This is one of those extremely rare occasions where I just share a link as opposed to writing anything myself. It’s worth reading though…
When I started writing this blog, I anticipated that I’d share my playing experiences with you but in truth my career has somewhat petered out.
I didn’t take up the game until quite late, about seventeen or eighteen. I had early success with the ball complimented by some steady progress with the bat. Figures of 6-25 would remain a career best but there would be back-to-back four-wicket hauls for the second XI, even if they did straddle two different seasons. Unfortunately, playing for the second XI usually meant that if I bowled one bad over then I didn’t get to turn my arm over again for a whole fortnight. Couple that with batting at ten or eleven, ie: basically not batting for two years or with little to gain when I did and the sum total is that I was ruined as a cricketer. I should stress that I’m talking about the lowest regions of an amateur league in Yorkshire with many many divisions.
When sent back to the third XI, I reinvented myself as a stoic opening batsman and managed to occupy the crease for all of forty overs or more on more than one occasion. Despite being able to find the boundary, there’d be more dots beside my name in the scorebook than your average dot-to-dot. I’d struggle to score at, on average, more than one run per over. An innings of 47 from all of 43.1 overs, last man out having opened and top scored by far was as good as it ever got. Had I actually managed to execute the shot that brought about my dismissal as intended, the ball would have rolled down the hill for four and with it a maiden fifty. A few weeks later in a run-chase, I scored an unusually quickfire 26 in an opening fifty stand before being absurdly caught and bowled, only to get demoted in the order the following week. Soon I’d find myself scheduled to bat at eleven and not bowling, so traipsed off to find another hobby… and some lovely holidays in Scotland and Ireland.
After a couple of years in the wilderness (The actual New Zealand and Australian wilderness), I returned to find that the 2005 Ashes effect had turned division seven into Test match cricket. Kids who had been inspired by England before the death of cricket on terrestrial television and now with a few years honing their skills under their belts were bending it like Beckham (Or Waqar) and nearly taking my ears off!
A few games into my return, I made a defiant 27, taking nearly thirty overs to do so but hinting at being able to contribute like before. I can remember the moment it all went wrong though. A duck curtesy of a gift to slip in the next game and I never recovered. There then followed a few years of being uncomfortable playing only as a batsman. Not bowling meant that I didn’t feel involved and put pressure on myself to perform solely as a batsman. When I should’ve been relaxing I tensed up instead. I’d be dismissed by old men, kids and everything in-between. My defence fell apart and the odd flirty twenty or thirty was the best that I had to offer, usually either side of a month or two of single figure scores and more ducks than at a frois gras farm!
I did improve my Twenty20 game, managing to turn those dots into singles and produced a match-winning 40 not out in a chips down run-chase but with the target attained a long dreamed of half-century remained out of reach and now seems likely to elude me forever.
Whilst amateur cricket stalwarts up and down the land prepare (Or don’t prepare!) for the 2019 village campaign, I just can’t justify all the ducks and DNBs in the hope of finally finding fifty. A wife and two kids deserve a little more attention on a Saturday afternoon. Never say never but my career best seems set in stone frustratingly three runs short of fifty on 47.
It’s been a while but here’s a brand spanking new audiocast. Not much prep went in to this but I thought that the Commonwealth Games merited a mention. What a great opportunity it could be to help provide more exposure to Associate nations and cricket in general.
Many thanks for following and bye for now.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Simon Hughes and this book has done nothing to alter that. The writing is a little too self-indulgent for my liking. In Hughes’ defence, it’s obviously understandable that he should be inking based on his own experiences.
Hughes is clearly obsessed with Mark Ramprakash and of course he’s not alone in being so. The author also seems particularly keen to raise the profile of his daughter, a very talented cricketer according to Hughes’ unbiased opinion!
In amongst the drivel are a couple of really insightful passages, which in a perverse way are what make this book disappointing. By that I mean you must plough through a chapter or two to find interesting content. I’m possibly being a little harsh but Hughes’ onscreen persona has never endeared himself to me. He joins the long list of analysers who confirm that to have played the game doesn’t automatically make you an insightful pundit!
That said, I’ll repeat that there are one or two profound insights amongst the pages and all this adds up to a Silly Point score of…
Stumped on 59!
Good morning loyal followers.
Please have a listen to my latest audio cast. Bear with, it’s a little bit football dominated for the first couple of minutes!
If like me, you’re in the habit of trawling through cricket blogs, then you’ll have become accustomed to an awful lot of cynicism, pessimism, scepticism and delusion. It appears that anything can be blamed on the ECB’s Tom Harrison or possibly Andrew Strauss. I mean anything! Your wife didn’t buy you those new shiny white cricket socks that you wanted for your birthday, then it’s probably Tom Harrison’s fault!
Nineteen-year-old Sam Curran can be written off as a 77mph trundler, three overs into his Test debut. Any uncapped England qualified player is the next best thing until they play. Anything less than fifty on debut, no wicket in their first over or simply that they bowl at less than 90mph, well they’re damaged goods now. Move onto the next cab off the rank! Any genuine fast bowler should play for England regardless of whether or not they can actually take wickets at domestic level and irrespective or any ability to play consecutive matches. This is the general ideology of bloggers and those who bother to post comments at the bottom of the internet!
All Stars Cricket has got kids playing bat ‘n’ ball but let’s slag it off anyway! If women are outside socialising and playing softball, then let’s slag that off for good measure too!
Well, I’d like to break the mould. I’d like to write about happy cricket: Last night I scored my first run in nearly two years… YEY! I enjoyed getting some exercise and challenging myself in the fresh air and outdoors on a lovely summer’s evening.
Morne Morkel finally made his debut for Surrey and got me some Telegraph Fantasy Cricket points… YIPPEE!
All associate cricket nations will soon have full T20I status. That means players can regularly check their Cricinfo player profile page and look at their stats… WHOOPEE!
Tomorrow, cricketers up and down the country will be outside playing cricket. Some will be keeping communities together. They’ll be competing, learning, improving, breaking personal, team or league records, getting exercise, visiting new places, and living new experiences. Some people will even be playing for the first time. Said people will enjoy the company of their teammates, the weather and a drink or two (Doesn’t have to be alcoholic) post match… GREAT!
Spectators will enjoy watching and listening to international, county and village cricket, both at grounds and at home as well as in the car or anywhere else for that matter. They’ll be inspired and impressed by lots of what they see… YESSS!
Cricket. It’s fun, it’s hard, it’s rewarding if you put the effort in. The bigwigs get slagged off like any politicians do, regardless of whether or not they care, try or are any good. Moan, criticise, whinge… I’m sorry, this was supposed to be happy cricket! I’ve been blogging for nearly two years now. I write my own stuff (Of course I take inspiration from headlines and articles) and take my own pictures. I don’t just copy and paste. I don’t illegally use photos that I don’t have the rights too. I may write or say some rubbish but at least it’s my rubbish. This is probably (Possibly!) my first rant article.
Some patronising and condescending advice to everybody (I’m being hypocritical aren’t I?): Support the England cricket team. Support cricket. SUPPORT!!!
Matt Prior to last Nick Knight, it’d been nearly two years since I’d last scored a run. In my only two outings to the crease since the start of 2017, one last year and one this, I had been dismissed second ball without scoring. They were the first two instances of me batting whilst wearing glasses. Yesterday however, progress was made… small victories! I scored a run, one run, one whole run! As was the case in my previous innings, I walked to the crease during the penultimate over but this time at least made it to the last. Having calmly pushed the ball back past the bowler to get off the mark, in the final over, I opted for expansiveness against the opposition’s ringer… and was promptly bowled! Had I just got forward in an orthodox fashion, then I could’ve tapped an easy leg side single. Still, it’s a run, I fielded well and we won, onto the next round… but not selected for tomorrow’s league match!
That’s right folks, I thought that just one run merited a whole article. You just wait until I make it into double figures, it has been known to happen you know!
I’m not going to commit to a season diary just yet, particularly if things continue as they’ve started but having informed followers of my coming out of retirement and quest for an ever elusive half-century, I feel that it’s only apt to advise of my quack spectacular on the opening day of the village campaign!
I played one match last year and was dismissed second ball. It was the first time that I’d played cricket wearing glasses. Yesterday I played my second match with glasses and fell second ball again. That’s 0 runs in two innings across 2017-18. The only way is up!
