Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

My response to being nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award.

INTRODUCTION

Thank you to simpleillusionblog for the nomination. This post is my response to that nomination.

SBA

I hope that learnography will get something close to an answer to a question they raised in a comment recently:

Will you share how you feel before, during or after the writing? In fact, writing is the motor knowledge of brain circuits which deals with the finger mapping of cerebellar learnography. Your therapeutic experience is valuable in the development of cerebellar basal ganglia circuitry. Thanks

First up for the rest of thist post…

THE RULES

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

MY ANSWERS TO SIMPLEILLUSION’S QUESTIONS

  1. How dedicated are you as a blogger? pretty dedicated – in just under eight years since I started I have produced just over 1,500 posts, and whenever possible I like to put something up most days. I also read a huge number of blogs, posting likes and where appropriate comments.
  2.  What do you love most about blogging? Interacting with a community, something that I struggle with except via the medium of a computer.
  3. Do you collect anything when you travel and if so, what and why? I collect maps to remind of me of places I have visited and I also collect photographs to share so that others can see things that have caught my eye.
  4. Do you speak any other languages? No, I am sadly monolingual (my efforts to learn other languages have all been failures).
  5. Are you a tea or coffee drinker? I am a coffee drinker. These days I drink filter coffee, and my method for producing the perfect brew is: Two heaped scoops of coffee grounds into the pot, cover with enough boiling water to produce two cups of coffee, place the top over the pot and leave to stand for not less than five minutes (I check my emails while filling in this time), then press the plunger down and pour. The result looks like black muck and drinks like liquid velvet.
  6. How did your blog get its name and why did you start it? My blog got its name from a shortening of my official 2006 diagnosis – Asperger’s Syndrome – although these days like most autistic people I simply use autism and refer to myself where appropriate as an autistic person. I started the blog because I hoped that people would be interested in reading about an autistic person from their own point of view. Also, I find writing to be therapeutic – I always feel better for having created a blog post.
  7. What post are you most proud of on your blog? The one I wrote about going through a melt down, because it was a difficult and sensitive subject and if I had misfired with such a post I could have copped some serious stick, while in the event it was very well received.
  8. Name one thing you didn’t expect to happen with your blog that has. That I would acquire as many followers as I have done – almost 800 of you now follow this blog.
  9. What is your typical weekend like? I can no longer claim to have a typical weekend, but unless something (usually an unscheduled hospital trip these days) prevents it Sunday lunch with family remains a regular feature.
  10. What is your greatest inspiration in life? My inspiration comes from the natural world – I love to get outside in to green spaces and see what the beasts and birds are doing.
  11. What advice would you give someone wanting to start a travel blog today? I would say start by picking a title for your blog and creating a wordpress site, then continue by searching wordpress for travel blogs and see what kinds of stuff they post, also leave a few likes and comments to advertise your presence (I spent my first three years or so as a blogger failing to do this), then think about what you want your first post to look like and set about creating it. Once you have created the post make sure it is categorized and tagged properly (no more than 10 tags for a post or you could fall foul of various spam filters) and that you have a good feature image. If you do other forms of social media (not all bloggers do) then post links there to maximise exposure of the blog.

MY QUESTIONS

  1. What inspired you to become a blogger?
  2. How do you promote your blog?
  3. What has been your greatest recent challenge?
  4. Do you ever set yourself to do muli-post blogging projects (e.g my “100 cricketers” series, which occupied 40 posts)?
  5. How do you go about creating a blog post?
  6. Which of your posts did you most enjoy creating and why?
  7. Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
  8. What is your favourite meal?
  9. What kind of music do you most enjoy? If you fancy expanding on this one you could do a “Desert Island Discs” style selection of eight pieces and finish by pickinf one from that list.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  11. Do you have an idea that you think you could turn into a book? If so what is it?

MY NOMINATIONS

I have nominated the following, who I present as a bulleted list to avoid any suggestion of a ranking order:

If I have not nominated you but you fancy taking on my questions anyway, please feel free to do so.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I sign off in my usual fashion…

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100 Cricketers – Bringing Up the Century

The final post in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Cham;pionship and some of my photographs. Also features a complete listing of the 100 cricketers.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my “100 cricketers series“, which completes the century of cricketers with a player who frequently completed centuries. The introductory post to the series can be found here and the most recent post can be found here. Before the big reveal it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

The second round of matches are now into their third day of four, and the situations are:

  • Hampshire v YorkshireYorkshire 554-7D, Hampshire 223-5
    Sam Northeast continues his fine start to the season, currently being on 85 not out, while he is getting support from Liam Dawson (39 not out). Ben Coad has taken two wickets for Yorkshire. If Hampshire reach 405 and avoid the follow-on this game will definitely be drawn. If they do not then Yorkshire should enforce the follow-on and hope to bowl them out a second time – failure to do so would be to accept a secon successive draw.
  • Nottinghamshire v Somerset Nottinghamshire 263 and 111-7, Somerset 403
    Nottinghamshire are in a spin, and it it is looking like a second straight victory for Somerset. Jack Leach, Somerset and England’s slow left-armer has taken 5-22 so far, the other two second innings wickets going to Jack Brooks. Will George Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow) get a chance to deploy his off-spin? Lewis Gregory (another of the five) augmented his first innings 6-68 with a quickfire 50 yesterday, but has not added to his wickets tally in this innings. Joe Clarke (the third of the five to be involved in this game) suffered a second failure, being out for 2 again.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 395, Essex 368-6
    A massive fightback by Essex has them almost on terms. Dan Lawrence made 93 and Essex skipper Ryan Ten Doeschate is 124 not out. Tom Curran has three wickets for Surrey and Morne Morkel two. 
  • Kent v WarwickshireKent 504-9 declared, Warwickshire 262-7
    There are two results on the cards – a Kent win if they get Warwickshire out before the total reaches 355 (follow-on avoidance target) and enforce the follow-on and bowl them out a second time, or a draw if Warwickshire get to or beyond 355. Dominic Sibley, opneing the innings, is 128 not out, and Warwickshire’s hopes of escape rest largely on his shoulders. Matt Milnes has three wickets and Harry Podmore and Darren ‘Benjamin Button’ Stevens (he is now 43 years old) have two each.
  • Durham v Sussex Durham 224 and 159-9, Sussex 202
    A nailbiter in the making – Durham have fought back somewhat from 106-7 in their second kinnings. Liam Trevaskis could not follow up on his first innings 50, collecting a blob this time. This means that of my Five to Follow only Philip Salt, who will be batting before too long remains to contribute. David Wiese has five wickets for Sussex.

STOP PRESS! Somerset have made it two from two, beating Nottinghamshire by an innings and 14. Jack Leach took 6-36 and Jack Brooks 4-22, as Nottinghamshire sank for 126. This means two wins out of two as they go into a month’s break in the championship for a one-day tournament. Somerset are looking very strong contenders, although they will need their top order to score a few runs somewhere along the way. This effort in his first bowling spell of the new season has surely confirmed Leach’s place in the England squad. Now back to the regular updates…

  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 403-3
    This one is being capsized by an overload of runs. Vasconcelos (South African) and Newton shared a triple century opening stand for Northamptonshire, the former making 184. The bowlers have had no chance on this pitch, so I will not quote a\ny figures.
  • Gloucestershire v DerbyshireDerbyshire 291, Gloucestershire 350-9
    Gloucestershire’s advantage in this match stems from three significant innings – Wicketkeeper Roderick making 98, Higgins 74 to follow up his bowling efforts and Bracey 65. For Derbyshire Luis Reece has 3-65. 
  • Leicestershire v WorcestershireWorcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 302 and 10-1 (following on)
    Another one that looks like the pitch is too favourable for batting for its own or the game’s good. Worcestershire have given themselves a chance by bowling Leicestershire out and enforcing the follow-on. Tongue (a 21 year old seamer who came into this match with a bowling average of 24) took 4-46 in the first Leicestershire innings, and was backed up by Barnard (a 23 year old who came into this match averaging 28 with both bat and ball) with 3-40.
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 265, Lancashire 333-4
    Yesterday Haseeb Hameed claimed headlines with his 117 (196 balls, 298 minutes), today’s play has been disrupted by the weather. He had had two very quiet years prior to this season and I reckon he needs more than one century to earn a recall to the England side. Jones is currently 82 not out and Vilas 50 not out. If the weather does not win this one then Lancashire will.

Now we are ready for the…

BIG REVEAL

All I have told you about the player who completes the century is that it is somebody who often did just that. So who is it? It is…

CLAIRE TAYLOR

15 Test matches yielded her 1,030 runs in 27 innings, with four centuries (just better than one per seven innings) and an average of 41.20, highest score 177. 126 ODIs produced 4,101 runs at 40.20 with eight centuries and a best of 156 not out. She was also a history maker, being the first English female cricketer to have a professional contract (yes, this distinction was achieved by someone born as late as 1975!). Claire Taylor’s successes blazed a trail for others to follow, and all the top England Women now have professional contracts, as opposed to having to combine playing at the top level with earning a living doing something else, which used to be the case. Her great record would earn her a place of honour in any case, but her historic importance makes the case unassailable. 

A LOOK BACK ON THE SERIES

No two people attempting a project like this would come up with the same answers, and I expect that all the cricket fans among my readers have people in mind who I have omitted and they would have selected. The problem with these exercises is the embarrassment of riches that one faces – I could have selected many more than 100. A number of young players have stood up to be counted in the early stages of this year’s County Championship. 

FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS SERIES

I have a few ideas for following on from this series, which I shall be thinking about while this round of Championship matches heads to its conclusion. I will finish this part of the post by presenting for the first time the whole 100 names in one place:

100 cricketers100 Cricketers Full List

LINKS, PICTURES AND OTHER STUFF

From The Pileus on twitter, a great quote on rail privatisation:

 

Chakraborty.jpg

Now comes a mathematical teaser from brilliant.org:

trickshot q

We end with my usual sign off…

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100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Women

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, with updates from the County Championship, some twitter finds and some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers series“, finshing the ninth XI by looking at three woman cricketers who feature in it. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI is here and the most recent post in the series is here. Now before we get into the main meat of the post it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

We are into day 2 of the second round of county championship matches, and the current situations are as follows:

  • Yorkshire v Hampshire Yorkshire 446-6
    Yorkshire are piling on the runs in this one. The big innings came from Gary Ballance (148), and there have been solid contributions all the way down the order. Fidel Edwards, Gareth Berg and bits and pieces player Liam Dawson each have two wickets.
  • Nottinghamshire v Somerset Nottinghamshire 263, Somerset 221-3
    Following Lewis Gregory’s six wickets yesterday (he is one of my Five to Follow) the Somerset innings began with a sense of deja vu as the top three in their order were despatched for 10 runs reach, but George Bartlett (another of my Five to Follow, 91 not out) and Tom Abell (82 not out) have put together a fine partnership which has their team well on top. Still, Somerset will need runs from their top order somewhere along the line.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 395, Essex 65-2
    A patient effort from Ryan Patel (100 not out while the score rose from 75-1 to the eventual 395 all out was the sheet anchor of the Surrey effort. Ben Foakes (69) and Will Jacks (88) made significant contributions in more aggressive fashion. Both Essex openers are back in the hutch already, with the wickets going to Morne Morkel and Tom Curran.
  • Warwickshire v KentKent 504-9declared, Kent 1-0
    Kent are clearly having the better of the battle of the newly promoted sides, with Zak Crawley making a ton yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson going on to 143 today. We wait to see how the Kent bowlers fare.
  • Durham v SussexDurham 224, Sussex 84-7
    Durham owed much to the shot in the dark among my Five to Follow, Liam Trevaskis, who battled his way to 54 for their modest looking total. Chris Rushworth and potential England man James Weighell (48 first class wickets prior to this magtch at 28 a piece) each have three wickets to their credit in the Sussex innings, as they are collapsing in a heap, sadly including a cheap dismissal for Philip Salt, another of my Five to Follow. Of course the trouble with Sussex faring so poorly with the bat is that Trevaskis has not yet been givena chance to deploy his left-arm spin.
  • Gloucestershire v DerbyshireDerbyshire 291, Gloucestershire 81-1
    Intriguingly poised. The Derbyshire wickets were shared around, and nobody made a huge score for them. Bracey at no 3 for Gloucestershire is 41 not out, and Dent has 25 not out. Sadly for those with a sense of history Miles Hammond at the top of the Gloucestershire order does not appear to be living up to his great namesake and fellow Gloucestershire batter of yesteryear, Wally – he was out cheaply.
  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 570-8 declared, Northamptonshire 50-0
    This one looks like being capsized by an overload of runs. Labuschagne, Will Root and 2o year-old Kiran Carlson all made centuries for Glamorgan, Carlson’s 111 coming off 126 balls. The Northamptonshire reply has been untroubled thus far, and some of the scoring thus far suggests that the playing condition allowing the visiting side to avoid the toss if they want to bowl first is flawed – it is leading to counties producing ultra-flat pitches so that visitors cannot gain an advantage from bowling first. 
  • Worcestershire v LeicestershireWorcestershire 553-6 declared, Leicestershire 16-0
    Another one where the bowlers have been reduced to mere serfs, existing merely for the batters convenience. Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford had centuries yesterday, and wicketkeeper Ben Cox completed the third ton of the Worcestershire innings today. In the circumstances, although he like all the others took some tap, Ben Mike’s 2-119 from 23.5 overs was a creditable effort. 
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 265, Lancashire 126-1
    Two men at opposite ends of the experience spectrum, Tom Bailey (youngster, 5-67- is it possible that over 50 years on from the retirement of the original there will again be a fast-medium bowler called T E Bailey playing for England?) and Jimmy Anderson (3-41, veteran) took most of the Middlesex wickets. Eskinazi (75) and Gubbins (55) made the only significant batting contributions for Middlesex. Jennings made 52 for Lancashire (shoiuld not be sufficient to keep his England place) while Haseeb Hameed has followed his double hundred against a load of students last week by getting to 70 not out far in this match. James Harris has the one wicket to fall.

Further update from the Nottinghamshire v Somerset game – Abell and Bartlett both completed centuries, Abell has fallen for 101, but Bartlett (one of my Five to Follow, remember) is still there on 117 not out, and Somerset with six first innings wickets standing are already 16 in credit at 279-4. Now it is time for the main business of the post, starting with…

DANIELLE WYATT

From news of one batter who bowls offspin on the side to another, 27 year-old Stoke on Trent native Danielle Wyatt. Her princiapl successes have come in T20Is, in which format she has twic reached three figures, with a best of 124, but of late she has begun translating that form to ODIs to as well, with a few useful efforts in India and Sri Lanka. Her 46 wickets at 15.34 in T20Is, with a best of 4-11 show that her offspin is not entirely to be disregarded (she would be sixth bowler in this XI). I expect to see more big performances from her in the next year or so.

ASH GARDNER

The 21 year-old off-spinning all-rounder has recently been batting up the order for the Sydney Sixers in the Women’s Big Bash League, while her bowling has been consistently effective. Being so young she is still definitely improving, and it is on future promise that she has really been selected in this XI. 

POONAM YADAV

The 27 year-old leggie is the smallest player in my 100, and makes use of her lack of inches to release the ball upwards, sending it in an arc that takes it out of the batter;s eyeline for much of its flight. She also bowls with extreme lack of pace (only about 60kph – 37mph) meaning that batters have to supply all the impetus themselves. As so often with the women she has not had sufficient opportunity to show her skill in test cricket, but she has 63 ODI wickets at 21.09 and 74 T20I wickets at 14.77, which are testament to the effectiveness of her methods. She has yet to achieve a five-for but has a best of 4-13 and a T20I best of 4-9. For a historic comparison involving dimunitive leggies I give you Alfred Percy “Tich” Freeman, the 5’2″ Catford born leggie, whose 592 first class appearances brought him 3,776 wickets at 18.42 (second to Wilfred Rhodes in the all-time list, and the Yorkshireman played over 1,000 first class games), including all ten in an innings three times (a record), and in 1928 a barely believeable 304 wickets in the season (again an all time record). 

