Tag Archives: County Cricket

It Ain’t Over…

William and Kate at Wimbledon

“One does not move during overs…”

I know what you’re thinking. It must have taken something deeply significant for this blog to spring back into life after nearly a year with seemingly nothing to say for myself, right? Well, no – not quite. For six of you who read this, it might seem like a pretty small issue. For the remaining three of you, it may strike a chord – a C# Minor in fact – and we may be in agreement. Who knows! I certainly don’t… that’s quite evident!

This is something I’ve thought about for more than a week. Since I got back from the Ageas Bowl and a ODI between England and NZ since you asked. Against the backdrop of dazzling sunshine and record breaking, a storm was brewing – if you can bring yourself to see past the angsty teenager-esque hyperbole.

It’s not often I find myself in among a crowd that warrants a “Sold Out” notice at a cricket match (or one in among one that is merely very busy). I’m more used to the sparsely populated Warner Stand and a more genteel spectator experience as Middlesex go about their business at Lord’s. It has, probably and admittedly, led me to have false expectations of watching cricket; expectations all too steeped in romanticism. That kinda thing has happened before.

As Martin Guptill unleashed a captivating knock of 189 against a lethargic home attack, I could just about accept an apparent reluctance to recognise his various, personal milestones from a largely England-supporting crowd. The 50, the 100, the 150… and the forlorn trudge off 11 short of his double ton. I am pretty sure I was one of just a few in my section of the crowd to get to my feet as he departed for the dressing room. It was surely worthy?

But what bugged me senseless all afternoon were those spectators who decided the first ball of an over was the right time to shift half a row of people and head to the bar. And then return four balls into the following over. At times, we were up and down like yo-yos as the match went on without us. If it was an elaborate game of Musical Chairs, it was not the best time and there wasn’t a winner…

In terms of “fings wot annoy me”, it’s up there with those kindly souls who will run for a Tube, making sure they take out a commuter or two in their sprint to avoid what must be an dire fate and squeezing themselves through the last two centimetres of space before the door closes. If only another Tube was a minute away from the station. Oh wait, there’s one now…

Am I moaning about nothing? Am I being too nostalgic for an era that I wasn’t even part of? Or am I talking a little bit of common sense? The over lasts just a few minutes – the bar will still be there, so will the toilets. And I’ll promise that your seat will not be missing on your return. So sit a little bit longer, don’t run for public transport and enjoy the cricket. Until it rains again.

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The Only Way Is Up

The only way is up for Glamorgan. We could split hairs and admit that, actually, the Dragons aren’t bottom of the table in the embryonic stages of the campaign. But based on three results alone, Things Can Only Get Better – and if you can’t hear D:Ream playing at the back of your mind right now, you’re not trying…

The margins of defeat have been 52 runs, 130 runs and two wickets in that order. It’s tempting to jump in with an ill-conceived rant when things aren’t going well, but you can end up looking stupid. Just ask Tottenham fans when the gap between them and Arsenal was 10 points in their favour not so long ago.

But enough about football. It’s the cricket season, right?

A recurring theme so far this season for Glamorgan has been the inability to put runs on the board. Marcus North is currently the most anticipated Welsh arrival since Brunel brought the railway to town. And I’m pretty sure no-one was saying that as Australia came to the SWALEC Stadium for the 1st Ashes Test in 2009.

With a first-class average of more than 40, these are runs that Glammy are quite desperate to get their hands on. I am probably not alone in hoping that when he does file into the ranks, it will be like a shot in the arm for the Dragons’ batting. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he kick-started the UK economy while at it…

Of course, North probably isn’t the Saviour of all things Glamorgan as he is just one man, but his delayed arrival – for entirely understandable reasons – and the decision by Alviro Petersen not to return this year left the Dragons in a little bit of a pickle and evidently more so in the batting department than anywhere else.

Glamorgan’s six opening stands have accounted for a combined total of 112 runs so far this season. Take out the 59-run partnership in the second digs at home to Derbyshire, and you don’t need to be an Einsteiny-type chap to see how the total  falls short of Ben Wright’s second innings individual score against Hampshire.

However, it is that second innings against Hampshire that offers that hope. I’d quantify it if I could put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s an unconditional thing; an indictment of how a love of sport can impel you to think irrationally; positively; triumphantly – even when the stats conspire to paint the gloomiest of pictures.

That first win is out there for Glamorgan. It’s just about finding it now…

Anticipation

County Cricket

County cricket: Somewhere only we know...

Well, here we go again. It is almost time for another, as fantastic-as-it-always-is County season. It seems long ago, and conversely, not-that-long-ago since a pink ball was being pinged about amid Canterbury twilight as both Kent and Glammy ushered out the 2011 season. Now its time for 2012 to steal the show.

I won’t lie to you. I can’t say with any great conviction that I know the format for the season ahead. Last I heard, David Morgan had recommended there be a 39th game in the United Arab Emirates. Did I hear that right? Or am I again confused with cricket’s boorish underling that keeps us from freezing on winter nights?

This week’s weather has been lovely. It is, however, the conditions I would like to bottle and save in reserve for the inevitable rainy days that are coming our way in the next few months. Why aren’t they out there playing now when we have such fine weather? Remember that when the game versus the Unicorns is washed out.

I’ll also remember it if, in a week’s time, I’m left sitting atop the Warner Stand at Lord’s peering out of the bar to see a deluge of water and a palette of grey. But it is part of the English cricket summer; we don’t just tolerate it because it is going to happen; we embrace the prospect (sometimes) of being consigned to the bar.

So is making silly bets about whether Jim Allenby will outscore Gareth Berg.

For Glamorgan, the pre-season has been delightful in its ratio of wins to failures. The cautious person in me hopes that it isn’t emptying the reserve before the real stuff has even started, but the optimist thinks that Matthew Mott has got his feet well and truly under the table after a full off-season behind him.

It’s also the #yearofthedragon.

The moment when the anticipation really starts to impress upon you is when the Glamorgan squad is announced for the annual MCC University Match in Oxford. It’s coincidentally the moment that you start wistfully looking out the window in an attempt to work out how many working days you can sacrifice for the cause…

Cricket doesn’t have one of those buzz terms to signify the start of something. It’s not a kick-off, a starting pistol or anything like that. But once the first Duke clips the top of the bails (or smashes all three stumps 10 yards towards the keeper), it will have started. As it has and as it always will be. Marvellous.