Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

chris-toby2For us football fans, it’s been like waiting for Christmas but the FIFA World Cup is finally here with hosts Brazil kicking off against Croatia in Sao Paulo today.

I’ll be flying to Brazil next week with my son Toby for what promises to be the football trip of a lifetime. We’ll be seeing six games, including England’s games against Uruguay and Costa Rica and two quarter-finals. During the trip I’ll be contributing a World Cup Diary to The Royal Gazette – you can read my first column here.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, Argentina will beat Brazil in the final.


Tommy Aitchison (right), reminiscing with Austin (Cheesey) Hughes in 2005.

I was very sad to hear of Tommy Aitchison’s passing last night. Although as a lifelong cricket lover and historian of the local game, he would be the first to admit that at 95, he’d had a “good innings”.

I will forever be indebted to Tommy because when I first came to Bermuda as a sports journalist in 1982 he was a generous and invaluable source and guide to Bermuda cricket at a time when the Bermuda Cricket Board of Control was a complete shambles in terms of results and statistics. In a pre-internet age and little written history of Bermuda sports available then, Tommy was a godsend to an expat reporter.

Were it not for his painstaking – and voluntary – efforts, many of the Cup Match and County Cup records would simply never have been recorded or preserved.  Incredibly, he compiled these from scratch twice because his original stats, left with a colleague for safe-keeping when Tommy moved to the US for 20 years, were thrown away.

It was through Tommy’s enthusiastic recollections that I first learned about the exploits of Bermudian cricketing legends like Alma (Champ) Hunt, Nigel (Chopper) Hazel, and Clarence (Tuppence) Parfitt, that formed the basis of many articles I wrote over the years as sports editor of the Mid-Ocean News (Tommy had also been its sports editor, back in the days when it was an afternoon daily).

We worked on many cricket annuals and projects together over the years and remained good friends. In 2005 I was privileged to edit and produce the publication he said he was most proud of, A True Bermudian Champion, a tribute to the great all-rounder Austin (Cheesy) Hughes.

Tommy’s journalism was sometimes criticised, with some justification, because he rarely wrote anything bad about anyone – even if they deserved it. But that was just Tommy. Whether he was writing about cricket, his beloved late wife Lois, or his former wartime army colleagues, whose obituaries he would diligently produce for The Royal Gazette, he always looked for the positive in everything. And he never asked for a cent. I remember him being taken aback when I first asked him to write an article for RG Magazine and insisted that he got paid for it!

Tommy’s writing and gentlemanly good humour may now seem from another era but that’s what made him so beloved. And I for one shall miss him dearly.

Read on for a short biography of Tommy I wrote to accompany the Austin Hughes book:


Interesting to compare today’s online coverage of today’s May 24 races, arguably the first to be covered extensively via social media.

The Bermuda Sun outdid everyone for minute-by-minute coverage with its excellent Twitter and Facebook feeds that kept us rain-soaked spectators up to date on the progress of the lead runners throughout the morning.

Bernews kept up a live blog during the race and had photos and reports of both the Marathon Derby and the Sinclair Packwood Cycle Race up almost immediately and long before anyone else. Bermuda Wired carried streaming audio of ZBM’s live radio coverage.

But if you looked at The Royal Gazette or Bermuda Network News sites, you wouldn’t have know the event had taken place. Even by 11.30 a.m. when both races were long over, neither site had so much as a headline and had mentioned nothing on their FB or Twitter feeds. In fact, BNN doesn’t even have a Sports section.

In fact, the much-hyped, Ewart-backed BNN is so far proving something of a disappointment. Bar its exclusive shots of Collie Buddz’ wedding, there has been little of note on the site since it launched last week and its updates are sporadic at best – not quite the cutting edge of 24-7 news technology that Government MPs shamelessly pitched it as in the House last week.

Its Government connections indicate that it will get official “news” ahead of anyone else but it will be interesting to see how it fares against its rivals in covering hard news. Bizarrely it led its Top Stories section the other day with a report on stolen global art. Go figure.

Meanwhile, here’s a selection of my shots from today’s Marathon Derby near Breezeblog’s world headquarters on Harbour Road, where the rain clearly failed to dampen the spirits of race fans: