A look at today’s cricket action and a lot of photographs.
Today’s ODI between England and Pakistan is just past the half way stage. There are also fixtures under way in the county championship. This post looks at all the action.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
First the ODI:
England v Pakistan at Bristol – Pakistan 358-9 from 50 overs, Eng 46-0 after 7 overs.
Pakistan have put up a good total, but not one that is by any means out of England’s reach.Imam-ul-Haqwith 151 was the principal contributor. Chris Woakes took 4-67, a superb performance in the circumstances. I reckon England will chase these down.
With the close of play approaching on day 1 this is what is happening in the County Championship:
Essex v Nottinghamshire – Nottinghamshire 187, Essex 35-0.
This is looking good for Essex. Forties from Ben Slater and Joe Clarke were the only notable batting efforts for Nottinghamshire. Jamie Portertook 4-75 for Essex, while Simon Harmer had 2-20 from 17 overs, an extraordinarily economical performance for a spinner on day 1.
Kent v Yorkshire – Yorkshire 210 all out, Kent 114-4. Yorkshire were 96-6 at one point, but a lower-order fightback got them to respectability, and they have then bowled well. No Yorkshire batter topped 30 – Brook and Tattersall with 29 each were top scorers. Milnes took three wickets and Podmore two. Zak Crawley is going well for Kent, having passed 50. Tim Bresnan has taken two wickets for Yorkshire.
Somerset v Surrey – Surrey 325-6. Centuries from Rory Burns and Dean Elgar saw Surrey dominate most of the day, but late wickets for Somerset have brought them back into things. Lewis Gregorywith 3-44 has been by far the most successful bowler for Somerset.
I select an England squad from players I have witnessed and a true all-time England squad.
This is the start of a new series which will appear on this blog periodically in between posts about other things. I will pick two squads in each of these posts – one restricted to players whose performances I have witnessed live and one true all-time squad, using my considerable knowledge of cricket history. I will also be including a few other things after the main body of the post. We will being the main part of the post with…
ENGLAND SQUAD FROM PLAYERS I HAVE WITNESSED LIVE
To begin with we need an opening pair. I refuse to consider those who went on the two English rebel tours to South Africa. The serious contenders left are:
Mike Atherton – 7,.728 runs at 37.69 from 115 test matches. A fine record, though that average was reduced by his encounters with Glenn McGrath who seriously had the wood on him.
Alec Stewart – 8,463 test runs at 39.54 from 133 test matches. These already impressive figures conceal the fact that Stewart the specialist batter (the role in which I would be using him) averaged 47, while Stewart the keeper averaged 34.
Marcus Trescothick – 76 test matches produced 5,825 runs at 43.79. An attack-minded left hander, Trescothick hit the ground running at Test level with 66 against the West Indies on debut, and until mental health issues caused his premature retirement from international cricket he went from strength to strength.
Andrew Strauss– 100 test matches, 7,037 runs at 40.91. An consistent opener who did even better as captain than he did in the ranks.
Alastair Cook – England’s all time leading test run scorer, with 12,472 at 45.35, he started his test career with a fifty and a century against India and ended it 12 years later with a fifty and a century against India.
Of these five I can accommodate three in my squad (an opening pair and a reserve opener), and my choice, with due respect to Messrs Atherton and Trescothick is to go for Alastair Cook and Alec Stewart (mainly defensive left hander and more attacking right hander) as my first choice opening pair and Strauss as the reserve opener. It is a close call between Strauss and Trescothick, but Strauss’ captaincy experience gives him an edge.
My designated number three bat and captain is Michael Vaughan. Number three has traditonally been a problem position for England, but Vaughan was magnificent there – his only rival in my lifetime is Jonathan Trott, but since I want Vaughan as captain he gets the nod. When it comes to picking three middle-order batters there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from. There are two left-handers, David Gowerand Graham Thorpe and a phalanx of right-handers including Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root and Paul Collingwood who all did fine things at test level. I can only select three, two to be in the first XI and one as cover, and my choices are Joe Root, David Gower and Kevin Pietersen.
With all due respect to Andrew Flintoffand Ben Stokes who have both had great achievements at the highest level there is only one candidate for the allrounders role in my view and that is Ian Botham.
There are four potential candidates for the wicketkeepers slot, of whom I need to select two since I do not intend using Stewart in that role. My four candidates are:
Jack Russell – a magnificent keeper, but his test batting average of 27.10 was a little on the low side.
Matt Prior – there was never a question about his batting skills, but his keeping took a while to develop, though he became very good indeed.
Jonny Bairstow – A fine attacking batter and a good keeper, but rarely able to combine the two at test level
Ben Foakes– A magnificent keeper and averaging over 40 in his brief test career so far.
It will be considered controversial in some circles to give the nod to someone still in the early stages of their career, but my choices are Ben Foakes as first choice keeper and Matt Prior as reserve.
