Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Exhibit A - We went out after tea, defending a small target - around 120. Our skipper opened the bowling. (and the batting, and fielded first slip for that matter - but anyone who's played the game knows that rank egotism occurs at all levels) He exhorted us from the start of his run up - ''On your toes lads, keep it tight, make 'em fight for every run'' Down came the first ball, a rank long hop that was ceremoniously knocked out of the ground, over the South Circular dual carriageway and into the park on the other side of the road, causing picnic parties to scatter.
Cue much hilarity on the fielding side, and the old favourite of 'something travelling that far in the sky normally has a stewardess on it' getting another welcome airing.
In the pub later, some bright sparkworked out it ended in a different London Borough to which it started.
Exhibit B - One of our regular opponents had a couple of batsmen who were very competitive - they used to compare averages, which is always a dubious practice in my book - a bit like school kids behind the bikeshed comparing the size of their tools.
At the end of one season, Batsman A had a 20 run lead over his rival. He happily went off on holiday a week later, only for Batsman B to arrange another game, in foul autumn conditions that even rugby players were dubious about playing in, to allow himself to score the required runs to top the averages.
The following year Batsman A got his revenge by creating a mythical game in the scorebook when Batsman B was on his travels.
Exhibit C - Playing our local rivals who we rarely came close to beating, on this occasion we were surprisingly on top. They were 70 odd for four chasing 150. One more wicket would probably clinch it.
Then their umpire took a hand and gave a batsman 'not out' after being BOWLED, saying the ball came back off the keepers pads. Said keeper then had to be physically restrained by three colleagues. Meanwhile the rest of us became forensic experts, looking at the bails at least three feet behind the stumps, and the off stump pointing backwards towards first slip.
Next over from that end, the bowler deliberately walked over and gave his sweater to the square leg umpire rather than to the one with the white stick and dog at the bowlers end! The kicker was after the game (which we lost) when we asked the batsman why he didn't walk. 'My Dad's a good umpire - he always gets it right'.
Exhibit D - I was bowling. The skipper put a fielder at short leg. I'm never sure why we do this. Most of out cricket is played on pretty placid wickets where the ball hardly ever gets above stump height, and none of us can fling it down at anything above medium/quick. Following the gameplan, though, I dropped one in short in the vain hope that it might rear up into the batsman's chest. Instead, his eyes lit up and the ball came off the bat like an exocet - smack into the skull of the fielder three yards from the bat.
The batsman then came out of his ground to join the concerned ring round the prone figure, at which point our keeper ran him out. We subsequently withdrew the appeal - round about the time the ambulance turned up.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It's common knowledge that there's no love lost between Both' and Chappell (I). There seem to be so many conflicting stories and theories surrounding the famous night in the Melbourne bar in 1977 that you expect to hear next that Chappell was standing on a grassy knoll when Beefy lamped him - 'back and to the left' indeed...
As for Chappell's comment about 'skeletons in Botham's closet', are there any more that could come out that would really shock us? Unmasked as a member of the Socialist Workers Party, or co-author of a vegetarian cookbook with Alan Lamb perhaps.
Maybe what really rankles with Australians is Botham's Ashes record - played 33, won 17, drew 10, lost 6.
Let's pay a visit to the cavernous cerebellum of Ricky Ponting for a verbatim transcript of his thoughts...
Hmmm (chew gum) - 232 for 1, and they're going at five an over (chew again). Time to put (chew) the brakes on. (Chew, chew again, chew, poke gum out of mouth, chew, chew) Stuey's buggered (chew), Bretts been spraying it around (chew chew) like a drunk pissing in an alley (chew chew chew - swallow saliva build up, chew chew) and Bracken's not getting a (chew) look in 'til he gets a f***** haircut. (Chew, chew, chew, roll gum into ball with tongue, chew, chew, chew) Now (chew) where did I hide (chew) McGrath.... where is he, where's the (chew) bugger hiding? (Chew, chew, chew, chew, chew chew.....)
"Hey, Gillie - has Glenn gone off for a slash?"
Gilchrist looks perplexed - "Sorry Skipper, Glenn retired last summer.... remember?"