THE FUTURE AND A GUESSING GAME

I have one more post to do to complete this series, and will then create a page from which all posts in the series can be accessed. That post will feature the 100th cricketer in my list, and with the clue that it is somebody who was no stranger to completing hundreds I invite readers to attempt to guess who it is.

LINKS AND PICTURES

Before my usual sign-off I have some links to share…

A great twitter picture based on Branson daring to complain about the fact that Virgin/Stagecoach have been barred from bidding for rail franchises, courtesy of Michael (@PrinceJasper):

Continue reading “100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Women”

100 Cricketers – Ninth XI, Nepal’s Magician

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring a Nepalese legspinner, some thoughts on the elevation of minor cricketing nations and when it is warranted, some stuff about the county championship, some links and pictures relating to the photographing a black hole and some of my own pictures.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series. Today we deal with the most minor cricketing nation to be represented in my list and I have some extras features. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI here and the most recent post here. Before getting to the main meat of the post it is time for a…

LOOK AT THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

A full programme of county championship matches got underway today. So far this is what is happening:

  • Hampshire v YorkshireYorkshire 160-2
    A solid start by Yorkshire with the bat. Adam Lyth made 67, Gary Ballance is unbeaten on 51 and Joe Root has 34 not out. Both wickets have been taken by Fidel Edwards. 
  • Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 188-6
    Somerset have made a strong start with the ball. Chris Nash scored 58 for Nottinghamshire with the bat but no one else has made a significant score thus far. Lewis Gregory, one of my “Five to Follow” (see my previous post) has four of the wickets to fall, including getting Joe Clarke, also in that list, cheaply. George Bartlett’s offspin has not been called on yet (he is also on that list), but his batting will surely figure later in the game even he does not get used as a bowler.
  • Surrey v EssexSurrey 168-3
    Surrey have been helped to make a good start in this match by some ordinary Essex fielding (two chances have been shelled, one of which is now looking very costly). Openers Burns and Stoneman both got in but failed to go on, Ben Foakes is 60 not out (having beem dropped on 0) and Ryan Patel 20 not out. Peter Siddle who may well be involved for Australia in The Ashes later this summer has two wickets.
  • Kent v Warwickshire Kent 169-2
    Kent are batting well in this one. Dickson and Aussie Matt Renshaw have both got themselves in and got out in the 30s, while opener Zak Crawley is 89 not out. The wickets have gone to medium pacer Craig Miles and Ryan Sidebottom, an Australian unrelated to the left-arm quick of the same name who played for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
  • Durham v SussexDurham 93-4
    Durham are struggling again, which given their abysmal choice of captain can only be regarded as good news. He is yet to be involved in the action (although his first innings should not be delayed too long) but Liam Trevaskis, a fourth person from my “Five to Follow” is in the Durham team. Scameron Bancroft as I now call him is 33 not out, and currently batting in partnership wioth wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley. Ollie Robinson is staking an early claim for selectorial attention with three more wickets to add to those he took last week (he came into this match with 171 first class wickets at 23.52).
  • Glamorgan v NorthamptonshireGlamorgan 198-3
    Looks like a solid start for Glamorgan. South African born Aussie Marnus Labuschagne is 86 not and Billy Root, younger brother of the England test captain is 33 not out. Jason Holder, Nathan Buck and Zimbabwean Blessing Muzarabani each have a wicket.
  • Derbyshire v Gloucestershire Derbyshire 159-3
    Given that Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field Derbyshire are faring pretty well. Tom Lace has 74 not out. The wickets have gone to three young bowlers, Matt Taylor (24), Ryan Higgins (24) and Josh Shaw (23).
  • Worcestershire v LeicestershireWorcestershire 203-2
    Worcetsershire are going well against Leicestershire who got away to a winning start in their first match. Veteran opener Daryl Mitchell has just reached a century (now 101 not out), and Hamish Rutherford (New Zealand, nephew of former Kiwi captain Ken Rutherford) is 62 not out. Ben Mike, a 20 year old medium pacer who came into this match with 19 wkickets from four first class appearances at an average of 20.26, has one of the wickets. The other has been taken by Will Davis, a 23 year old medium pacer who pays just over 30 a piece for his first class wickets.
  • Middlesex v LancashireMiddlesex 160-3
    A good start for Middlesex. Steve Eskinazi made 75 and opener Nick Gubbins 55, and two of the wickets have fallen to a young fast medium bowler named Tom Bailey (he shares a pair of initials with a right-arm fast-medium of yesteryear, Trevor Bailey, but is apparently unrelated to him).

