Heritage Open Day and Post Ashes

An account of Heritage Open Day, details of some events involving my role as branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk, and a look back at The Ashes,

INTRODUCTION

This post looks back at the Ashes and Heritage Open Day, and forward to some other events. I have plenty of photos to share as usual (calendar will be finalized later this week). I start with…

HERITAGE OPEN DAY

I was due to steward at Lath Mansion from 2PM to 4PM, and was well aware that I would not be able to keep going for the whole six hours of Heritage Open Day, so I decided to have an early lunch at home and then head for the town, aiming to have an hour in town before my stewarding stint began. Thus I arrived at the Tuesday Market Place at about 12:40, picked up a brochure for the event and proceeded from there.

P1270277 (2)P1270278 (2)P1270279 (2)P1270280 (2)P1270281 (2)

P1270290 (2)
This is the place where I stewarded.

P1270282 (2)P1270283 (2)P1270285 (2)P1270286 (2)P1270287 (2)P1270288 (2)P1270289 (2)

I took time to look at two of the oldest cars the classic car display first of all…

P1270226 (2)P1270227 (2)P1270228 (2)P1270228 (3)P1270228 (4)P1270229 (2)P1270230 (2)P1270231 (2)P1270233 (2)P1270234 (2)P1270235 (2)P1270236 (2)P1270237 (2)P1270239 (2)P1270240 (2)P1270240 (3)P1270242 (2)P1270243 (2)P1270244 (2)P1270245 (2)P1270246 (2)P1270247 (2)P1270248 (2)P1270249 (2)P1270250 (2)P1270251 (2)

I decided that the only places I would visit prior to heading to Lath Mansion were the Norman house which these days houses a firm of solicitors and the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club, at the latter of which I consumed a pint of Ghost Ship. I then headed by way of The Lower Purfleet, the river front and St Margaret’s Lane to Nelson Street, and familiarized myself with Lath Mansion before starting my stewarding stint. Stewarding done it was time to head home. I am looking forward to be being involved again next year.

P1270253 (2)P1270254 (2)P1270255 (2)P1270256 (2)P1270257 (2)P1270258 (2)P1270259 (2)P1270261 (2)P1270262 (2)P1270263 (2)P1270264 (2)P1270265 (2)P1270266 (2)P1270267 (2)P1270268 (2)P1270269 (2)P1270270 (2)P1270271 (2)P1270272 (2)P1270273 (2)P1270274 (2)P1270275 (2)P1270276 (2)P1270292 (2)P1270293 (2)P1270294 (2)P1270295 (2)P1270296 (2)P1270297 (2)P1270298 (2)P1270299 (2)P1270300 (2)P1270301 (2)P1270302 (2)P1270303 (2)P1270304 (2)P1270305 (2)

P1270306 (2)
Lath Mansion starts here picture wise.

P1270307 (2)P1270308 (2)P1270309 (2)P1270310 (2)P1270311 (2)P1270312 (2)P1270313 (2)P1270313 (3)P1270314 (2)P1270315 (2)P1270316 (2)P1270317 (2)P1270319 (2)P1270320 (2)P1270321 (2)P1270322 (2)P1270323 (2)P1270325 (2)

P1270326 (2)
Not quite Faberge (!), but an ornamental egg.

P1270327 (2)P1270328 (2)P1270329 (2)P1270330 (2)P1270331 (2)P1270332 (2)P1270333 (2)P1270334 (2)P1270335 (2)P1270337 (2)P1270338 (2)P1270339 (2)P1270340 (2)P1270341 (2)P1270342 (2)P1270343 (2)P1270344 (2)P1270345 (2)P1270348 (2)

P1270349 (2)
A very old style bus.

