Why Not Wales?

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Ireland have their own cricket team and so do Scotland, so why are Wales silently tagged on with England?

It’s the England and Wales Cricket Team you know?

ECB stands for England and Wales Cricket Board but surely Welsh cricketers deserve the right to represent their home nation at international level, not just play for their big neighbours.

Should New Zealand’s cricketers have to scrap to get a gig for Australia?

Wales performed well at the 1979 ICC Trophy then between 1993 and 2001 played against Ireland and Scotland in the British Isles Chmpionships. Of course Ireland and Scotland joined the elite (Well almost!) and Wales were left to fend for themselves… so on themselves that they haven’t played competitively since. The Dragons (Maybe they’re called that?) played a few one-day games against England in the early 21st century and courtesy of former England opener Steve James they actually won the first meeting in 2002.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/2062244.stm

A couple of years later they beat Denmark in the C&G Trophy. A quick Google search suggests that the question of an independent Welsh cricket nation is often brought up, particularly at http://www.walesonline.co.uk. Of course the notion opens a can of worms regarding Glamorgan’s existence or at least their place in the English county structure and whether or not domestic cricket in Wales needs ramping up a level. Only recently and with only three teams were Ireland granted First Class status.

Maybe one day we’ll see some Welsh willow wielders wearing the Wales name!

Cricket Randoms

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There’s nothing we love more here at Silly Point than seeing our game gain global appeal, reaching out to untouched corners of the big blue and green. No pressure on Durham debutant Cameron Steel then! The California born bat has racked up appearances for Western Australia’s youth sides and has already tasted First Class cricket on half a dozen occasions when representing Durham MCCU. To date he has three First Class fifties including one against Durham last year. We’ll see how he gets on when it comes his turn to wield the willow, probably tomorrow.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-championship-division-2-2017/content/player/633301.html

On the subject of USA, Kieron Powell is back in West Indies whites. The man who gave it all up for baseball is currently holding the fort as WI slide into the abyss against Pakistan in Jamaica. Powell is undefeated on 33 at lunch with Windies precariously placed at 71-4.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-pakistan-2017/engine/match/1077953.html

In another corner of the world, well maybe not a corner but another location. Come to think of it, unless the world is flat then there probably aren’t really corners on the globe… are there?

Where was I going?

Zimbabwe!

Natsai M’Shangwe’s 8-91 for Mountaineers against Mid West Rhinos merits a mention. Performances such as this might provide the twenty-six-year-old with the opportunity to bring his Test match bowling average of 62.14 down to something a little more respectable in future. Opposition bowler James Bruce snapped up five wickets on First Class debut, suggesting that he might be better in real life than he was when I led Zimbabwe on International Cricket Captain!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1070906.html

One more for you, regarding my Telegraph Fantasy Cricket team that goes by the name of Roderick Brotherhood. Things could have been going a bit flat in the absence of my captain and moniker inspiration Gareth Roderick. Rodders is still suffering from his ‘mystery’ pre-season illness but fortunately… step forward Mr Riki Wessels. 202 not out from 177 deliveries including 22 fours and 7 sixes, thanks in no small part to the supporting act of Nottinghamshire’s lower order, has surely propelled me to the top of the table… at least in my family!

Other County Championship performances worth noting today:

James Vince: 143 not out. Pencilled in for an England recall against Ireland?

Haseeb Hameed: A duck… again!

Sam Robson: 144 not out. Anything you can do Vincey, I can do one better! Set for a recall against South Africa at the expense of Hameed?????

Liam Livingstone: 68 out of a total of 109 all out for Lancashire’s stand-in skipper. Penned in in permanent marker for a full international debut against Ireland!

Harry Dearden: 87 for Leicestershire’s teenage opener. His first fifty in his eleventh First Class innings. Not quite set for an international call-up!

Adam Barton: 11-0-81-0. Like Durham’s Steel, he’s making a proper debut having previously played Uni stuff. With Sussex currently 7-3 following Wessels double hundred, Barton might need to enhance his Chris Martinesque batting average of 2.12 from ten innings! There’s no sign of Silly Point favourite Ajmal Shahzad in the Sussex XI.

Ian Westwood: 153. Westwood for England anybody?

Ben Duckett: 45 not out out of a total of 102-6 and needing to go big given the performances of the likes of Vince, Robson and Livingstone. Penned in in biro for a recall against Ireland.

Tom Abell: 1 to follow 1 & 0 in Somerset’s opening match of the 2017 campaign for the new young skipper.

P.S. Powell’s just fallen second ball after lunch!

Don Bradman Cricket 17: New York City Pioneers!

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I’m delighted to announce the formation of a new cricket franchise: The New York City Pioneers. As the owner of this new venture, I’ve worked tirelessly to compose a competitive squad. Earlier today, in the heart of the ‘Big Apple’, we played our first game against a visiting Mutare Peaks side from Zimbabwe. The following is a report of how our inaugural match panned out:

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We were invited to bowl first and whilst our pace bowling and fielding units maintained their heads above water, we struggled to find a breakthrough. Our Zimbabwean guests moved quickly to 95-0. In order to quell the run-scoring, skipper Robin Hunter, a native of Pallenville, turned to Dutch spinner Guy de Maan. After seeing Hamilton Masakadza reach his half-century with a four from de Maan’s first delivery, de Maan then followed up with a dot before officially becoming ‘The Man’ to claim NYC Pioneers’ first ever wicket, a smart caught and bowled to send Masakadza (50) back to the hut and leave Mutare Peaks on 99-1. Just six runs later, captain Hunter ran out Louis Klazinga following a horrendous mix-up between he and new batsman Vusi Sibanda. At first Hunter appeared to throw to the wrong end but he’d made sure to send the set batsman packing. After a good throw, stumper Lyon Cage finished the deed. Like Masakadza, Klazinga had made 50 exactly. De Maan would later double his wicket tally courtesy of a superb diving catch by Ali El Naany and opening bowler Jacques Dawes returned to snatch a maiden victim in the final over. The only blemish in the innings being that of a dropped catch by the skipper off the bowling of Brooklyn born Brotherhood Collins. Though both went wicketless, Chris Kasprowicz (4-0-34-0) and Woody Forrest (4-0-28-0) were our most economical bowlers.

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In pursuit of 177 for a famous victory, we were soon in trouble with Kuwaiti native El Naany out second ball of the innings with the scoreboard yet to get rolling. Fellow opener Independence Masakadza (No relation to Hamilton) laboured to 5 from 11 balls but did cobble together a partnership of 30 alongside his captain before being dismissed. Ozzie left-hander Mitch Djordevic was out for a golden duck when trying to go big on the leg-side first ball.

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Queens born Dean McQueen ventured to the crease to a rapturous applause but disappointed his local following when being caught having made just 5.

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Skipper Hunter, keen to make amends for his drop, batted with skill in compiling a top score of 23 on debut. Brotherhood Collins took out his disgust at his skipper’s dropped catch by blazing 4,4,4,6,1 before wicketkeeper Lyon Cage finished the over with a further four to provide the Queens crowd with some excitement and even a glimmer of hope. That hope soon evaporated as Collins ran himself out the first delivery of the following over. South African stumper Cage chopped on next ball.

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From the depths of 68-7, we raised ourselves to 90 with Ozzie pacer Dawes (10) joining Hunter and Collins in double figures. When he was out however we became the victims of an 86-run defeat.

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This performance was by no means a disgrace and our squad are better for the experience. We have a squad of sixteen that will breed healthy competition and we look forward to our next match with much anticipation. To our fans in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Pallenville and throughout both the USA and the globe, we offer our deepest gratitude for your support and we will strive to attain the success that you deserve.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v USA T20I: Trumped!

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There have been many dark days in English cricket. Today was one of those days. It was like being in the world’s longest tunnel without a torch or possibly with a torch but no batteries or the batteries had run out!

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Having seemingly had the Trumpeteers under control at 117-5, we ‘allowed’ Team USA to post a competitive target of 170. A recalled Ajmal Shahzad was the pick of our bowlers. He claimed figures of 2-25 from his full allocation as well as having a chance dropped. Tom Curran also claimed two wickets (4-0-31-2). Matt Coles figures were less impressive: 4-0-40-0 and he would go onto compliment these with a golden duck!

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We began our pursuit sedately, the intention to keep wickets intact and accelerate as the overs elapsed. We were aided early on by some wides and opening batsmen Ben Duckett and Michael Carberry posted a half-century stand to commence the chase. Duckett fell first, caught behind off a good delivery from the spinner having constructed a decent 30 from 24 deliveries. Captain Joe Root built a brisk 30 from 21 deliveries but was harshly adjudged LBW before the returning Michael Carberry was also dismissed in debatable fashion. By then, Carberry had grafted to 26 from 30 deliveries. His innings lacked fluency but did include one majestic leg-side flick for four. He was adjudged caught behind off the spinner though no edge was apparent. Why there were no reviews available in this T20 International remains unclear.

