Why England should have shared the World Cup trophy with New Zealand after dramatic final

Sport conditions its participants to the necessity of finding a winner but a boundary tie-breaker is so arbitrary as a method of separating two sides that it is worth pondering whether they should be separated at all.

When a game cannot be settled in 100 overs and then two Super Overs it suggests that England and New Zealand should have remained forever conjoined.

The draw is part and parcel of many sports most weekends. But when it comes to a league or a knockout tournament then sharing is somehow deemed unacceptable. A method of splitting teams has to be found – goal difference, goals scored, number of wins, Scrabble score…any which way.

Why though? The boundary sub-clause employed on Sunday was so obscure the small print belonged to data protection terms and conditions.

The tension and drama of the closing stages of the Lord’s final would have been no less if a genuine tie – as well as the win and the loss – had been in play on that fateful final ball.

The crowd would have been no less invested; both sides would have wanted to win just as much. It would only have been the ramifications of the run out that would have different.

In the photo finish England came out on top but flip the outcome and picture the scene had New Zealand hit more boundaries. Imagine the woe-is-us outcry and the backlash at the unfair regulations.

Of course New Zealand knew the rules, just as England did and to his credit their statesmanlike captain Kane Williamson – man of the tournament as well as player of the World Cup – took it on the chin. But that does not make the rules right.

The Kiwis’ coach Gary Stead has subsequently, in measured terms, suggested the trophy be shared in similar circumstances in future.

“Perhaps when you play over a seven-week period and you can’t be separated on the final day then that is something that should be considered,” said Stead.

He is correct. There is a certain honour in honours ending even.

The shared series happens regularly in Test cricket – particularly when England play New Zealand. The spoils were divided with the Kiwis in 2013 and 2015.

The Lions’ rugby union Test series against New Zealand in 2017 did not lose anything by being split.

When it finished all square with one win each and a draw in the Third Test it was suggested that there should have been extra time or even a replay to decide a winner.

But there was something warming about seeing the two captains Sam Warburton and Kieran Read, spent from the exhaustion of battering each other for three thrilling weeks, lifting the trophy together.

The 1969 Ryder Cup, with Jack Nicklaus’s concession of Tony Jacklin’s putt, was made by the fact that no-one won.

A winner was found between England and the Black Caps on Sunday but by wholly artificial means.


One day in and the evidence is already indisputable – Portrush should remain a permanent part of the Open Championship rota.

The R and A took a calculated gamble in taking their big show back to the Antrim coast for the first time in 68 years but the plan to take three Opens to Portrush by 2040 is looking an inspired one.

Only St Andrews has ever drawn a larger attendance and the merchandising shop took in the first two days what Carnoustie did in the whole of last year’s Open so the income alone justifies the decision. But the intangible is the buzz around the event this week. It feels like something special.

It is Northern Ireland’s Open but it is also the island of Ireland’s event too. Golf dissolves the border and there was a big influx of fans from the Republic enjoying the Shane Lowry show yesterday.

Royal St George’s will have a lot to live to next year.


England could have a second world champion team within the space of a week if all goes to plan this weekend for the nation’s netballers.

Tracey Neville’s Roses have swept all before them to raise hopes of a first world title.

The World Cup has been a success with sellout crowds in Liverpool but the jeopardy every tournament needs will only come at the semifinal stage. Australia versus New Zealand yesterday was an overdue nailbiter.

There has been an uncomfortable gap in quality between the best and the rest with too many mis-matches in the group stages.

Women’s sport is on the up and with it participation levels at recreational level. With its overwhelmingly female make-up, netball is one of the most important sports in the country.

The growth of the Superleague domestically is promising but for the sport to take the next step it needs a levelling up internationally.


For all that Accrington may hope otherwise after their win over former Europe champions Marseille, you don’t learn a great deal from pre-season football friendlies. Other than that Bovril in July does not work.

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