P1270349 (3)P1270350 (2)

THE ASHES – THE MOST UNDESERVED 2-2 SCORELINE IN HISTORY

I got back from Heritage Open Day just in time to listen to the last knockings of the fifth Ashes test match at The Oval. Jack Leach finished with 4-49, while Broad had 4-62 as Eng;and completed victory by 135 runs. Leach has surely ended any argument about who is first choice spinner for England in red ball cricket – Matt Parkinson, Dominic Bess and Amar Virdi would all merit consideration should England opt for two front line spinners, while Liam Patterson-White of Nottinghamshire warrants consideration for the future (in a few years time he may well be ready to step in Jack Leach’s shoes, although at present there is of course no vacancy for a slow left armer). Sam Curran, whose left handedness gives the pace attack an extra element of variation was also a big plus, and Archer’s man of the match winning first innings bowling confirmed his stellar status. The batting remains problematic, with Denly seemingly able only to score runs in the second innings, Bairstow unable to buy a run against the red ball and Buttler not doing enough to warrant a place as a specialist batter. The only reason England’s lack of a decent opening pair was not even more cruelly exposed than it was in this series is that Australia fared even worse in that department, with Warner setting a new record low aggregate for an opener who has played 10 innings in a test series (surely that means a final “good riddance” from test cricket for him). At a minimum Sibley needs to be brought into the top three, enabling Root to go back to four, Pope to come in for Buttler and Foakes to get the gloves in place of Bairstow (his batting has always been much more of a selling point than his keeping, so consistent failure in that department should not be tolerated).

In truth England were thrashed at Edgbaston, outplayed for most of Headingley and thrashed at Old Trafford, while having just the better of Lord’s and managing to beat an Australia who basically did not turn up at The Oval. In terms of the next Ashes series, in 2021-2, whoever is England captain for that will need to achieve something last achieved by Ray Illingworth in 1970-1 (Brearley in 1978-9, Gatting in 1986-7 and Strauss in 2010-11 were all retaining, not regaining, the Ashes), and only achieved prior to that by Stoddart (1894-5), Warner (1903-4), Douglas (with some important advice from a sick Warner, 1911-2) and Jardine (1932-3). One can only hope that whatever he might say in public Ed Smith does not con himself into believing that England actually merited the 2-2 scoreline – they certainly did not. Propagandizing may be acceptable, buying into one’s own propaganda is invariably disastrous.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The “Yes I Can” event takes place at The Corn Exchange on Tuesday. Following the success of their Autism Friendly Youth Group, the library will be holding an Autism Friendly Adult’s Group, with the first session 5PM to 6:45PM on September 30th, and sessions being twice monthly, on a Monday near the end of the month and on a mid month Wednesday. NAS West Norfolk will be continuing to run a ‘drop in’ group at the Scout Hall on Portland Place every Wednesday.

Adult Social Group
An Infographic I created about the new adult social group at the Library
P1270347 (2)
My lanyard.

Yes I Can

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1270212 (2)
Not quite the last butterfly of the year (I have a red admiral on my camera from today), but this comma cannot be far short.

P1270213 (2)P1270214 (2)P1270217 (2)P1270220 (2)P1270221 (2)P1270222 (2)P1270224 (2)P1270225 (2)P1270351 (2)P1270352 (2)P1270353 (2)P1270355 (2)P1270356 (2)P1270357 (2)P1270358 (2)

Final Ashes Test Sees Familiar Scenario

Looking at the state of play in the final Ashes test match and in the closing stages of the County Championships, a couple of dates for the diary and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The final test of this year’s Ashes series has no bearing on the destination of the urn – Australia have already ensured possession of that with their victory at Manchester. However, an England win would tie the series (previous examples of such include 1962-3, 1965-6 and 1972). This post looks at that, and at the closing stages of the County Championship.

THE TEST MATCH

Australia won the toss and put England in to bat. England were somewhat fortunate to reach a semi-respectable 294, Root being dropped three times en route to 54, while Buttler with 70 produced his only major score of the series, and Leach again showed his ability to hang around, lasting 80 minutes (43 balls) for 21. However, in addition to Root’s good fortune Denly, Stokes, Bairstow, and all-rounder Sam Curran, in for Jason Roy, all scored between 14 and 22, and in all cases were culpable in their own downfall. Denly and Burns put on 27 together for the first wicket, the biggest opening stand by either side in the series to date. Archer dealt swiftly with both Australian openers, Labuschagne and Smith have had a good partnership, but Labuschagne has just gone for 48, LBW to that man Archer, adding to this match’s substantial tally of ‘nearly but not quite’ innings and the even more substantial match tally of innings ended by batter error.

I have to say that I am a bit worried about how this match is going, because a 2-2 series draw would give the England selectors something to hide behind and excuse inaction, whereas a 3-1 beating would surely compel action. For similar reasons I take scant comfort in Buttler’s 70, which may simply have bought him an extension to a test career that has yielded inadequate returns for a specialist batter. I hope Anderson can regain fitness because the young speedster Archer and the wily veteran swing merchant Anderson in partnership is an enticing prospect.

