A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Ashes - 1st Test; Trent Bridge

Just moments after hearing Nick Knight is stuck in traffic.
It may be something of a mistake to write this post a mere few minutes after the finish of a quite sensational, gut-wrenching and ultimately joyous (well for England fans at least) Test match. My hands are still shaking, my heart is overly beating and the almost overbearing urge to be physically sick has still not quite receded - so there may be even more spelling and grammatical mistakes than usual. I could use the excuse that my hay fever raddled brain is to blame for any mistakes or inaccuracies that may arise during this piece - but no, any fault is due to the sheer adrenaline rush of the match - bloody hell, cricket eh?!

It was all supposed to be so straightforward wasn't it? The number two Test match team in the world against a rag tag, in-fighting collection of the worst touring Ashes squad in history - a  team that had one world-class batsman and a decent bowling attack. Well I have words for those of you who mocked me when I said that this series would be far closer than many were predicting - I hate to say that I told you so, well I actually I don't. I told you so.

Umpire Dar trips up Jimmy during their celebrations

As I mentioned in a the previous instalment of literary blog genius that is Well bowled, Harold….. There had been a humongous cock-up my diary planning and with the booking of some much needed time away in the Scottish Highlands that began a couple of days before the start of the series. Of course that mistake resulted in the immediate dismissal of my personal assistant who has now gone back to her previous occupation as an emergency double for Kim Jong-un, the President of North Korea. Her claims for wrongful dismissal are being dealt with by the relevant ACME authorities headed by a Mr R. Runner. 

Now missing Sky TVs build up was something I could live with - there's only so much vapid nonsense from the likes of Nick Knight et al that I can put up with….. and to be honest I reached that particular point of no return many moons ago. However on my return I found out that Mr Knight wasn't actually part of the presentation team for the Ashes series - but it's always best to avoid, after all, there's always Sir Beefy Ian Headingly 1981 Botham to put up with.  

What I couldn't cope with was the fact that the anticipated 3g reception for my trusty iPhone was also at the low end of availability which meant that even the anticipated listening to the TMS 5LIVE app thingamajig was also a no-go. Just how do the people in the Highlands of Scotland managed to live without constant and full access to the Internet? Human beings should not have to live like this in the 21st century! - I feel a Bob Geldof type campaign is needed to galvanise world opinion, though my idea for the first single to be released 'Feed the 3G world' still needs work I feel if the sarcastic and frankly rude reactions of my family are anything to go by.

As a consequence, the first 2 days of play consisted of very occasional shouts of "Stop the car. we're in a 3g hotspot!!", which to be honest confused one or two locals at times, not to mention, instill panic in various drivers in the cars immediately behind me as my brakes were hit. As a consequence, much of the first half of these Test recollections rely partly on those rare snatches of text coverage or a quick read through the inter web thingy on my return….. once again, an excuse for inaccuracies or just plain lies shows itself.

So what of the game itself? Well, it wasn't exactly boring was it?

Ashton 'Sir The Don' Agar gets his cap from old 5-0 himself.
To begin with, I would suggest that anyone who has never seen a Test match, or indeed any fool who believes the longer form of the game is either inferior or dying, should be sat in front of a screen and made to watch each and every session of play from a match that will be talked about for many a year. It is not hyperbole to suggest that this match will immediately go into the top 20 of not only Ashes Test matches, but in world Test cricket - it must be true, because Bob Willis said so too.

The match had everything. Firstly the Australians had created a cunning masterstroke in reversing their batting order, namely placing their dross at the top and the proper batsmen at the bottom of their order, this confusing us all. Not only that, but Australian medicine seems to have perfected the art of cloning as the reincarnation of 'Donald Sir The Don Bradman Sir' was introduced to world cricket. Having been given the coveted no11 slot as premier batsman on his debut Ashton Agar decided to give the England bowlers a damned good seeing to and helped change what seemed a first innings deficit into rather nifty and handy 64 run lead. I had managed to grab a few vital minutes of connection in time to hear Agar go within 2 runs runs a century - the place (and commentators) seemed to be going mad. 

I would love to say that the boys own story child and cricket lover within me was cheering Agar on to get a century on his Test debut, but I would be lying. By this point I was so cheesed off at the last wicket stand of 25 thousand runs that the last pair had put on I cheered and instead jumped for Joy when he holed out to Graeme Swann. "Ah bless, my wife said, it would have been nice for the Australian boy to get his century"……. "Bollocks" was my partisan reply. 

Oh my bloody god……..
And why pray tell was I a little aggrieved? Well you may ask, because it brings us on to the first of a few controversial points in the match. Agar had been on just 2 runs when Wonder spinner Swann came into bowl. The ball whistled past the forward defensive prod from The Dandy Don to be claimed by Matt Prior who, in a blaze of blurred power, whipped off the bails…. OUT!!!. Of course the call was referred to the 3rd umpire, which was of no concern as the replay showed clearly that Sir Donald's back foot hadn't made it back into the crease before the bails left the stumps. Pretty clear cut then to the players, fans, commentators and the world in general then? Well yes, except for a certain 3rd umpire, Marais Erasmus who inexplicably came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough evidence to give the wonder boy-to-be out. Bloody hell.