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Dawid Malan (7), Liam Livingstone (Run out for 2 to add to a dropped dolly!) and Liam Dawson (0 to compliment figures of 2-0-20-0) offered little to the chase. After Jos Buttler had struck a rapid 27 both Tom Curran and Ajmal Shahzad found the boundary on more than one occasion but ultimately Shahzad was unable to clear the ropes as required from the last ball of the match. Tom Curran (8) was run out and The Stars and Stripes ran out victors in Taunton by the small margin of just three runs.

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Maybe we got our tactics wrong. Possibly we should have attacked in the Powerplay but whilst we may have had more runs on the board early on, we would likely have lost more wickets too. To the loyal supporters of English cricket, the team offer their sincerest apologies for this result and promise to dig deep in the face of opposition to come.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v Uganda Test Match: Taking Route 166 to Victory!

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We opted to make numerous changes to our side for our first Test match in a while, having primarily played white ball stuff in recent times. The XI wasn’t far from our strongest team though with Jonny Bairstow rested, Gareth Roderick made his debut behind the stumps.

In our first innings, opening batsman Keaton Jennings led the way but having reached 50 exactly he fell to the very next delivery bowled by spin. El capitan Joe Root however ploughed on, ably supported by Scott Borthwick. Borthwick was making his first appearance during my tenure and his first Test match since his debut more than three years ago. The new Surrey recruit acquitted himself well in composing a… composed 37 before nicking behind off the quick bowler. Debutant Roderick came and went for 11 but as wickets fell, Root was relentless. He was chaperoned through the 90s by Chris Woakes who made a vital 27 in a partnership of 115 with his skipper. Root eventually fell for 166 before Stuart Broad clobbered 47 from just 24 deliveries to propel England to 398.

James Anderson then ripped through the Ugandan batting line-up on his way to figures of 10-1-24-4 as the visitors crashed to 36-5 and at 61-6 they looked destined to follow-on. Their lower order dug deep however to do just enough to make us have to bat again. Chris Woakes (2-23) and the recalled Mark Footitt (2-31) bowled well to restrict Uganda to 204.

In our second venture to the crease, Haseeb Hameed again fell cheaply. Scores of 16 and 3 leave him in need of runs come our next Test match. He will be given that chance. Consistency in selection is an important part of our genesis. Keaton Jennings recorded his second half-century of the match but was run out for 54 with skipper Joe Root at fault. Scott Borthwick again looked assured but this time fell for 43. Roderick (He did at least claim four dismissals in the match) and an out of sorts Ben Stokes again missed out before Adil Rashid (22) and Chris Woakes (29) again batted sensibly. Also again, Stuart Broad (38 from 22 balls) went on the rampage and James Anderson followed suit striking 36 from just 14 deliveries including 21 off one over!

Mark Footitt struck in the first over of Uganda’s pursuit of 460 and there was little resistance after that. Spinner Adil Rashid exploited the deteriorating pitch to claim figures of 3-39 from 13 overs and Mark Footitt finished with 5-35 from 13.1 overs of high quality left-arm pace bowling to record impressive match figures of 7-66.

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Despite the bowling exertions of Anderson, Rashid and Footitt, it was captain Joe Root’s 166 that set us on our way and so he claimed the Player of the Match Award. It was a thoroughly good team performance though with contributions from throughout the composition. Bring on our next opponents!

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Don Bradman Cricket 17: A Lyth Less Ordinary!

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After serially struggling to cobble together 200 runs in an innings, we made over 300 against Nepal… and still lost!

Nepal were tracking at a run a ball from the get go. El capitan Joe Root spilled a simple chance early doors and twelve overthrows (An improvement on the 16 conceded in our last match) would ultimately prove costly. Jamie Overton’s ten overs were also costly… 1-81!

All-rounder Sam Curran, recalled at the expense of batsman Tom Fell, claimed figures of 3-53 from his ten overs, providing two dismissals to stumper Gareth Roderick. The ever impressive Matt Coles finished with outstanding analysis of 2-34 from his full allocation and Liam Livingstone claimed three catches to add to the four he held against Afghanistan.

In pursuit of 313 for victory, a little over a run a ball, openers Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan put on 85 for the first wicket before Malan was clean bowled for 38 in exactly the same manner as in the last match, i.e.: stepping outside off and trying to flick to leg. Malan is good for a thirty or forty but will he ever go big?

