Almanac Unicycling: On the National Championships, Davis Cup, NEAFL and Phil Walsh

The last few weeks have been hectic, what with the National Unicycle Championships in Darwin and avoiding the freezing cold of the nation’s capital. My husband’s team in the unicycle hockey – yes, think about that – came third; a credible performance indeed.   For those who care, and I know there are plenty, he was part of the winning 100 metre relay team, he came third in the 10 km ride (masters age group) and third in the 100 m sprint. All on a unicycle.

Anne CL unicycle hockey

National unicycle hockey championships in Darwin.

While I was in Darwin, a few other things were happening: the stadium for the Davis Cup was being built but also Ainslie played the NT Thunder in the NEAFL. Imagine my excitement: my niece is an Assistant Coach at Ainslie. Yes, that’s right; my niece! I was able to go and sit in the lovely warm Darwin evening and watch Ainslie perform really well against the terrific side that is NT Thunder. I don’t think any of us thought Ainslie would win, but they were just a couple of points down at half time. The final score was 14.9 (103) to the Thunder while Ainslie kicked 11.6 (72). It was a great game with yet another Rioli (number 33, of course) playing for the Thunder.


NEAFL: NT Thunder v Ainslie

I had to leave Darwin before the Davis Cup tie, but not before some of us were photographed at a local restaurant with the Davis Cup team in the background.

Anne CL Davis Cup Darwin

Australian Davis Cup team in Darwin

But before I left for Darwin, I was one of the guests on the sports segment of Genevieve Jacobs’ Morning program on the ABC wireless (666 Canberra). The discussion centred on whether enough, too much or just about right was being done to recognise Phil Walsh. My comment was that I couldn’t even address that when a family had been torn apart like this. No amount of discussion could possibly overcome the grief that the Walsh family must be facing. I did say that I was incredibly proud of Clarko, Hawthorn and the Pies for getting themselves together at the end of their match on the night of Phil Walsh’s death; a move that was replicated on grounds across the AFL and the nation that weekend.

My niece (remember, the one who is an Assistant Coach at Ainslie) and I were talking after the NT match and discussing the lovely tribute by the Hawthorn and Collingwood players and officials – she too is a Hawthorn supporter. She reminded me that, of course, in junior and women’s footy, this is a routine at the end of each match. Players come together to congratulate one another and shout out three cheers for the umpire.

Perhaps that is the thing that could be done at the elite AFL level to recognise the contribution of Phil Walsh: players and officials could come together as a routine to shout out three cheers for each team’s efforts and the contribution of the umpires. It would be a lovely tribute to Phil Walsh; an act that began the weekend he died.

Just a thought ….


About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. Elena Christie says

    I love the idea of a routine cheer of congratulations for the other side and the umpires at the elite level of football. It would just convey such a different and collegiate atmosphere. Can you get that organised Anne ?

    Busy trip hey ? Great piece.

  2. Is there a World Unicycle Hockey championship for your husband to now participate in?

  3. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Yes Mickey. The international competition is on in Spain in July 2016. However, after the national competition in Darwin, a fair few of the competitors headed over to Singapore for the Asia Pacific Unicycle Competition. In the past, Australia has been the proud holder of the Asia Pacific Unicycle Hockey Championship. But it wasn’t to be this year: apparently we came third this year!

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