Now for the main business of the post starting with…

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE ELEVATION OF COUNTRIES TO TEST STATUS

Leaving aside the two original contenders, England and Australia, every country elevated to test status (this has not yet happened for Nepal, the feature country of this post, but one has to consider future possibilities) has started slowly at that level. In their early years in the late 19th and earlyy 20th centuries South Africa were regularly hammered by both England and Australia, twice being bowled out for 30 in test matches. The West Indies did not make any series progress as a test nation until the 1950s although they were promoted to the top table in 1928. New Zealand, India and Pakistan all had to wait until the 1970s to be taken seriously. Sri Lanka, elevated in the early 1980s took until the latter 1990s to be gain serious respect. Internal politics destroyed any chance Zimbabwe had of success at the top table, while Bangladesh’s elevation was badly mishandled, and their position is routinely questioned. Afghanistan won their second ever test match, the most successful start by a test-playing nation since 1877, when Australia and England each one match. Ireland were defeated but not disgraced in that game, and we will see how they fare against England in their next test match, although they were elevated about five years too late for the move to work to best effect. 

I am in favour of new countries being elevated when they are actually ready, and think that Afghanistan’s elevation has been a success. I do not think Nepal are yet ready, on the strength of one splendid cricketer, for elevation, but I hope to see it happen eventually, assuming they continue to make progress. It is now time to look at that one fine player they already have…

SANDEEP LAMICHHANE

He is an 18 year-old legspinner and has yet to play any long-form cricket. His records for the cricket he has played are as follows:

6 ODIs, 15 wickets at 14.80 (4-24 best) , 4o runs at 10.00, 5 T20Is, 5 wickets at 24.40, 6 runs, with as yet no average, 27 List A games, 57 wickets at 17.08 (5-20 best), 40 T20 games, 50 wickets at 20.00 (best 4-10). A lot of his T20s have been played in the IPL among the big names.

If any county who do not have a legspinner of their own are bold enough to sign him as an overseas player I will applaud them for their courage – I believe that given the opportunity he would fare well in the longer game, as well in the limited overs stuff where he has already shown himself to be a fine performer. One of the reasons why Bangladesh found test cricket such a struggle when they were elevated is that their players started playing that form of the game with no background in long form cricket, and one should learn from mistakes – unless and until some Nepalese cricketers have experience of long form cricket they should not be elevated. 

If Nepal do get elevated to test status both they and their star leg-spinner Lamichhane will have my good wishes, but unless their players have some long form experience before that happens I do not believe that it can be successful.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS

I have several things to share before we come to my usual sign off, starting with some stuff about the first image of a Black Hole and links to related articles:

I hope that Ms Bouman gets the credit (including a Nobel Prize for physics) that this achievement warrants. Here are links to some good articles about this:

Next comes a piece from The Independent titled “Prehistoric autism helped produce much of the world’s earliest great art, study says” – picture link below:

Cave painting of lions drawn on the walls of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave in the south of France. It was painted about 30,000 years ago

To lead into today’s photos I revisit yesterday’s featured image:

I have done some digging of my own to locate the species and there are two possibilities – it is either a Small White or a Wood White (see pictures from butterfly-conservation.org and decide for yourselves which looks closer):

Small White (underwing) by Jim Asher
Small White (click here for more information)
Wood White (male & female) by Peter Eeles
Wood White (click here for more information)

Now for today’s pictures…

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UPDATES ON THE “FIVE TO FOLLOW”

Since I wrote about what was happening in the County Championship matches, the following has happened in games involving my “Five to Follow”:

Nottinghamshire v SomersetNottinghamshire 263 all out
Three of the five are playing in this match. Joe Clarke failed with the bat this time around, but Lewis Gregory took 5-68. George Bartlett’s offspin was unsurprisingly not utilised, but he will bat at some stage.

Durham v SussexDurham 122-5
The other two of my “Five to Follow” are involved in this match. Liam Trevaskis, the outsider of the bunch, is currently batting with Ned Eckersley, more good news for those opposed to Durham’s choice of captain being that that unworthy has been sent on his way for 33, and is on 9 not out. Philip Salt, the other in my “Five to Follow”  has yet to be involved, but may well be in action with the bat before the end of today, and I would be surprised if tomorrow morning does not see him at the crease. 

 

 

100 Cricketers – Ninth XI Fast Bowlers

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the fast bowlers from the ninth XI, some thoughts on the Wisden Five Cricketers of the Year and of course some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the fast bowlers from the ninth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, the post which introduces the ninth XI can be found here and the most recent post in the series is here. Before getting to the main meat of the post today saw the announcement of…

THE FIVE CRICKETERS OF THE YEAR

No one can feature in this list more than once, which has to be borne in mind when considering those who got the nod this year, revealed in this tweet from Test Match Special:

Rory Burns scored huge numbers of runs for Surrey in a season that saw that county win the championship, Sam Curran burst on the scene for England with a cracking series against India, Jos Buttler has been superb in white ball cricket and has has his momets in test matches and the only surprise about Virat Kohli is that he has not already had the honour.  Tammy Beaumont (see this post for more about her) is also thoroughly deserving, having had a fine year at the top of the order for the England Women. All in all therefore I think these are good selections and that Wisden has done itself proud. Now on to the main business of this post, those…

FAST BOWLERS

This XI has the most unorthodox bowling attack of the nine, featuring only two front line quick bowlers and three wrist spinners. However, my three wrist spinners are all quite different in style and approach, and the two quicks bowl with different hands. We will start with the right-armer…

IAN BISHOP

His career was wrecked by injuries, but nevertheless 43 test matches saw him take 161 wickets at 24.27. When he first emerged on the scene it seemed likely that he would keep the great West Indian tradition of fast bowling going into another generation, but his injury problems prevented that from happening. After his playing days finished he became one of the better commentators on the game.