I haven’t netted because I’d retired. The match was actually called off due to a damp pitch however the opposition’s first team’s opponents conceded because they couldn’t raise an XI. Therefore a ground that somehow wasn’t soaking became available. I batted at seven and arrived at the crease during the penultimate over. The points system has changed so there’s nothing to be gained for not being bowled out. We had wickets in hand so I just tried to hit as far as I could. Unfortunately that wasn’t very far. After failing to swat the first chest high ball I connected with the second and looking back, am not sure why they weren’t called no balls! The ball simply went up and with their team having dropped everything else, the young lad who nonchalantly dropped a pathetically casual one-handed attempt earlier in the match, made sure he safely wrapped two hands around the red spherical orb and terminated my brief affair at the wicket!
Oh look, we’ve now got yet another new scoring system that records all your stats in great detail…
I thought that I’d retired from playing cricket. I haven’t attended pre-season nets, not that doing so has ever helped me in the past! I thought that my second ball duck early last season, clean bowled by a man who must’ve been at least 80, would forever remain my ungracious exit from the village game. I genuinely haven’t scored a run in nearly two years and was ready to flog my attic residing kit at the first car boot sale of the year on sunday… but, with the start of the club cricket campaign just a few days away, I received a text: “Fancy a game of cricket Saturday?… only play 40 overs now so should be done by 6pm at latest”. I ummed and ahhed for a while but the temptation was too strong. If the past few hundred innings are anything to go by then a duck is highly likely, a single figure score is quite likely, a score in the teens is a possibility and anything from twenty to forty-odd is optimistic but has been known to happen. Despite the severe duck risk, it’s that elusive half-century that tempts me back out onto the field. That and the remote (And I mean remote!) possibility that I might get a bowl. The closest I came to a half-ton was 47, when I opened the batting and was last man out to the first ball of the 44th over. That was way back in 2009! I did finish 40 not out in a T20 match in 2016, a match-winning innings but not a fifty.
So here it goes. The forecast isn’t great. There’s plenty of rain about so if we do take to the field then it’ll likely be the bowlers who are provided with some assistance. I’m making excuses already!
Whilst Cameron Bancroft does okay opening the batting for Australia’s Test outfit, his predecessor Matt Renshaw is sniffing for a recall at the earliest opportunity. Since the turn of the year the nearly twentytwo-year-old has reeled off First Class scores of 56, 32, 170, 0, 112, 12, 3, 143* & 8. If the opposition get him early then fair enough but if they don’t then the Middlesbrough lad cashes in. Remember that he’s got a Test high of 184 and averages just shy of 37.
Back to Bancroft. He produced one good knock during the 2017-18 Ashes and under huge pressure for his place, has made starts and got one fifty in South Africa. It’s a good little battle for the Australian selectors to have being played out. Western Australia’s Bancroft has three or four years on Renshaw and experience of opening at county level in England for Gloucestershire that will serve him well. Queensland’s Renshaw is clearly made of tough stuff though, even if he recently rather naively conceded five penalty runs!
Don’t forget Renshaw’s domestic partner Joe Burns either. He had a bit of a stinker in his last Test but he’s still only 28 and has three Test tons to his name. South Australia’s Jake Weatherald is another one to keep an eye on, though he’s failed to convert starts this term. Travis Dean is another who despite not backing up the absurdly good start to his First Class career, has recently notched up a couple of hundreds. His average is a disappointing 34 exactly but six tons seven fifties is a good conversion rate. Remember that opening the batting isn’t easy. I should know because I’ve done it in Division Seven of the Nidderdale League and Division Five of the Harrogate and District Evening League!!!
Like Renshaw, another player from the north of England worth keeping tabs on is Charlie Hemphrey. Despite a duck on First Class debut, the Doncaster native registered a century early in his Australian domestic career and following a difficult time thereafter, has made hundreds in each of his last two outings. Twentyeight-year-old Hemphrey has produced these performances batting at four for Queensland. Burns, Renshaw and Hemphrey helping contribute to a strong batting order.
Current Test incumbent David Warner is only thirty-one so there’s life in the old dog yet and unlike some, he seems committed to the Test cause and not yet seeking a purely T20 franchise existence.
Competition for the opening slots for Australia’s Test side is scorching hot and the selectors will be chuffed at the tough decisions to be made.