SOMERSET SOON TO CELEBRATE

Somerset are poised to win their first County Championship, having ruthlessly disposed of Yorkshire, while the best their only rivals, Essex, can hope for in this round is to avoid defeat at the hands of Warwickshire. Tom Abell produced a gritty performance in the Somerset second innings, when Yorkshire might have stayed in contention had they taken quick wickets, and with more aggressive efforts by Tom Banton, George Bartlett and Lewis Gregory to back him up Somerset ended up with a huge lead, and a dispirited Yorkshire collapsed for the second time in the match. Warwickshire put up 517 (23 year old Matthew Lamb 173) against Essex, who could only respond with 324, and made to follow on, 101-1 so far at the second attempt. Somerset have 205 points with two games to go, and Essex, playing their penultimate game, and with no chance of the 16 for a win are currently on 192 points, which if they avoid defeat will become 197. Thus at worst Somerset will be in a position from which one more win in their last two games will guarantee them the title, as would two draws, while even a draw and a defeat would leave them heavy favourites. Other than Somerset the only teams not to have won a county championship are Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire (who were twice named Champion County in the 1870s, before the competition was out on an official footing in 1890). In the second division Lancashire disposed of Derbyshire in a match made notable by Josh Bohannon, whose previous highest score in a fledgling career was 98 not out, but who this time round scored 174, batting at no 3 and coming in after the fall of an early wicket. One big hundred does not make an England test player, but if he continues to score heavily from near the top of the order the selectors would have to take note (this innings gives him a record of 660 first class runs at 47.14).

Matthew Wade has just fallen to Sam Curran to make it 118-4 in the test match. Mitchell Marsh, whose medium pace somehow accounted for five England wickets, is now at the crease.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have two major events coming up – Sunday is Heritage Open Day, and I will be stewarding at Lath Mansion, Nelson Street from 2PM to 4PM. A week on Tuesday is the second “Yes We Can” day at the Corn Exchange, and I will be helping to run the NAS West Norfolk stall.

Yes I Can
NAS West Norfolk branch chair Karan McKerrow posted this graphic on facebook this morning.

Now for my usual sign off…

P1270169 (2)

P1270171 (2)
Railway art at Stuart House…
P1270172 (2)
…where I was for a cheque presentation in connection with the King’s Lynn Beer Festival, where the charity to benefit was my own NAS West Norfolk.
P1270173 (2)
Preparing for the press photographs to be taken.

P1270174 (2)P1270175 (2)P1270176 (2)P1270177 (2)P1270178 (2)P1270179 (2)P1270180 (2)

P1270181 (2)
NAS West Norfolk will be running regular drop in sessions at this scout hall on Portland Place, South Lynn

P1270182 (2)P1270185 (2)

P1270186 (2)
The main room (but there are several other substantial rooms in this place)

P1270197 (2)P1270197 (3)P1270201 (2)P1270201 (3)P1270204 (2)P1270205 (2)P1270206 (2)P1270207 (2)

P1270208 (2)
A peculiar bug with a stirped carapace.

P1270208 (3)

Cricket, Petitions and Photographs

Some thoughts about the early stages of the 2nd Ashes test at Lord’s, two petitions and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This is mainly a sharing approach, but I have some comments about the test match that has finally gotten underway a day late as well.