MITCHELL JOHNSON

73 test matches brought him 313 wickets at 28.40 and 2,065 runs at 22.20 but these figures tell only part of the story because there were at least two Mitchell Johnsons. In the 2009 Ashes in England, and with the exception of Perth in the 2010-11 Ashes down under he was an embarrassment, leaking runs at 4.5 an over and rarely looking threatening. At Sydney walking out to play his final innings of that series he got what must be the most hostile reception anyone has ever had from what was supposedly a home crowd (in truth most of the Aussies had deserted by then, leaving the Barmy Army to enjoy their final triumph, so it was principally an English crowd).

In the 2013-14 Ashes, having missed the 2013 series which England won 3-0, he spearheaded 5-0 whitewas, capturing 37 wickets as he found accuracy to go with his huge pace. He had the lower half of the England order feather-legged in that series, exemplified by the end of the final England innings of the series when Kevin Pietersen blocked out an over of his in a way that said as clearly as if he had uttered the words “don’t worry about this guy, I will deal with him” and two wickets were promptly surrendered to the workaday spinner bowling at the other end.

I saw him in the Australia v West Indies match at Adelaide that I have mentioned previously on this blog, and he was outdone for sheer pace on that occasion by Kemar Roach of the West Indies, though he definitely looked more impressive than either Peter Siddle or Doug Bollinger

Mitchell Johnson was a cricketer of extremes, and when the force was with him he achieved things to make him famous for as long as the game of cricket is played and to earn him his place in one of my XIs.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I sign off in my usual fashion…

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I was pleased to spot this butterfly while walking round the grassy area outside my bungalow this morning.

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I made two attempts to capture this helicopter on camera this afternoon…
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…and succeeded twice.

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The Ninth XI – Two Unlucky County Stalwarts

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring two county stalwarts who I considewr unlucky not have had higher honours, Tony Cottey and Colin Metson. Also features some thoughts on the first round of county championship matches of 2019 including a “Five to Follow” feature that I shall be revisiting.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. In the spotlight today are two of my most controversial selections. Before getting into the main meat of the “100 cricketers” part of the post I am going to look back briefly at the first round of County Championship matches in the 2019 season. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the ninth XI here and the most recent post in the series here.

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND ONE RETROSPECTIVE

Six matches were played, four had definite reults and two were drawn (see yesterday’s post for more details). Here I am going to pick out what I consider points of interest from each game and pick out five players who I shall be looking out for through the season.

  • Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire – Nottinghamshire 408 and 329-5 declared, Yorkshire 291 and 277-2, match drawn
    The second innings batting efforts of Root and Ballance for Yorkshire notwithstanding this match was dominated by the performance of Nottinghamshire’s Joe Clarke (112 and 97 not out). In the end the pitch won this contest comfortably, but Nottinghamshire were right to give themselves a whole day to attempt to bowl Yorkshire out a second time, even though Clarke was close to his second hundred of the match – the team counts for more than the individual. Neither of these sides impressed me overall, and with Joe Clarke clearly a probably for England selection in the near future Nottinghamshire in particular are likely to find this season a long, tough one.
  • Somerset v Kent – Somerset 171 and 243 beat Kent 209 and 131 by 74 runs
    Listening to the commentary on the closing stages of this match was a privelege and pleasure – the tension was palpable as Somerset pushed for victory and Kent did their best to resist. The first day was lost to the weather, and Kent had the better of both the next two days. 21 year old George Bartlett, helped by veteran Jack Brooks in a substantial last wicket stand gave Somerset something to defend on the final morning, and Lewis Gregory did most of the rest. It is great news for Somerset that they are off to a winning start, and the fact that they have never won the champtionship inclines me as a natural supporter of the underdog to root for them somewhat, but they will need runs from the top order if they are to maintain their good start – the middle and lower order cannot rescue you every time. Kent seem likely to struggle – facing a target of 206 in this match they responded to being under serious pressure for the first time in the contest by slumping to 48-6 from which position it was only a matter of time.
  • Hampshire v EssexHampshire 525-8 declared beat Essex 164 and 274 by an innings and 88 runs.
    An injury prevented Adam Wheater from batting in either innings for Essex, but this cannot be dressed up as anything other than a thorough thrashing for them. Sam Northeast had the star performance of the game with 169 in the Hampshire innings. West Indian Fidel Edwards and South African Kolpak player Kyle Abbott bowled well for Hampshire. Hampshire seem likely to fare well, while Essex along with Nottinghamshire and Kent seem booked for a struggle to avoid relegation.
  • Sussex v LeicestershireLeicestershire 252 and 232-3 beat Sussex 173 and 308 by 7 wickets
    Full credit to Leicestershire for what was in the end a comfortable win. The feature performance of the game came from young Sussex opener Philip Salt who made 80 in his team’s second innings. Neither of these teams showed enough for me to venture predictions regarding their promotion chances, although Leicestershire having got away to a winning start have more to be happy about than Sussex.
  • Northamptonshire v  Middlesex – Northants 445 and 10-0, Middlesex 271 and 317-4 declared – match drawn
    Northants did the right thing enforcing the follow-on and attempting to squeeze out a victory, but Middlesex got themselves out of trouble, largely thanks to their captain Dawid Malan (160 not out). All the evidence from this match suggests that these sides have batting aplenty but lack strength in bowling, and that is likely to mean a tough season – by and large to win a first class match you need to capture 20 wickets.
  • Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 334 beat Durham 171 and 235 by 125 runs.
    A comfortable win for Derbyshire, and good news for those of us (including me) who think that Durham’s decision to give the captaincy to Cameron Bancroft of ‘sandpapergate’ infamy was an appalling one. Until and unless Durham repent and find someone else to captain I for one will be rooting for their opponents every time. I expect as well as hope that this will be a difficult season for Durham, while Derbyshire may yet do well. Now it is time for…

FIVE TO FOLLOW

Most of my five nominations are speculative in nature, in some cases very speculative, and I go through them from least to most speculative. 

