Very much enjoyed reading about Angus Bell’s tour to Eastern Europe to play cricket and of his desire to finally hit that ton. His misadventures in his Skoda take him way off the beaten cricketing track and he meets some wonderfully colourul ex pats as well as natives who for a myriad of reasons have taken up the game. I certainly empathised with some of the wickets he has to put up with.
Travelling on a shoe string you feel as if you are right there with him as he blazes a trail across the ex Soviet Bloc with his cricket equipment. The big question is, does he get that hundred?
We had a laugh. A Friday flight South East from Chengdu to Xiamen, and a nightcap in ‘The Londoner’. Teams had come from near and far to compete and drink in the Xiamen 6s Cricket Tournament.
There were several highlights on the Tournament day itself. A tip and run off the last ball of one game to win. Paps charged down the strip, and it was a mad dash for the cherry.
It is a pretty beautiful place. The Bashers were some of the first to arrive.
What with it being only 2 months since the Hernia operation, Leg Spin was very much the order of the day. Took a couple of wickets which has kept me smiling ever since!
The cricketers were from all parts, but it was really after sundown the true talents of keyboardists, strummers and lyricists emerged.
Coming in from Chengdu, more than half our team was made up of Ringers, but in the name of good sportsmanship we still managed to keep our name ‘The Chengdu Barbarians’, naturally spearheaded by Bamboo and Panda.
The sun shone on the cricket, and we were treated to some pretty decent blue skies.
So pleased Harry got to drink his Gin and Tonic from The Trophy at the end of the night.
GOD BLESS CRICKET.
Just the one cricket match over the month in England over the summer. A kind invite from Dan Edington to join a match of Putney Dads against each other. Having been diagnosed with a mild hernia which would at some point need treating, I hid in the slips for 20 overs as our opponents creamed off 130 odd. Sadly our chase fell a good 40 runs short, and I barely contributed with the bat, but it was good to play at The Bank of England ground again which is so well maintained and a pleasure to have a game on.
The highlight of the game was seeing old acquaintance Olly Slack take to the field at no.9. Bowled through the gate first ball. It happens. “I’ll be talking that ball up for a long time yet”, he said with the inimitable Slack smile broad across his Wandsworth face. Good fun.
Noticed this on the Cricket best seller list over the summer, and picked it up in Daunts Books, Marylebone High Street before returning back to China. It is a thumpingly good read. From the very first few pages I was gripped. Here was someone who had the same kind of childhood daydreams as me. Here was someone who had gone to Alf Gover’s Cricket School in Wandsworth and waxed lyrical about the snooker table.
There are some very in-depth analyses of Ramps, Roebuck and Jon Hotten’s ability to draw you in with his story telling is second to none. I was so impressed with the opening few chapters that I wrote and thanked him for writing such a wonderful book. What a Gent – he wrote back.
Sad to see that Staggler’s of Asia have had to cancel the tour to Hong Kong. However, I am making tentative enquiries about the chances of getting a few Chengdu cricket players on a plane and taking on a cricket team in Hong Kong.
If it brings in more spectators it can only be a good thing. There are certainly those that view Test Match Cricket as being a ‘Red ball affair’, and I am inclined to agree, but if you don’t move with the times you die. There are precious few things in life that can remain inflexibly arrogantly unchangeable. Even the MCC had to have good, long hard look in the mirror back in 1998. So, well done Edgbaston. We look forward to the outcome next August against the Windies.
A cracking end to the county season. Well done Middlesex. Loved the tension. Somerset learnt the hard way that sometimes you just have to settle for Silver. Hope to see more of the same next year.
I followed the BBC Live Reporting on the web avidly on the last day until Woakes and Bairstow seemed to be dodging bullets on a ball by ball basis. That said, it was great to see them putting up a fight. I finally pulled the plug at half past midnight my time. But after three hours of sleep dreaming about really dodging bullets, too much Cheddar before bed, I couldn’t resist a peak.
We had not managed to take it into the fifth and final day. Oh well. But a game that shows just how alive and well Test Cricket is. Perhaps one fine day, Pakistan will be able to host again in their own country. Looking forward to following the next one in Old Trafford.