Tuesday, 20 September 2011

11/09/11 - 18/09/11 - End of seasonitis

So three games to whip through here, as the season wound its way down. First up, we had London Fields, where my contribution was a) Nearly getting run out for 0 and then b) Getting out next ball, for 0, trying to get off the mark by sending the ball HOME, HOME being somewhere in the general direction of cow about three miles away. As I mentioned to someone at the time, the problem with fucking up in cricket is that whatever then transpires, you're going to feel a bit crap. If the team don't get any runs (which we didn't) you feel like it's all your fault, and if they do then you sit there fuming wishing it was you scoring them. This time around it was the former, which I think is arguably worse.

Next up were the wonderful surrounds of Chiswick House:

And this one didn't go to plan either, unless the plan was to accidentally take guard using my right handed opening partner's mark, stand on off stump, miss a half volley that I thought was miles down the leg side, stare aghast as the umpire's finger went up, then turn around to realise I was standing in front of all three stumps. 'That won't happen again,' remarked one of our players, sympathetically. And how right he is. Something else bloody will. Then I couldn't bowl properly because the pitch got wet, so had to try and bowl spin, and that didn't quite work either, except for the fact that my array of slow full tosses managed to get one of my team mates (playing for the oppo) a quickfire 50. Enjoyable game though - my main team's last game, which we won. I might have enjoyed the beers more than the match but hell...that's really the point isn't it?

Fortunately it all came good again in the last game of the season, at a marvellous ground in Essex. Not with the ball mind. Their opener had apparently just come off smacking Darren Gough around in a charity game, so I felt I had to be on my game. Which I was. Two leg-cutters, big inswinger, trapped bang in front, thanks for coming and tell your story walking pal. Except their umpire didn't see it that way. Usually I don't get too narked about questionable LBW decisions - anyone who's played friendly cricket knows that it's often far too much hassle to give one unless it's on the back pad in front of middle and the batsman's already started walking. But if you've got a proper player in your team then I think you have to make some effort to umpire properly.

Lo and behold, he cruised to an entirely inevitable 100, because myself and a couple of others apart (who are merely crap) we're absolutely terrible with the ball. All the while I got more and more pissed off. By the time I was brought back, the 200 was up, which was approximately 150 more than we can usually be confident of getting when we're batting, and I have to confess I lost it. I just sprayed the ball around and didn't give a toss where it was going. As you'll see, a smooth side-on action giving way to a perfectly-braced front leg and non-bowling arm finishing firmly beside it - the MCC would approve, apart from the bit about my eyes being shut and the general hope being to knock someone's fucking block off.

And needless to say I went for loads, mostly in byes and wides. But things picked up markedly when I went in to bat. The opposition were fairly talented, but a ghastly bunch. Despite the fact they'd set us 7 an over from the outset and bowled some pretty nippy stuff at our geriatric openers before sticking three men on the boundary, they were sledging us left right and centre for not scoring quickly enough. That said, it was quite refreshing to be on the end of some verbals. I was annoyed that the two players doing most of the sledging had contributed the grand total of 12 runs between them, but could it ever be otherwise? One particularly gobby chap came on to bowl and I smashed him out of the attack, which was pleasing. No need to be that altruistic, fella. Having brought up my 50 and with the game safe, I was finally out with three balls to go, attempting to reverse sweep their opening bowler. It was a rather pleasing riposte: if you're going to get out, at least make it clear that it's only because you find their bowling too easy.

And there's the moral of the season. Cricket can fuck with your head, it really can. There's often a dark cloud looming over everything you do. But hang in there. There's always something on the horizon...

CC in 2011:
613 runs@40.86, 6 x 50s, 1 x bruise from international bowler, 2 x childish tantrums.
Some wickets at 'quite a lot'.

Monday, 19 September 2011

How to send the ball HOME

Basically, this is the reason you play cricket. In order to send the ball HOME. HOME is where the ball belongs. It shouldn't really be out on the field of play. It should go HOME. So in this post I intend to analyse the various ways through which the ball can and should be sent HOME.

1. Via a traffic light

If the ball is going to go HOME, it should obey the rules of the road. That's only reasonable.

2. Batting the wrong way round.

If a ball can be sent HOME in such a convoluted manner, then evidently it really wants to go HOME. You're doing it a favour.

3. Milimetres past your face

I have to link to this one indirectly. Good thing about this shot - it looks really cool. Bad thing - if you get it fractionally wrong you might inadvertently send your head HOME.

4. Into orbit

Of course the ball's HOME is actually somewhere near Jupiter. Also, this.

5. Into a car park

Because that way it might get lodged in a parked car, thus allowing it to be transported HOME all the more quickly.

6. Off a ball travelling at over 90mph.

If the ball's travelling that quickly, it evidently wants to get somewhere quickly too. And that place is HOME. Also, this.

Bonus extra examples of the ball being sent HOME: with a really fucked-up helicopter shot. Also with an orthodox cover drive, which is slightly poncy.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Have had to take a break as doing some 'proper' writing for money. Quite a big job which will take until next month. Which means I probably won't get to write about the 0 I got on Sunday any time soon. What a shame.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Some more videos wot I found

Richard Hadlee was amazing

Nasser gets a jaffer.

Len Pascoe vs Viv Richards. Len was mental.

And my particular favourite. This guy hardly played due to injury. I saw about 30 seconds of him bowling in 1995 and it stuck with me. I think he'd have been absolutely class if he'd not got injured. Another one to file with Mohammed Zahid.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Innings of the Day - Graham Gooch 135 vs Pakistan, 1992

Love Gooch, mainly because he's a lot like Trescothick. Big heavy bat. Not much foot work. Just stands there and clumps it, however fast they bowl.

Monday, 5 September 2011

03/09/2011 - Highgate Woods

The grin of a man who's eyeing up a not out
I shall make it quick. Not much to tell from a personal point of view - 20 not out including comedy run out of non striker off the last ball as I dozed off and didn't actually realise it was the last ball, which made me look like a right team player. But a great game - a really interesting pitch. I've never seen one with so little bounce, and with so much turn for the spinners. And even better, they had a good one. Normally someone bowling left arm to me would get the treatment over midwicket (or I'd at least try), but this one needed soft hands, late play and solid footwork. Really, really enjoyed it, even if I didn't get to face many balls.

After him the seamers had realised that cutters were the way to go, and I don't mind announcing that, with most balls ragging away from me half a foot off the pitch, I really struggled. It either tore past the outside edge or didn't go and beat me on the inside. How I didn't get bowled I'll never know. The fall of wickets at the other end made it a bit easier because there was less pressure to play shots, so I just concentrated on trying to stick the bad ball away - but with the ball looking much the worse for wear due to the surface it was ones or twos all the way for me. A better player would probably have looked to clear cover, but, well, there's the blog title, right up there.

The game was relatively close but we won thanks to our own spinners, who bowled absolutely beautifully - how rare for them to get to bowl on what's essentially a subcontintal surface - and the opposition are not only decent cricketers but a top bunch with whom to hit the pub. It was a great day. Sad the season is coming to an end in two weeks....aren't I always.