Andrew Strauss (reserve opener)
The likely first XI, assuming a pitch that does not favour any particular type of bowling would be: Stewart, Cook, *Vaughan, Root, Gower, +Foakes, Botham, Swann, Broad, Anderson and Harmison, with Kevin Pietersen just missing the final cut in favour of Root (Gower’s lefthandedness works to his advantage).
THE ALL TIME SQUAD
For this one I start with the greatest of all opening pairs, Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe. In addition to being one half of the greatest of all opening pairs Herbert Sutcliffe’s averages suggest, as does everything ever written about him, a big match temperament par excellence – 52.02 in first class cricket, 60.73 in all test cricket and in the cauldron of The Ashes, 66.85. As reserve opener I select W G Grace, reckoning that his test batting average (32.29) was reduced both by the pitches he played on and the fact that he was already 32 when he played his first test match in 1880, and his career at that level lasted until within a couple of months of his 51st birthday. My remaining choices for batting slots are Joe Root (captain), Denis Compton, Walter Hammond and Frank Woolley (the latter two more than handy bowlers as well as great fielders, and Woolley a left-hander). For the wicketkeepers I opt for Les Ames as first choice and Ben Foakes as reserve. Ian Botham retains his place as designated all-rounder. For the bowlers I retain Anderson, and augment his presence with Fred Trueman, Syd Barnes (189 wickets at 16.43 from just 27 matches) and George Lohmann (112 wickets in 18 test matches at an eye-popping 10.75). My two players selected as spinners are Hedley Verity (slow-left arm) and Jim Laker (off-spin).
Thus my squad list reads:
W G Grace (reserve opener)
*Joe Root Walter Hammond
The first XI in batting order, assuming the pitch does not justify either two specialist spinners or an all-seam attack is: Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Compton, *Root, Woolley, +Ames, Botham, Lohmann, Laker, Trueman and Barnes. I select Laker ahead of Verity as the lone specialist spinner because Woolley was a good enough slow-left armer to have taken 10 wickets in a test match and Compton could bowl slow left-arm wrist spin.
A BIT OF NEWS
Today as part of my continuing recovery from cancer I attended a physio session at Tapping House, and it went very well. I handled all four of the exercises I did today reasonably well, and my breathing behaved itself. It is a nice small group, and the setting is good.
Continuing my “100 cricketers series, with a look at nos 6 and 7 from my third XI. Also features some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 Cricketers” series. The introduction to the series can be found here, and the most recent post can be found here. Before I get into the main meat of this post, as it is cricket themed I will briefly mention…
AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND
The inaugural test match between these two newly elevated nations is taking place in Delhi at the moment. After one day’s play Afghanistan are 90-2 in reply to Ireland’s 172 all out. At one stage it looked like being a lot worse for Ireland – they were 69-8 at one point and then 85-9 before George Dockrell and Tim Murtagh performed a rescue act, the latter top scoring with 54 not out from number 11. Whatever happens over the next four days one of these sides will make the best start to their test match involvement since 1877 when the first two test sides, England and Australia each one won match – each have only played once before, so the winner will record a success in their second outing. Now onto business, with the man at no 6 in my third XI…
Normally I would have an all-rounder at no 6, but Steve Waugh can hardly be so described, even though when he first got the call-up in the mid 1980s he was seen as a bowling all-rounder. He seemed to positively relish difficult situations, such as the occasion at Manchester when 21 players failed to achieve anything of significance with the bat due to a difficult pitch and perpetually overcast conditions, while he chiselled out a century in each innings to win the game for his side.
He really arrived as a test match player in the 1989 series in England when he made big hundreds in the first match at Headingley and the second at Lord’s, both times being supported by lower order batters who were inspired to play above their usual station (Merv Hugheswith 71 at Headingley, Geoff Lawson with 74 at Lord’s), and scored over 350 runs before being dismissed for the first time in the series.
Time again through the 1990s and in to the early 2000s Australia would look be struggling and then Steve Waugh would come to the crease, and right when it was most needed would make sure he was still there at close of play, with Australia firmly back in control. Teams often tested him with bouncers because he rarely played the hook and often looked less than comfortable against short stuff, but I cannot recall him ever losing his wicket to it.
He was the third in the sequence of long-serving Aussie captains that started with Allan Border and ended with Ricky Ponting. Earlier in this series when I covered BorderI rated him the best captain of the four, based on the fact that he turned the fortunes of Australian cricket around when they had been in the doldrums. Steve Waugh, who made a team of champions even stronger, so that they became as near as any team in history to be absolutely unstoppable is for me number two in that ranking, with Mark Taylor a respectful distance back in third and Ponting a poor fourth.
Teams were just starting to take seriously the need for wicketkeepers to have potential as runmakers when Dujon came on the scene. Alan Knott’sEngland career was just coming to a finish, and many matches therein had been influences by his ability to contribute runs from the lower middle order, and England were frantically looking for a replacement (it would take the emergence of Matt Prior some quarter of a century later before they found someone who was good enough in both departments, since when there have also been Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes). Other countries also started requiring regular runs from their wicketkeepers.