Shit, I'd forgotten. (chew chew, poke gum out of mouth, chew) That's a bit of a blow - I reckon we're really going to miss him. Oh well - I suppose there's always (chew, chew, grind teeth, chew) Text-Boy....
''Start getting loose Warney''
A baffled Gilchrist again "Erm, that's Matty Hayden at slip Skipper - Warney retired last summer too...."
Damn, forgot again (chew, chew, chew, chew, swallow saliva, roll gum between lips like it's a cigarette, chew, chew, chew, chew, chew, chew, keep chewing, chew.....) Now we're screwed.....
There's a strong rumour doing the rounds in Australia that a lot of players were tipped off years before the event and collected a fortune after the Sydney Test by having bet that McGrath and Warne would retire at the same time. All except Punter who, based on a tip from Merv Hughes, had staked the farm and trebled it up with the Pope appearing naked in St Peter's Square on Easter Sunday with a daffodil shoved up his arse.
The Ponting family have been looking for a new (cheap) home ever since.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
GC - "Mr County Chairman, this is Giles Clarke"
Mr CC - "Morning Gles, how can I help?"
GC - "I'm just having a quick ring-round, seeing if I can persaude you to vote for me for ECB Chairman."
Mr CC - "What's it worth?"
GC - "What did you have in mind?"
Mr CC - "Well, here at Nottingham/Edgbaston/Manchester/Durham/The Oval/Southampton/Bristol/Cardiff we rely heavily on income from international matches to keep our head above water (unlike Worcestershire who relied on water wings most of the summer...) Seems a bit unfair that Lords gets two tests and at least two ODIs each summer, whilst the rest of us have to scrap over the remains."
GC - "I see what you mean. Vote for me and I'll see what I can do"
Mr CC - "Will do!"
Looks like the Chairmen are calling in their debts. Scroll down to 'Grounds for Concern'
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
There's never been any doubt of Ramps' pure talent, always the questions about his mental state and attitude, whereby in less enlightened times he might have been described as 'uppity'. It also makes you think of how badly he was managed by the likes of Bumble.
The potential recall also raises a interesting point.
Ramps has publically attributed much of of his continued form, desire and sharpness to the competitiveness in the County Championship under the new divisional structure. He piled up runs when Surrey were in Division One, continued when they went down, and then carried on again when they came back up last year - responding to the challenge that Division Two runs were 'cheap'.
In the same vein, there were the comments from Justin Langer a recent Grauniad interview. The gnomic one is coming back for a second season at Cidershire, specifically for the challenge of Division 1 cricket. Apparently no lesser authority then Warnie has told him how tough it is.
Which begs the question, If Division One is rapidly becoming the most competitive domestic league in the world, how long will Bopara and Cook stay at Essex all the time they are in Division 2? Along the same lines how long will Monty stay at Northants?
More importantly, how long will any borderline test player stay at a Division 2 county if he feels that he needs to step up a level to improve his game and make the further jump to test status? Stuart Broad has already made the transition - carefully waiting until Notts were certain of promotion before commiting to a move to Trent Bridge. He won't be the last.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Maybe we should change the nickname from 'SuperFred' to 'Garden Furniture'. You know - only brought out in the summer.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We spent three horrible booze-sodden years in a big, damp, gale-lashed, icicle-hanging, foot- and-mouth infested hellhole of a manse on the Northumberland fells, nursing our big liberal-leaning son Stuart through his classics Phd at Durham University.
I used to be a trade union official (albeit only for other NUJ hacks at the Sunday Times) and now I read in the Guardian letters page a letter from Dr Stuart Dunn pissing on the postal workers.
Where did we go wrong?
Friday, October 05, 2007
Oldest cricket club in the world - Mitcham CC
Second oldest test match ground in the world - The Oval
According to Cricinfo.com, the site of the oldest recorded cricket match -Sevenoaks Vine
Oldest rugby club in the world - Blackheath RFC
Second oldest football club in the world - Cray Wanderers FC
Also, resting place of WG Grace, the first world famous cricket celebrity - Elmers End
Not forgetting it's also home of 'Rotherhithe Rita' - responsible for introducing Shane Warne to the delights of text messaging (amongst other things) on the Aussies 1993 tour.
"Mark Anthony, Brutus, Plato, Montezuma, Aristotle - your boys took one hell of a beating!!"