BURNS CONTINUES TO ANSWER CRITICS

What should have been day 1 of the second Ashes test at Lord’s was yesterday washed away without the toss even taking place (such are the vagaries of English late summer weather!) but today we have action. Australia won the toss and decided to field (a decision on the borderline between confident and arrogant, based on attempting to bat only once in between two England innings). England a currently 112-3, Jason Roy having fallen to the third ball of the match, Joe Root having also fallen cheaply and Denly having done a “Vince” with a nicely made 30. Rory Burns is still there, currently 53 not out, with Buttler at the other end. This is an impressive follow-up to his first innings ton at Edgbaston after commentators had been unanimous in not thinking him worth persevering with. Having supported him all the way through since I first mentioned him when the Cook/ Jennings pairing was due to split due to continuous failings by the latter and impending (now confirmed) retirement by the former, I am especially pleased that he has picked an Ashes series to announced his arrival at this level (not quite on a par with the great opener who shares my surname, whose first four Ashes knocks were 59, 115, 176 and 127 – in two matches that England lost). Burns has just gone as I write this, but it is still a fine effort by him. England are now 116-4, and need a big partnership. Stokes has joined Buttler, with Bairstow, Woakes, Archer, Broad and Leach to come (I suspect that Leach, given his recent batting at Lord’s may get a promotion from his official no 11 slot, but we shall see). Only one team has ever come back from losing the first two matches to win a five match series, Don Bradmans 1936-7 Aussies, when the captain himself scored 270, 212 and 169 in those last three matches, so a collapse now would be doubly bad news (the 1894-5 Aussies levelled at 2-2 after losing the first two, but then Andrew Stoddart’s England rallied to win the decider and take the series).

PETITIONS

I have two petitions to share here:

1. A company called Adani are seeking to build a huge and very dirty coalmine near the Great Barrier Reef. Sum Of Us have a petition up and running about this atrocity and I urge you to sign and share it by clicking the screenshot below.

AIG

2. My second petition is open only to UK based signatories. The grouse shooting season, a source of shame to most of us Brits who do not participate in it, is underway, and a petition is running (and has already attracted over 40,000 signatures) to ban the practice. Please sign and share, clicking the screenshot below:

BDG

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1260010 (2)P1260010 (3)P1260011 (2)P1260012 (2)P1260013 (2)P1260014 (2)

P1260015 (2)
More shots from my favourite place for observing butterflies

P1260016 (2)P1260017 (2)P1260018 (2)P1260019 (2)P1260020 (2)P1260021 (2)P1260022 (2)P1260023 (2)P1260024 (2)P1260025 (2)P1260026 (2)P1260027 (2)P1260028 (2)P1260028 (3)P1260032 (2)P1260033 (2)P1260034 (2)P1260035 (2)P1260036 (2)

P1260037 (2)
These last shots were taken before and after physio at Tapping House today.

P1260038 (2)P1260040 (2)P1260042 (2)P1260043 (2)P1260044 (2)P1260045 (2)P1260046 (2)P1260049 (2)P1260050 (2)P1260051 (2)P1260052 (2)P1260053 (2)P1260054 (2)

The Big C: My Story

A brief account of the last 10 months, having reached a major turning point in the story of my illness and recovery.

INTRODUCTION

This post appears at this time due to news that I received yesterday, which while not entirely unexpected was nevertheless excellent to receive. We start with a…

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

This is a story that has been ten months unfolding, the key dates being (as far as I can remember them):

  • October 5th 2018 – Early return from work due to illness.
  • October 6th 2018 – Trip to Godalming to visit my mother and see the town cancelled due to illness.
  • October 8th 2018 – Hospitalized, so weakened that a saline drip was needed to get me from the flat I was living in (two outside staircases, one of them spiral, from street level) to a waiting ambulance.
  • October 9th-11th 2018 – Investigations reveal that the mystery illness is in fact stage 4 testicular cancer and that there are a number of metastases, including large tumours attacking both lungs (the brain and spleen are also host to smaller tumours).
  • October 12th 2018 – Bluelighted to Addenbrookes just in time to save me from an operation that had it been performed at that time would probably have seen the end of my life.
  • October – December 2018 – Once stabilized there follows a seven week period of intensive chemotherapy to deal with the tumours.
  • December 9th – discharge from Addenbrookes, arrive at new bungalow in North Lynn to begin recuperation.
  • December – January – in and out of Addenbrookes for various reasons, including an internal bleed caused by blood thinners working too effectively.
  • February – March 2019 – a couple of admissions to QEH for breathing difficulties (the second certainly brought on by anxiety)
  • April – July 2019 – A period of consistent improvement, assisted by regular physio sessions at The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, leading to:
  • July 12th 2019 – At Addenbrookes for operation to remove the testicle that was the cause of all the trouble.
  • August 1 2019 – New physio sessions at Tapping House start.
  • August 5 2019 – CT Scan at Addenbrookes, although due to my veins not co-operating (six failed attempts) they cannot inject the usual contrast medium.
  • August 9th 2019 – appointment with clinical psychologist Dr Amy Daglish at QEH, leading to the arrangement of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions which will start at end of August.
  • August 12th 2019 – appointment with Dr Danish Mazhar at Addenbrookes. Brings the hoped for and almost expected news that I am officially clear of cancer. My next appointment is two months away, and they will be steadily decreasing in frequency, although I will continue to be checked on for the next 10 years. On the way home I arrange to visit NAS West Norfolk’s allotment in West Lynn, where a sensory path is being laid that afternoon.

