Oval and Lords

I made it to a couple of county matches in London last week. Surrey v Essex in SE11 and Middlesex v Sussex at NW8. There were some pretty big names knocking about the Oval : Amla (last time I saw him at the Oval he posted a handy triple century), Burns, Pope, even the currently hot ODI property Reece Topley was strolling about. Will Jacks (not to be confused with the clothing brand) went from 100* to 150* very quickly putting Surrey past Essex’s total. I hung around to watch the great Sir Alistair Cook. He stroked a handy 4 off his legs but was then caught behind. A great day with Harry.

Barefoot on the South London Turf.

The match North of the River was not as close, Sussex having posted 500+ in the first innings. Malan nicked one past the keeper to score a 50, and it was sweet to see Steve Finn bowling. I briefly sat up in one of the new stands.

View towards the Pavilion.

I love going to the MCC library. There are some real nuggets there, and it is time to get reading some decent Cricket Literature again. This particular one has a great title.

India Series Ends 2-2 and 1-1 with Old Trafford to host ‘le belle’ on Sunday.

Sitting down on a sofa in a bar called ‘The Score’ in Chiang Mai with Chris, we ordered some brewskis and watched Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow make the hundred plus runs needed on the morning of the Fifth Day look a breeze. Bravo. Sweet as a macadamia.

Onwards to the ODI series. A total balls-up at the Oval, Jasprit Bumrah causing the damage, but England bowler Rees Topley taking 6-24 at Lords yesterday in the heat made 247 a sufficient total.

It is a good series and India are a great team. The decider in a few days is eagerly anticipated.

Dead Rubber.

“Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead”.

What a formidable two tests we’ve witnessed. Happy as Larry that we knocked off those 61 runs on the morning of the Fourth Day at Lords to ensure a much needed victory there. Sweet debut Mr Potts.

And what is more… you can add a ton to that target, and 5 sessions of play, and we only went and did the same again at Trent Bridge.

Two Fridays-worth of after-work SKY TV viewing down at a boozer called Hemingways (second branch in Pattaya). 8 ball and Arrows at hand. Sweet.

Thankfully TMS (the old faithful) is still teaming up with youtube to offer overseas listeners its nuggets.

Zaltzman claiming Gilbert Jessop fans will be punching the air – the cat is just too amusing.

Looking forward to Headingley.

To India and beyond.

Eve of Lord’s Test

I will miss the Test match as I am working in Thailand. A shame to miss it. No sooner have I become an Associate Member and logistics just make it impossible to attend. From afar, I’m quite excited though. I think the crowds will build throughout the week. I see Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes working very well together, and Rob Key could open doors. I hope Graham Thorpe is on the road to recovery.

Stuart Broad has been quoted on the BBC website as feeling England need to play attractive / engaging cricket. True. But we also just need to win. One victory in 17 tests in appalling. Sea change on the horizon – fingers crossed.

I approached a cricket team out here, but it’s the closed season, and it sounds like even a Thursday net at ‘The Outback’ (what else?!) might be stretching it. The Chairman said I needed to put Ko Chang in my diary for the end of August for some beach cricket but I’ll be as gone as a wild goose in Winter.

C’mon England.

A net in Dulwich Park

I think possibly the cutest thing I have seen in the past twelve months is a three year old Australian boy dressed in pads and gloves with a little Kookaburra bat playing cricket in a net with his ma. He was quite happy to play act and pretend when there was no tennis ball to be thrown too.

This coupled with the Viking in the next net wearing a yellow and pink (separate) pair of pads made my Saturday morning. Especially as there was some sun. Shame about losing 3-2 to the Windies but could have done with Mo batting in the fifth as he did in the fourth.

The Ashes 21/22

Not so much roaring into the 20s as slinking.

We all love The Ashes but we’ve not won Down Under an awful lot in my lifetime. I turned on my Christmas present of a radio on Boxing Day 1986 to hear that Botham and Small had both taken five apiece. Happy Days. I think the next high point was when I watched KP on TV (C4) tonking it about in 2005. Big gap. Big shame.

There must be people out there who have followed the England team, and chosen 86/87 and 10/11 as tours to follow. I would not only like to go to the Casino with them, but listen to their share tips and and horses to back.

What do we take from a tour like that? Here are a list of one word / short rhetorical questions :

Foakes?

Selection?

Training in Aus?

Blame Covid?

Win or lose, I still love listening to TMS.

A quick read.

I think there were parts of Fred’s early time at Lancs I would like to have read more about, and of course 6 extra chapters on 2005 wouldn’t have gone amiss, but entertaining, and he seems like a man who just gets on with getting the very most out of life.

On the Eve of The Ashes.

We gave India a run for their money in England this Summer. India beat Australia Down Under earlier this year. There is nothing like The Ashes for getting us fans excited about the Cricket to come. It is superb that it is going ahead. Front page of The Times today was Joe Root up against Pat Cummins. No Archer, no Stone. A shame. But Ben Stokes will be there. Hooray.

It is a simple format England. Enjoy it from the word go. What a fantastic country – enjoy it. Take 20 wickets, and post 500. There, job done. 😉

Hoping Mo Bobat has done all that is needed. There will be some kind of bubble fatigue. There is no doubt of that. Keep drinking the Pickle juice to avoid the cramp! With all the Strength and Conditioning Advisors and Nutritionists at hand you’d think the team are well prepped. Here is to Brisbane.

T20 World Cup / YCCC / Greg James

The T20 has been fun to follow. In the true nature of the ‘whizz/bang’ tournament, we have seen England and Pakistan ejected in the semis in the final overs. Jos Buttler played so well and it was a shame he was dismissed for 29 LBW against NZ as he had recently become the first player to score a hundred in all the disciplines of the game.

It will be a good final on Sunday I am sure. Many have said that it has been better to lose to NZ in the semis than AUS in the final. The 1987 ODI World Cup still hurts, yet so does the 1992 one. Many of the matches have not had large crowds which is a shame, but at least they have gone ahead (in the blistering Middle Eastern heat).

Lord Patel has taken over the reins at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Vaughan is not currently presenting his podcast with Tuffers on the BBC. Headingley will suffer enormously financially unless it can start to host international matches again, of this there is no doubt.

I’m becoming a huge fan of Greg James and his broadcasting style. He loves a soundbite. I loved the way he pointed out Mark Nicholas’ tendency to insert “Boy” in to his commentary. I’ve started listening to the Alan Stanford episodes. Learning a few things about his past. Tailenders is always well put together and a very enjoyable listen. Good luck to Jimmy Andersen in Australia.