the ones before them had seen drama and tension such as this.

At exactly the same time at 7pm as Boult breaks the stumps and sends it to extra time, Novak Djokovic has rallied from a break down, twice to force a 5th set tiebreak at 12 -12.

The first in Wimbledon History.

One city, two epic finals both going the distance and then to extra time.

We know how this story ends.

England go onto win the World Cup via a boundary countback and Novak Djokovic reels off three consecutive Aces to secure grand slam number 16.

From 6:19 to 7:30 pm, it was 71 minutes of pure sporting madness at the end of a day that will long live in the memories of sports fans forever.

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