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…..

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Ashes 2015 - 4th Test, Trent Bridge: My role in regaining the Urn.

Airwolfhound -
When I scribbled what some regarded as overtly optimistic musings just before the beginning of the Ashes about England's chances, it's safe to say it created something of a minor stir amongst a few who read it. In particular, a few of my Aussie friends seemed to take especial issue with me. The fact that my thoughts went against the tide of considered opinion both within and outside the game ensured one or two responses to the article suggesting that I was talking complete rubbish. I know, I know, it wouldn't be the first time that I didn't know what the hell I was blathering on about. If you have the keys available to let you out of your padded cell then you can read the article RIGHT HERE. However, if you think that idea is quite frankly pointless and a stretch too far for anybody's sanity, then I'll summarise the points quickly here.

In essence, my near suicidal (it's all relative) pessimism after scraping an uninspiring draw in the West Indies only then to see the Aussies go there and give them a real tonking meant that I initially feared the worst about the coming summer. That was until the ODI series against New Zealand where, instead of of our time-honoured method of pathetic capitulation, we decided to win the series and not only that, but to win it with a form of cricket that was both exhilarating and a joy to watch. We were attacking, aggressive, innovative and fearless in our approach to winning. If that wasn't enough we then had a go at that slog in the park 20 over malarkey and strewth almighty, we only went and won that too with that cunning and very un-English method of trying to win cricket matches in style. It was all very confusing in that it inspired a feeling that things may not be quite as bad as many feared.

The last paragraph in the article especially was singled out for one or two comments; 

" Of course the big question is whether brave Captain Cook and the players from the Test match team who didn't play in the ODI series (i.e. most of them), can take up the mantle of 'lets do it to them before they do it to us' and show some mettle in the upcoming Ashes series. The newly regained optimist in me says that we can, or at least I believe that we may not now get the kicking I thought at one time was in store for us. I'm feeling good about our chances." 

The vast amount of comments I received were good natured, except for one in particular, and I'm still not quite sure just how I can stick my blog where the sun doesn't shine - I'm assuming the person in question was referring to Lancashire.... Essentially, the constant opinion was that we were facing a far superior side in terms of skill and mental strength and that at best England might just about avoid a complete tonking at the hands of the Aussies. Few, if any, seemed to share my optimism.

I would love to say that I'm far above being all smug and 'I told you so', being humble has never been close to inhabiting any part of my personality so....................


However, even I will admit that I never expected us to regain the Ashes in quite such a spectacular manner. 

I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of matches in my time, either in the flesh, as it were, or on TV. In truth, I'm not sure what the first game was that I actually watched. I can't remember who England were playing, or the ground that it took place at, or even the year that the Test match took place when I saw my first game on the BBC. I know what you're thinking, "Not really the most sparkling of reminisces so far, Stuey old boy".... But bear with me.

I'm guessing that it was around 1972 or 1973, so by my advanced mathematical abilities that would make me around 6 years of age. My mum had taken me along to visit a friend of hers and so in order to keep me quiet they had employed the time-honoured pre-video games days of sitting me in front of the TV in the hope that something would take my attention while they chatted about grown up women stuff.  I can remember that after been given free reign to 'surf' through the channels (this was the early 1970's, we had three channels, it took a three seconds) I decided to ignore the cartoon on one channel, the test card (wikipedia that one kids) on the other and decided to watch the first over of the day instead. I recall that England got a wicket in the very first over, everybody at the ground became very excited and from that moment Cricket became one of the loves of my life.

Broad's reaction to THAT catch....
(Picture courtesy of Reuters)
Ever since that time I have witnessed any number of highs and lows, some great games and many great moments. However, nothing, but nothing has ever compared to what I witnessed on the first day of the Trent Bridge Test.....Nothing. I'm also proud to say that I'm pretty sure that the events were in a large part thanks to me.

I know what you're thinking, surely the victory was probably more to do with Stuart Broad producing a spell of bowling that will surely still be talked about in 40 years time? Well yes partly, I'll give him that, it was pretty special I suppose. However, in my mind the victory was more due to my redecorating my house meaning that I had to forgo my usual room and with it my favourite cricket watching couch, and watch it in the kitchen......on a far less comfortable couch. Now I'm not normally the superstitious kind, in fact quite the opposite to the extent that I tend to mock such nonsense thinking in everyday life. The fact is that I may now have to reconsider my thinking, because not only did my complete change of cricket watching location inspire Broad's heroics, but the fact I never left the couch for one moment during live play on that first day meant that my own personal heroism in holding for the loo ensured potential victory. As I said, it is a very uncomfortable couch.

Alright,  I concede that possibly it wasn't just my personal heroism that caused the Aussie collapse, the simple fact was that the 18 or so overs in that first morning provided perhaps the most exhilarating cricketing experience I have ever witnessed. It was simply incredible. Yes the conditions were suitable to the English bowling and yes, the Aussie batting at times resembled my own levels of batsmanship  (i.e. crap). However the consistency and skill of Broad's spell to produce figures of 8 wickets for 15 runs.......yes that's what I said, 8 wickets for 15 runs was something that should now place him in the realm of greatness. Not only that but the fielding on that first day was simply incredible, and yes, the catch from Stokes is better than Strauss's in 2005. 

I know for scientific certainty though that me and my new cricket watching conditions were the main cause for victory. The second day saw me miss a large chunk of play as I had already (foolishly) arranged to go walking and climb Aberdeenshire's highest hill, Bennachie with my son and a friend. Though I did manage to get a signal and listen to a little of the play it soon became apparent that the team was missing my influence as Mitchell Starc began to regain his mojo by ripping through the England middle order. Luckily I managed to get back home later in the afternoon and sat down (in the kitchen, naturally) just in time to see David Warner sky his shot into the grateful hands of wonder boy Broad. In one action I put a halt on the impressive start to the Aussie innings and a mini-collapse of almost English proportions quickly followed. You're welcome.

If you didn't manage to catch any of the coverage of that amazing first morning than I suggest that you take a few moments and click on the link below to listen to the stunningly marvellous Test Match Special coverage. Not only can you hear the legendary Henry Blofeld near explode with emotion, but Phil Tuffnel's reaction in the background to 'that catch'......priceless. Believe me, you won't regret it.

I would love to think that somewhere on that first morning there was another 6 year old who had been put in front of the TV to keep him quiet and having stumbled across the Cricket coverage for the very first time (providing they had SKY TV of course) became well and truly hooked. Well I've got news for you kid, buckle up and get ready ready for a roller coast ride of delirious highs and gut-wrenching'll have the time of your life.

If you have the time or inclination, you could check out this blog's Facebook page at Don't worry, you won't catch anything contagious. 

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