SHOUT OUTS

Another bulleted list as I do not wish to give these an official ranking order:

  • All the staff at Addenbrookes who were part of my recovery from oncology consultants Dr Danish Mazhar and Dr Han Wong through all the nurses I encountered to all the wonderful support staff who helped at various times. Also and overarching this to that great institution that made it all possible – The NHS.
  • My family, who have been incredibly supportive through all this.
  • NAS West Norfolk who have been incredible throughout this very difficult period. The comments in response to the announcement on their facebook pages of my ‘all clear’ have been amazing to read. It will not be too long now before you have a fully functioning branch secretary again.
  • James and Sons of Fakenham who have kept my job open for me through all this time – I expect to return to work in the spring of next year (given the damage to my lungs returning to that workplace during the winter months seems not to be sensible).
  • Various of my fellow bloggers who have been very supportive through these months (you all know who you are!).

For pretty much the first time since becoming ill I now look to the future with confidence rather than mere hope.

PHOTOGRAPHS

First up, I have just sent an email to the Independent Living Group asking them to include some of my photographs in their Disability Pride Digital Photography exhibition. As well as a link to this blog in the body of the email I attached 10 photographs, one my desktop background image, taken in Cornwall last year, and the other nine recent shots for reasons that should be obvious to anyone reading this post:

Carbis Bay II
The desktoip background image

P1250638 (2)P1250711 (2)P1250762 (2)P1250793 (4)P1250814 (2)P1250864 (2)P1250932 (2)P1250934 (2)P1260009 (2)

Here are some shots from the allotment area:

P1250979 (2)
A large and colourful fly.

P1250980 (2)P1250981 (2)P1250982 (2)P1250983 (2)

P1250984 (2)
Red Admiral and bee enjoying same plant.

P1250987 (2)P1250987 (3)P1250988 (2)P1250989 (2)P1250990 (2)P1250991 (2)P1250992 (2)P1250993 (2)P1250994 (2)P1250995 (2)P1250996 (2)P1250998 (2)P1250999 (2)P1260001 (2)P1260003 (2)P1260004 (2)P1260005 (2)P1260006 (2)

The remainder of my pictures…

P1250951 (2)

P1250952 (2)
Some shots from the new music sessions, which started at the discovery centre this saturday.

P1250953 (2)P1250954 (2)P1250955 (2)P1250956 (2)P1250957 (2)P1250958 (2)P1250959 (2)P1250960 (2)P1250961 (2)P1250962 (2)P1250963 (2)

P1250964 (2)
A ridiculously extended car seen from my window on Saturday.

P1250966 (2)P1250968 (2)P1250969 (2)P1250970 (2)P1250971 (2)P1250972 (2)P1250973 (2)P1250974 (2)P1250975 (2)P1250976 (2)P1250977 (2)

P1250978 (2)
A map of Addenbrookes, on the back of a leaflet which had been discarded carelessly on the ground floor of the carpark, and which I picked up rather than leave lying around.
P1260009 (2)
A beautiful Red Admiral.

Some Thoughts On The England Squad For Lord’s

Some thoughts on the England squad for the second Ashes test at Lord’s and lots of photos, along with an invitation for calendar nominations.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I look at the England squad announced for the second Ashes test at Lord’s, which starts on Wednesday.  There are also of course plenty of photographs for you to enjoy.