Brett D’Oliveira used up 37 deliveries in making 25 and skipper Root wasted six costly balls in making… 0!

Liam Livingstone made a busy 15 and Sam Curran a brisk 33. Lyth was run out early in the second powerplay for an excellently paced 120. He got bogged down in the eighties but fought back however his run out may well have been crucial. Spinner Liam Dawson followed another wicketless outing: 5-0-29-0 with 9 runs before being run out. In the circumstances, both Lyth and Dawson’s run outs were as acceptable as getting run out comes but if Lyth in particular could have avoided being so… ?

Matt Coles was harshly dismissed LBW for 6 to follow his debatable stumping against Pakistan. Jamie Overton made 5, one beautiful sweep included and Tom Curran would finish 1 not out. Wicketkeeper Roderick swept well but missed out on ones and twos when attempting to hit boundaries. 17 were needed from the final over for us to secure an epic chase. A dot ball was followed by Curran getting off the mark with a single. Roderick then hit a four to bring the equation down to 12 from 3. Nepal then bowled a wide but to the next ball Roderick was unable to clear the field and was caught at mid off. Agonisingly, despite a vastly improved performance and having totalled in excess of 300 with the bat, we fell just eleven runs short of victory with two balls to spare. Overthrows, Matt Coles LBW decision, Adam Lyth’s run out, they’re all moments in the game that we can look back on and consider costly.

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As a team, we neither celebrate nor are we content with defeat but we do recognise improvement. The team can hold their heads high after this effort but it’s imperative that we maintain this standard as we move forward.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Debacles, Despairs and Disasters, the Travails of a DBC17 Addictee!

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. It doesn’t really matter who we play, we’re destined for defeat!

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I’ve almost blotted out the ODI against Pakistan from my memory. Cancer survivor Tom Fell was amongst the debutants and in a sign of things to come, I think made somewhere between 10 and 20. Tom Curran was the standout performer with figures of 3-43 or something of that ilk.

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Matt Coles also debuted and having accumulated 9 runs was the victim of the most appalling stumping decision ever. Let’s just watch about a thousand replays over the course of FIVE minutes that all confirm he’s not out then watch the big screen flash up with the word ‘OUT’!

Coles would go on to claim figures of 4-42 from 10 overs in the humbling 59-run defeat at the hands of Afghanistan. Those figures could have been even more impressive if it were not for our generous concession of overthrows.

Jamie Overton debuted against Afganistan and claimed his first ODI wicket in his very first over. He bowled a superb opening spell though the Afghans hounded him come the second powerplay later in the innings. Unfortunately, after having the visitors in trouble at 186-7, our composite fifth bowler of Adam Lyth, Brett D’Oliveira and Dawid Malan couldn’t stem the lower order flow of runs as Afghanistan recovered to post a competitive 282-7 from their 50 overs.

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Debutants Lyth (10) and D’Oliveira (17) set the tone for the innings in that they made starts but got out. After captain Joe Root (6) fell cheaply, Tom Fell also fell after a busy 17. Liam Livingstone lasted all of one delivery but Dawid Malan looked to be heading towards a hard fought but determined maiden international half-century before missing a straight one having reached a career best 46. Malan (35) had also top scored against Pakistan but that inability to convert a solid platform into a score of substance runs deep into the grain of our team.

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Another debutante, wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick, got giddy after hitting a boundary and was caught in the deep on 21. Liam Dawson (35 not out) and Matt Coles (29) took advantage of some strange field settings to put on 50 before Coles played an unnecessarily ambitious shot after we’d got the target down to less than a run a ball. To be fair to Afghanistan, the field setting that brought about the downfall of Coles deserves credit. Jamie Overton also took advantage of the Afghan spinners vacant leg-side field but having made 22 was needlessly run out. Tom Curran soon followed and that was that, 221 all out. If our top order batsman could have stayed in then they may have been able to cash in against Afghanistan’s strange fielding tactics late in the innings but in truth it was our poor bowling in the final 10 overs of Afghanistan’s innings and the lack of a genuine fifth bowling option that cost us. 16 overthrows didn’t help the cause either. 267 would have appeared a lot more attainable than 283.

Afghanistan deserved their victory. Three of their batsman passed 50 including the specialist that they had as low down as seven in the order.

Where we go from here I don’t know. Hopefully not Australia or India!