Wimbledon diary: manual draw boards and shrinkflation on the Hill – Football News

Wimbledon diary: manual draw boards and shrinkflation on the Hill

Much of the vast stream of data generated at Wimbledon has long since been digitised and the last hand-operated scoreboard was pensioned off years ago, so it is good to report that the tournament’s magnificent manual draw boards, which are dotted around the grounds to chart the progress of the main championships, are still going strong.

Sean Pontin and Andrew Billingham have overseen the operation since the mid-1980s, and were busily printing names and results on to metal bars and labels from lunchtime on Monday. Their staff need a ladder to reach the top end of the draw in the early part of the championships, and while it remains a labour-intensive operation – and inevitably less immediate than the press of an umpire’s button which sends the outcome of every point around the world in a nanosecond – it has its advantages.

“You notice that while some people get their pictures taken in front of the electronic boards, most of them want to be in front of the manual ones,” Pontin said on Monday. “And the beauty of it is that when the tournament is over, they can leave it up all year for the tours of the grounds. We only took last year’s one down on Saturday.”

The Hill In New York, which will be showing the last three days at Wimbledon under the Brooklyn Bridge, is hoping to recreate a version of the manual boards to add to the sense of the true Wimbledon experience. “We wonder every January whether we’ll get the call to do it again,” Pontin said. Everything else here is electronic these days but, so far, they still keep getting us back.”

Champagne supernova

Lanson champagne, cheap at half the price size. Photograph: James Marsh/Shutterstock

Wimbledon Park Road, the main pedestrian route from Southfields tube station to the All England Club, is one of the plusher streets in south-west London, with house prices well into seven figures. But some of the locals are not too grand for the odd side hustle during the fortnight when the world is walking past their front door. Coffee and panama hats in particular were flying off the temporary stalls set up on several impressive front drives as the early arrivals trooped past on Monday, so while some locals were manning the barricades to protest about the All England Club’s expansion plan, for others, it presumably cannot come quickly enough.

Wimbledon is hardly a booze-fest to match some of the British summer’s other sporting highlights, or the gargantuan volumes of beer being consumed in Germany at present, but at least one (recyclable plastic) glass of something cold remains part of the day for many.

There was good news and bad news for anyone who fancied some bubbly on the Hill to ease the nerves as Emma Raducanu progressed to the second round. The good news: Lanson for £49 a bottle, which on the face of it compares quite well with some of the prices at, say, Royal Ascot; the bad news, though, in an apologetically small typeface, is that it is only half a bottle. Shrinkflation, it seems, is everywhere.

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