THE SQUAD

The squad, as shown at the end of a cricinfo article introducing it is as shown below:

Eng Squad
There is much that I agree with in this squad, but also some things I am not happy about…

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SQUAD

Archer had to come in, especially with Anderson and Stone both injured. I am not happy about the continuing presence of Broad and Denly, although if the latter is put in as Burns‘ opening partner that looks better than playing Roy right at the top of the order. In place of Broad I would have Lewis Gregory, whose ability to swing the ball and all-round skills fill some of the hole left by James Anderson, while his all-rounder status means that he cannot be considered as that impossible thing, a “like-for-like” replacement for Anderson. I would not feature either Buttler or Bairstow (the proverbial gun to the head proposition would see me select Buttler at test level) preferring Foakes as keeper and wanting a second genuine spin option, one of the following:

  1. Matthew Parkinson, the young Lancashire legspinner (even though as a batter he is as the old saying puts it “the ferret who follows the rabbits”).
  2. Dominic Bess, Leach’s regular spinning partner at “Ciderabad” aka Taunton.
  3. Amar Virdi, who recently took 14 wickets in a match for Surrey.
  4. Helen Fenby – her action took all the commentators by surprise the other day (and brought her four cheap wickets) – perhaps it will have the same effect on Steve Smith (surely something can unsettle him).

Still, the selectors have at least done the bare minimum that they had to after the Edgbaston debacle – jettison Moeen Ali.

PHOTOGRAPHS

As a lead in to my usual sign off, here is a graphic that I got from British Nature Guide by way of their twitter account, which I follow:

Butterflies

Now for my usual sign off…

P1250762 (2)
This is making its second appearance – I misidentified it first time round as being a type of painted lady, it is actually a “Comma”

P1250891 (2)P1250892 (2)P1250893 (2)P1250894 (2)

P1250895 (2)
What I did in yesterday’s physio session.

P1250896 (2)P1250897 (2)P1250898 (2)P1250900 (2)P1250901 (2)

P1250902 (2)
From now on, use the graphic (and better, follow the link to the website) to identify the butterlfies.

P1250903 (2)P1250904 (2)P1250905 (2)P1250906 (2)P1250907 (2)P1250908 (2)P1250909 (2)P1250910 (2)P1250911 (2)P1250912 (2)P1250913 (2)P1250915 (2)

P1250916 (2)
I invite commneters to naminate pictures they particuarly like for the aspi.blog 2020 Wall Calendar.

P1250916P1250917 (2)P1250918 (2)P1250919 (2)P1250920 (2)P1250921 (2)P1250922 (2)P1250923 (2)

P1250929 (3)
An azure damselfly in flight…
P1250929 (2)
…and a c,lose-up view extracted from the same original.
P1250930 (2)
These two pictures suggest that the butterflies are not done yet!

P1250931 (2)

P1250932 (2)
The next four pictures featyure some species of dragonfly – I have not been able to identify which

P1250933 (2)P1250934 (2)P1250935 (2)P1250937 (2)P1250939 (2)P1250940 (2)

P1250941 (2)
Appropriately enough for Norfolk, this is a ‘Red Admiral’ .

P1250942 (2)P1250943 (2)P1250944 (2)P1250945 (2)P1250946 (2)P1250947 (2)P1250948 (2)P1250949 (2)P1250950 (2)P1250950

Yesterday’s Women’s Super League Triple Header

An account of yesterday’s triple header opening to the Women’s Super League and a highly controversial suggestion re England men’s team spin difficulties.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday was the opening day of what will be the final season of the Women’s Super League and featured three matches, all of which were excellent in their different ways. This post looks at all three and also stirs the pot a bit in relation to events from the third match.

GAME 1: SOUTHERN VIPERS V LANCASHIRE THUNDER

This match was largely dominated by two players, both turning out for the Southern Vipers. Tammy Beaumont, my controversial pick for the vacant opening slot in the men’s XI (see here for more detail), made a superb half-century and pouched two fine catches in the field. Dani Wyatt also scored a half-century, pouched a catch and also collected two wickets with her off-spin. With Stafanie Taylor also making 40 the Southern Vipers won by a comfortable 34 runs. In amongst the carnage of that Southern Vipers innings left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone took 1-12 from her four overs. Also noteworthy was fellow spinner Alex Hartley’s 2-34 from her four. All the bowling figures for the Southern Vipers were good, with 18 year old Lauren Bell recording  2-19 from her four.

GAME 2: LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING V WESTERN STORM

This was a low scoring match. Loughborough Lightning scored a modest 125-7, which would have been far worse but for Amy Jones who made 65. Obviously in a total like that no one got really clobbered, but in a continuing theme the most economical bowler was a spinner, Deepti Sharma, who had 1-17 from her four overs. Western Storm knocked the target off with seven wickets and three whole overs to spare. No bowlers had headline making performances in this innings, but 19 year-old Sarah Glenn had 2-13 from three overs, while Kirstie Gordon, yet another young spinner, bowled her full allocation, going for 27.