  • Joe Clarke (Nottinghamshire) – I will be very surprised if he is not an England player before the end of this season. At the moment his record stands at 4,174 first class runs at 40.92, with 14 centuries and that 97 not out in the second innings in 112 visits to the crease, and he is still only 22. He was obviously a class apart from any of his team mates in the match against Yorkshire. 
  • Lewis Gregory (Somerset) – There will soon be vacancies for pace bowlers in the England team, and the 26 year-old has 217 first-class wickets at 27.31 from his 75 matches, with a best of 6-47. He is also not the worst lower order batter, with an average of 20.57. After his team dug themselves out of a big hole against Kent he bowled thgem to victory with 5-18. 
  • Philip Salt (Sussex) – The 22 year-old had a couple of headline making innings last year, and has 80 against Leicestershire in the first match of this season may well have impressed some in high places. I would like to see him score a few more centuries before he is seriously considered, but England do have problems at the top of their order at the moment, which can only be good news for a youngster who is scoring runs up top at present. I do not expect him feature at international level this season, but a really strong showing might earn him a winter tour spot, and would be surprised if he does not play for England somewhere along the line.
  • George Bartlett (Somerset) – He holds the record innings score for an England under 19 player abroad with 179. He is now 21, and started this season in a match that he had not expected to be playing in by scoring a crucial 63 to help give his side something to bowl at, and it proved to be enough. His off-spin has hardly been used in first-class cricket, but he may possibly develop it in time. He needs an extended run in the first team and some big scores to be seriously considered for England, but the way he responded to his team being put under severe pressure in the match against Kent augurs well for the future – he clearly has the right temperament.
  • Liam Trevaskis (Durham) – This one is a complete flyer on my part, picked with eyes focussed fully on the future. The 19 year old slow left-armer played just his second first class match against Derbyshire, had match figures of 1-59 and contributed 42 runs for once out in a losing cause. April is not usually a kind month to spinners of any kind, so even one wicket represents an achievement, and his second innings 27 not out, when most of his team mates surrendered tamely showed character as well. I will be in the sort of position Neville Cardus found himself in about Victor Trumper – Cardus used to pray that Trumper would score a century in an Australian total of 137 all out! I fo not pray being an atheist, but will be hoping that Trevaskis gets among the wickets and runs but that his team Durham get beaten.

Now on to the “100 cricketers” part of this post, starting with…

TONY COTTEY

277 first class appearances brought him 14,567 runs at 36.69, with 31 centuries and a best score of 203. I saw him live when Glamorgan took on Somerset at the St Helens Ground in Swansea in 1995 (for the record I was sitting at the town end of the ground, looking straight down the wicket towards to sea). Glamorgan were three down for about 80 when he came out to bat, and could have found themselves in trouble on what was a decent pitch. Cottey, with his team needing runs, reached a century in almost exactly three hours, being out for 115 in just under 200 minutes. It was a superb innings, and the only chance he offered was the one that was finally taken to end it. Glamorgan reached just over 300. Somerset headed this, but not by a signifcant amount, as Andy Hayhurst snailed his way to 96 in almost six hours on the second day, and the second top score came from Peter Bowler (73), not exactly known for entertainment value either. Somerset paid for their slow scoring on day 2, when Robert Croft spun through them in their second innings on day 4 (6-78 in the innings). The performance that made it all possible for Glamorgan though was Cottey’s on the first day when he took the match by the scruff of the neck with that innings – from that time on Glamorgan were right in the game. 

Given some of the people who did get selected for England in the 1990s and given England’s record at that time (which varied between poor and downright dreadful depending on the year) I feel that Tony Cottey, a battler who tended to score his runs, as on the occasion I have mentioned, when they were most needed, was unlucky to miss out, and I had no hesitation in naming him in my 100 cricketers.

+COLIN METSON

232 first class matches yielded him 4,,032 runs at 17.43 with a best score of 96 and saw him take 561 catches and effect 51 stumpings. He was at his best just as selectors were starting to look first and foremost and what keepers did with the bat and put their keeping skills in second place. Although he was undeniably a modest practitioner with the bat Metson did tend to score such runs as he made when they were most needed (earlier in the 1995 season mentioned above it was he, together with left-arm slow bowler Neil Kendrick, who rescued Glamorgan from 140-8 on a green top against Sussex, getting them up to 212, which was sufficient for a first innings lead, although the game ended up a draw due to the weather). As a keeper he was excellent, making very few if any mistakes. Most of the wicketkeepers I have named in the course of this series of posts have been genuinely front line batters as well, but I wanted to feature a specialist keeper as well, and my thoughts turned naturally to the perenially unlucky Colin Metson, who saw a succession of inferior practitioners selected on the basis of supposed batting skills that most of them failed to deliver on at the highest level.