Dujon scored four test centuries, averaged over 30 when that was unusual for a wicketkeeper (and generally made his runs when they were badly needed) and was an excellent keeper standing back to the fast bowlers. There is no way of knowing how we would have handled keeping to top class spinners, as the only person picked as a front-line spinner by the West Indies during his time as keeper was Roger Harper (who was also a fine middle-order batter and one of the greatest fielders the game had ever seen), but the fact that I have named in this XI rather than holding him back for the XI featuring a quartet of West Indies quicks tells you what I think – he would have been as good keeping to spinners as he was keeping to quicks.
NEXT IN THIS SERIES
We cover the bowlers from this Third XI and introduce the Fourth XI in batting order.
Welcome to the next post in my somewhat spread out series about my holiday in Greece. This post follows on from my post about Nestor’s Palace, in which you can find links to all my previous posts about this holiday. Unlike my previous posts in this series this one covers events from two different days, the Monday and the Thursday.
MONDAY: KARDAMILI AND TRACHILA
There were a few things to be done in Kardamili, including finding some sandals for me, and we decided havuing finished there to make the journey to Trachila, which is at the end of one of the roads beyond the resort town of Stoupa (the other, the main road, goes up into the mountains to Areopoli and then on into the inner Mani and down to very southern tip of mainland Greece). This was a pretty journey, and Trachila itself is very pleasant.
THURSDAY: STOUPA & AGIOS NIKOLAOS
On Thursday morning my mother was going to Stoupa for a “Stitch ‘n’ Bitch” session at Patriko’s, while I made use of their internet connection. Then we were going to walk along the sea-front to the village of Agios Nikolaos, have a light lunch at an establishment there that my parents knew, and then walk back to Stoupa before heading back to Tseria. This was deliberately a day on which we did not go on any major journeys as major excursions were happening on Wednesday and Friday.
An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.
I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:
FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT
I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.
Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:
From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…
…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…
From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut.
AT THE SCOUT HUT
Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction).
Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…
THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL
They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.
Now we turn out attention to…
THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES
The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.
That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…
IN THE BACK GARDEN
There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…
THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post.
We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…
THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST
There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:
The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…
There was also a story teller outside…
To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:
I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:
CindyKnoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.
This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.
A personal account of the wedding party for Rob and Olivia Yates, with lots of quality pics. Also, some important links at the end.
I will start with a word of warning: this is going to be a very long post, as there is a lot to talk about and I have some fabulous pictures to share with you. Olivia Croft (now Yates) is a cousin of mine, which is why I was there.
Needing to arrive at Kegworth early enough for those who would be at the ceremony itself to travel on to Loughborough and arrive by 12 meant an early start. I was not at the ceremony and was assigned another task along with my nephew Zachary, which I have already written about in a previous post. After a schemozzle over room bookings, which worked out to my benefit since I ended up with a room to myself (they had messed up, so we got the extra room we needed at no further cost) it was time to deposit our bags in the rooms and make the short walk to the house where the party was taking place, next door to the Kegworth museum.
Arriving at the venue the first arresting sight was a 1950s vintage Morris…
This is the time, before going on to the party itself to introduce my feature image, a montage of some of the many pictures I took through the day…
There was a Pimm’s table for those whose tastes run in that direction, although I ignored that and was then delighted to located cask beer (four kegs, each different). I went for something called Blue Monkey Infinity and it was delicious. There was a barbecue lunch which was excellent. It is now time for a brief diversion to…
THE FISH POND
The fish pond was quite simply magnificent, with a stunning variety of fish and an excellent rock garden…
PUNCH AND JUDY
At 4PM there was a Punch and Judy puppet show. I watched it all and got some good pictures. It seemed to appeal to its target audience, the children, but I was unimpressed to say the least…
Early on in the day there was some live music outside in the sun, and helped to be the volume not being too ridiculously amped up it was actually quite pleasant from a distance…
The speeches took place in the same area as the Punch and Judy, and with the exception of the opening salvo from Andy, the bride’s stepfather, none were particularly impressive…
AN INTERLUDE – SOME GENERAL PICS
Before going on to mention the supper and my own departure from the event here are some pictures taken at various times through the day that don’t fit neatly into a particular section…
SUPPER AND TAKING MY LEAVE
Supper was fish (or sausage in my case) and chips, and it was delicious (give what my uncle had apparently paid for the hire of the chip van for the evening so it jolly well ought to have been). While I was eating it in the shelter of the marquee, the evening’s entertainment were warming up, and that was sufficient to persuade me that as it was no longer suitable weather for being outside it was time to return, since there was no way I could cope with that kind of music at that volume and accompanied by strobe lighting at close quarters.
I had a fabulous day, and by departing early was able to keep the good memories untarnished. This concludes the main part of this post, but I also have some…