GAME 3: SURREY STARS V YORKSHIRE DIAMONDS

This was another low scoring affair. The Surrey Stars batted first, and were restricted to 130-9. The highlight of this innings was the bowling of 20 year old legspinner Helen Fenby who, bowling legspin with a very unusual action, removed both openers during the powerplay overs and then came back to bag another two wickets late in the innings, giving her the remarkable figures of 4-20 from her four overs. Linsey Smith, yet another in the phalanx of young spinners on display during the day also bowled her full allocation, taking 1-21, Katie-Ann Levick, a more experienced legspinner had 0-18 from three and Leigh Kasparek, an off-spinner had 3-25 from her four.

Remarkably, that modest Surrey Stars total proved sufficient as Yorkshire Diamonds were bowled out for 121. Mady Villiers, yet another young spinner, had 1-21 from her four overs, while veteran off-spinner Laura Marsh collected 3-17 from her four, while South Africa legspinning allrounder Dane Van Niekerk had 1-27 from 3.5 overs. Nat Sciver produced the only really good bowling figures from a pacer on the day, 2-25 from her four.

ENGLAND WOMEN’S SPIN GLUT AND A HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL SUGGESTION

In addition to all the English spinners mentioned above there is Sophia Dunkley who has international experience. This gives by my count seven spinners in their teens or early twenties plus Levick (28) and Marsh (32), discounting Bell about whose bowling I know little and Wyatt who is mainly a batter. The England women thus have far more spinners than they can ever accommodate in a team, whereas this is an ares where the men are short. When arguing the case for Tammy Beaumont as opener I noted wicketkeeping and spin bowling as areas where the women could quite possibly match the men, as well as batting. Given that no one seems able to pick Helen Fenby because of her action, and that England are somewhat short of male spinners I am tentatively adding her to my list of potentials for playing alongside the men (even if only to give Steve Smith something he has never seen before). Leach, Bess and Parkinson remain my preferred front-line options, and Amar Virdi warrants consideration, but a fifth name between a test spinner’s berth and Moeen Ali can do no harm. Should England lose at Lord’s next week putting them two down with three to play, then the necessity to gamble in an effort to retrieve the situation will make the case for Fenby a little stronger. At any event, England cannot afford Moeen Ali to be anywhere near test match consideration – the last two days at Edgbaston showed that only too clearly.

PETITION AND PHOTOGRAPHS

The LGBT community in Poland is under vicious attack, and there is a petition about this which I urge you all to sign and share be clicking the screenshot below:

LGBT

Time for my usual sign off…

P1250856 (2)
I saw this bird outside my window this morning…
P1250857 (2)
…and got two shots, one of them this close-up
P1250858 (2)
A pollinator on a dandelion

P1250859 (2)P1250860 (2)P1250861 (2)P1250862 (2)P1250863 (2)

P1250864 (2)
Two swans on a stretch of The Gaywood not far from my flat.

P1250865 (2)P1250866 (2)P1250867 (2)P1250868 (2)P1250869 (2)

P1250870 (2)
The first buitterfly of the day (three pics)

P1250871 (2)P1250872 (2)

P1250873 (2)
A peacock butterfly.

P1250875 (2)P1250877 (2)

P1250880 (2)
I am just starting to think about pictures for the 2020 calendar – nominations welcomed in the comments section. This peacock butterfly is a candidate.
P1250880 (3)
This is the original shot, edited but not rotated or cropped from which the last picture came.

P1250881 (2)P1250881 (3)

P1250881 (4)
An albino duck next to a moorhen

P1250882 (2)P1250882 (3)P1250883 (2)

P1250883 (3)
The drake at the front of this shot has a very white body, but the charateristic green head that marks it as a mallard drake.

P1250884 (2)P1250885 (2)P1250886 (2)

England Fold Like A Pack Of Cards

An account of England’s surrender in the first test match and a suggested 13 for the second test match.