LOOKING AHEAD

I have three more posts lined up for ninth XI and a stand alone post to complete the hundred (have a guess if you dare at who will feature in that one), in which I will also publish the entire list in one place – that last post will tie the whole series together. I will then have to decide on a new project for this blog to replace the “100 cricketers” series. The “Five to Follow” named in this post will feature again through the cricket season as I look at their performances. That leaves me one more thing to complete this post…

PHOTOGRAPHS

Yes, we are at the end of another post, and for those who have made it all the way, here is my usual sign off…

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100 Cricketers – The Ninth XI Three Main Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring updates from the County Championship and of course some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest piece in my “100 cricketers” series, in which we look at the three big name batters from the ninth XI. The introductory post to the series can be found here, and the most recent post in which the ninth XI is introduced is here. Before getting to the main body of the piece, it is time for a…

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATE

Two of the six county championship matches have been settled and a third is on the cusp of producing a result. 

  • Sussex v LeicestershireLeics 232 and 252-3 beat Sussex 212 and 308 by seven wickets
    Paul Horton, Hasan Azad and veteran Aussie Mark Cosgrove all made runs as Leicesterhsire ended up making light work of what had looked like being a fairly tough run chase. The feature of this match was the 80 made by Philip Salt in the Sussex second innings – if he can go on to a few centuries in the near future the England selectors may just take note.
  • Hampshire v Essex – Hamsphire 525-8 declared beat Essex 164 and 274 by an innings and 87 runs.
    A century by veteran Ravi Bopara kept this game going longer than some expected, but Hampshire had been in control most of the way, and once they got through Bopara the rest came quickly, with Adam Wheater absent hurt for the second time for the match. South African Kolpak signing Kyle Abbott took five wickets for Hampshire, to back Fidel Edwards who had done likewise in the first Essex innings.
  • Derbyshire v Durham – Derbyshire 197 and 334, Durham 171 and 207-8
    Many will be glad that Durham seem to be headed for defeat in their first match after they chose to award the captaincy of their side to a proven cheat in Cameron Bancroft. 
  • Somerset v Kent Somerset 171 and 243 beat Kent 209 and 131 by 74 runs
    This result is just in, and it did not look likely this morning, but a last wicket stand between 21 year-old George Bartlett (63) and Jack Brooks (35) gave Somerset something to bowl, Lewis Gregory ripped out three quick wickets before lunch (he went on to finish with 5-18) and Kent never looked like getting to the target. This match turned on the morning session of today, with Kent having had the better of the previous play by far. I commented on this post on Toby’s Sporting Views that if Somerset could eke out a further 50 this morning they would give themselves a chance, they actually managed 70, and ended up winning comfortably.
  • Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire Nottinghamshire 408 and 329-5D, Yorkshire 291 and 181-2
    This one looks set to end in a draw (although a dramatic Yorkshire collapse remains possible). Nottinghamshire’s overnight declaration with Joe Clarke 97 not out, following his first innings 112 provided an early talking point. My view, expressed on this site yesterday and on twitter this morning is that Notts were right to give themselves a full day in which to bowl the Yorkies out a second time – the needs of the team have to come first. Joe Root is currently 87 not out for Yorkshire and Gary Ballance is 52 not out.
  •  Northamptonshire v MiddlesexNorthants 445, Middlesex 271 and 294-4
    This one looks like petering out as well. Full credit to Middlesex captain Dawid Malan who is 151 not out in their second innings, and would appear to have saved his side. 

It is now time for the main part of this post, starting with…

ANDREW STRAUSS

112 and 83 on test debut, centuries on his debuts against two further countries (and he nearly made four), a Compton-Miller Medal winning performance in the 2009 Ashes and captaining England to Ashes success down under in 2010-11. Exactly 100 test match appearances brought him 7,037 test runs at 40.91. 

STEPHEN FLEMING

111 test matches yielded him 7,172 runs at 40.06, he also scored 8,037 ODI runs at 32.40. In addition to his attacking batting he was a fine captain of New Zealand. He is a worthy captain of this XI.

MARTIN CROWE

77 test matches yielded him 5,444 runs at 45.36, with a highest score of 299, made against Sri Lanka when New Zealand were initially in a lot of trouble. He was one of the finest batters ever to come out of New Zealand, although the likes of Stewart Dempster (average 65.72 in his very brief test career), Bert Sutcliffe (holder of the two highest first class scores by New Zealanders – 385 and 355, the 385 coming out of an innings total of 500, while his opponents, Canterbury,  managed 382 off the bat in their two innings combined) and Glenn Turner (the only Kiwi to have scored 100 first class hundreds) would all have their advocates. His first test century came against England in 1983-4 and helped to save his side after they had been over 200 adrift on first innings. 

HOT OFF THE PRESS – DERBYSHIRE SECURE VICTORY OVER DURHAM

I mentioned in my county championship update section that Derbyshire were closing on victory over Durham. They have now completed the job, the result being:

Derbyshire 197 and 334 beat Durham 171 and 235 by 125 runs
Openers Harte and Lees made half centuries, but apart from them only Burnham (32) and Trevaskis, the 19 year-old slow left-armer (27 not out) who I have marked as one to watch offered any significant resistance as the wickets were shared round. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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