Oh my bloody god……..again

Umpire Erasmus apparently wasn't satisfied with giving Geoff Boycott in the TMS commentary booth just one heart attack for the day as he decided again to play the part of pantomime villain when he overturned Aleem Dar's not-out LBW decision against Jonathan Trott- despite the unavailability of side-on 'Hotspot' evidence plus the strongest of suggestions from the television reply that there had been a inside edge. 

England's second innings was again not without tension and controversy. Firstly the positive. Ian Bell was simply majestic. As the rest of the England top order managed to look less than excellent it needed at least one player to steady the ship. Bell's century was patience and skill personified and arguably the real difference in the first test between the the two teams.
Sorry Stuart my son, you're nicked…..

However, it could have been so different when Stuart Broad had joined Bell after the loss of Englands 6th wicket and had been slowly and painstakingly inching their way past 200 ahead. Broad was facing a ball from Ashton Agar (yes him again) which seemed to clearly glance of the side of the bat, ricochet off the gloves of Haddin and straight into the greedy hands of Michael Clarke. The Aussies were naturally ecstatic, the celebrations loud. Every one knew it was out - it was about as clear cut a decision for Aleem Dar as could be but, amazingly, he did the familiar Dar shake of the head and gave it not out. 

The problem for many it seems in the world of the Twitterati is that Broad didn't walk, not only that, he had the affront for many to take on the air of the angelic choirboy and put on his best poker face in an apparent air of innocence. It's been nearly three days after the event and the subject is still the topic of debate in the cricket world - and never in my life have I read so much claptrap with suggestions ranging from a verbal reprimand to even claims that he should be fined & banned for bringing the game into disrepute for not walking. Bollocks.
The traditional Ashes Teapot impression competition begins.

The problem was that Clarke wad already used up his two reviews, one of which was a naive and pointless review of a previous lbw claim on Bell. I have sympathy for a clearly wrong decision but little sympathy for Clarke who had clearly ignored the advice of one team mate for the Bell review. 

I could understand the level of vitriol if Broad had been given out and then refused to walk - but he hadn't. He clearly waited, like 99.9% of all batsmen do for the umpire's decision.  

I also have no sympathy for some of the Australian media and fans who have vociferously placed themselves in the 'let him hang' side of the argument - remember, Australia, apart from the odd noteworthy case such as Adam Gilchrest, are a cricket nation of non-walkers. Ian Chappel famously declared back in the 1970's that it was not his place to give himself out, that was what an umpire was paid for. It would be unfair to suggest that it is just an Australian reaction against the non-walking, many across the world have gone as far as to call Broad a cheat - bollocks again. Few, very few, batsmen walk. Even Sachin has refused to walk - and before anyone out there ( and you know who you are) spring unthinkingly to the little master's defence, there is video evidence out there on youtube land so check it out first.

The last day of play was as deliciously painful and eerily evocative of a certain match at Edgbaston on 2005.

I must admit that as the last pair of Haddin and Pattinson put on a gut wrenching last stand of not a little skill and courage I truly feared the worst. Haddin in particular was colossal in his batting and it had got to the point that at Lunch with them needing just 20 runs to win, I though the game was up. Of course the match had to end on a referral…… the faintest of nicks proving the difference between stunning victory and heartbreaking defeat.

Jimmy Anderson - I truly love you.

The episodes of controversy in the game should in no way overshadow the quality of play throughout a majestic five days of Test match cricket. For England, Jimmy Anderson was his sublime self gaining 10 wickets and with it the man of the match award. Ian Bell played perhaps his greatest ever innings for his country with a knock of pure controlled delight. For the Aussies, their bowling attack is collectively excellent, with Pattinson being the standout performer and their lower order batsmen played with determination and skill throughout with Mr Agar showing that he may be a class act for years to come.

My admiration for Australian cricket has never been in doubt. They may not be the strongest side ever to visit these shores but whatever they may lack in collective class they certainly make up in other areas. It's been said in more than one quarter that England nearly threw this match away. Nonsense and bollocks - the Aussies almost stole it from us fair and square. Now if only Mr Clarke could get the hang of using the referral system and the Aussie top order starts learning how to bat then the rest of the series might be even tighter. 

Remember - the comments and opinions on this blog are my own and not intended to offend or upset. You are are quite entitled to disagree with them, you'd be wrong of course if you did. 


  1. Thank you Reeanne - better luck to your boys in the next Test, but not too much I hope! ;-)

  2. Many watch connoisseurs receive personalized rolex replica sale for their birthdays. But how many receive a personalized version of an iconic timepiece that they actually created. Watches store celebrates the 85th birthday of rolex watches, its honorary replica watches and scion. The Autavia was dropped from the brand catalogue in 2018 but remained a favorite among collectors of vintage Heuer watches. Geneva based manufacture rolex watches have been releasing platinum replica watches uk as part of their rolex watches store since 2018. The collection has ranged from very simple rolex submariner replica such as the time only replica watches sale from earlier this year, to the buy rolex watches from 2018. The rolex watches offers a cumbersome name and some of the replica watches functionality of the previous perpetual models at a less eye watering, albeit still top tier luxury price point.