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with the first Ashes Test of 2019 which ended yesterday in defeat for the home team by a thumping 251 runs. I did not actually get to follow any cricket yesterday as a hospital appointment intervened, and by the time I was home England’s humiliation was complete. However, I did follow most of the first four days, and I have followed enough cricket over the years to have a fairly good picture of yesterday’s events in my mind. An official match report can be viewed here.

PICKING UP FROM MY PREVIOUS POST

At the end of day three Australia led by 34 with seven second innings wickets standing. It was day four which killed England’s chances stone dead and illustrated all too vividly the utter folly of regarding Moeen Ali as a test match spinner, let alone as being good enough to be sole spinner.  On a pitch which was turning he went at four an over (seriously expensive even in 21st century test cricket) and only picked up two wickets, both long after England’s hopes had been dashed. Both Joe Root and Joe Denly were called on to bowl their part-time stuff as Australia forged ahead, a king-size indictment of Moeen Ali. and of the original selection of just one front line spinner.

Steve Smith, for all that can be (and has been) said against his personal conduct is without much question the best current test match batter in the world, so his second century of the match deserves full credit, but Matt Wade, who started his cricketing life as a wicketkeeper, also racked up a ton, and there were further runs all down the order, until Australia declared at 487-9 leaving England a purely nominal 395 to chase in just over a day.

England reached 13-0 by the close of day four. The aim on day five was preservation of wickets, with an outside possibility of having a dart after tea if the situation warranted it (I was envisaging for this scenario a tea score of maybe 200-2 and then sending in Buttler and Stokes to have an almighty bash, with the option of falling back on defence if that tactic backfired). In the event England failed even to begin to make a contest of it, and in a final indictment of Moeen’s earlier toothlessness Australia’s own sole spinner Nathan Lyon demonstrated that a genuine spinner could use that pitch, taking 6-49 (the other four wickets went the way of fast bowler Pat Cummins, the quickest on either side in the match).

CHANGES FOR THE SECOND TEST MATCH

England need to make big changes for the second test. I reproduce below my own squad of 13 for the second test, with the additional note that I just been listening to my controversial choice as opener score a superb half-century and an invitation to view an alternative set of selections here.

  1. Burns
  2. Beaumont
  3. *Root
  4. Roy
  5. +Foakes
  6. Stokes
  7. Lewis Gregory (with Anderson likely gone for the series it is surely time for this move)
  8. Chris Woakes
  9. Jofra Archer
  10. Jack Leach
  11. Olly Stone
  12. Sam Curran (could play in place of Gregory, Woakes or Archer)
  13. Matthew Parkinson (with all respect to Bess I gamble on the legspinner as second specialist spin option, in the knowledge that the skipper can bowl passable off-breaks if needed)

Given England’s current desperation in that regard I end with two tongue-in-cheek suggestions for finding a way to dislodge Steve Smith:

  1. Set 7-2 onside fields for Archer and Stone and absolutely pepper him with short stuff in the hope of unsettling him (the Jardinian approach)
  2. When you know he will be at the non-striker’s end at the start of over toss the ball to someone like Rory Burns, with advice to keep an eye on where he is and in his desire to get to the striker’s end he creates the opportunity for a bowler’s end run out (absolute desperation).

LINKS AND PICTURES

I have a few links to share before we come to the photographs:

Now for my usual sign off…

P1250824 (2)P1250826 (2)P1250827 (2)

P1250828 (2)
This is a local Norfolk brewed Porter (from Sunday’s supper at Golding’s)
P1250829 (2)
An interesting tower near Ely
P1250830 (2)
Ely Cathedral from just outside the town.
P1250831 (2)
Various shots of Ely Cathedral taken while we made a flying visit to the town on the way back from my hospital appointment.

P1250832 (2)P1250832 (3)P1250833 (2)P1250834 (2)P1250835 (2)P1250836 (2)

P1250837 (2)
The focal point of our visit – an excellent independent bookshop.

P1250838 (2)P1250839 (2)P1250840 (2)P1250841 (2)P1250842 (2)P1250843 (2)P1250844 (2)

P1250846 (2)
The next three shots show that is not just insects, ducklings and moorhen chicks who sometimes use lily pads as a resting place.

P1250847 (2)P1250848 (2)P1250850 (2)

P1250851 (2)
The last five pics show ‘mama duck’ with her now almost fledged brood of six youngsters.

P1250852 (2)P1250853 (2)P1250854 (2)P1250855 (2)