I followed the paths onward from the Monet inspired bridge, taking a few detours along the way, until I arrived back near the entrance. I had brought food and water with me, and I consumed them at this point, and finished my book while waiting for the next stage of the day, the ride on the Pensthorpe Explorer.
The same question/challenge that I introduced yesterday’s photo section with applies today…
Continuing my account of my recent holiday in the channel islands with a special post dedicated to the birds of Alderney.
I continue my account of my recent visit to the channel islands with a special post dedicated to the birds of Alderney (the island is justly famed for its bird life).
It was too early in the year for boat trips to be running to the island of Burhou, just off the coast of Alderney to the north, and home to puffins (it has no human residents at all), and Wednesday took so much out of me that on the Thursday I was unable to face to fairly steep and fairly rough path that would have started the walk towards a point from which I could view the gannet colony. Here a few maps…
THE BIRDS I DID SEE
Although I missed two great ornithological sites for different reasons, I still saw a fine range of birds during my few days on Alderney…
I end this little post with a view of Fort Clonque:
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the opening batters from the eighth XI.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. In this post the spotlight is on the openers from the eighth XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the previous post in the series in whicb I introduced the eighth XI is here.
A GREAT OPENING PAIR
As with the my seventh XI, with Greenidge and Haynes, this XI features an opening pair who batted together in real life, and did mighty well as a combination. They had one poor series, the 2005 Ashes, which Australia ended up losing. In the 2001, 2002-3 and 2006-7 Ashes, all featuring this opening pair and won by Australia, the Aussies rarely started an innings badly. The 2010-11 Ashes saw Australia regularly losing the first wicket early, and with Pontingat 3 and Clarke at 4 also having shocking series with the bat a series of inadeqaute totals resulted, and England not only won the series, but on three occasions out of five they won matches in they had to bat only once. England’s own inconsistency in the test arena recently stems from not getting enough runs at the top of the order – since Strauss’ retirement England have not had a reliable opening combination, and the more recent retirement of Cook has opened another big hole at the top of the order. The second postin this series contains a radical solution of mine to this problem, meanwhile with a new county championship season under way tomorrow it would be particularly good timing were a young opener or two to hit their straps right from the start. Now on to the players themselves, starting with…
The tall, dominating left hander scored 8,625 test runs at 50.73. At Brisbane at the start of the 2002-3 series Nasser Hussain won the toss and put Australia in. By the end of day 1 they were 364-2, Matthew Hayden 197 (he would score another century in the second innings after Ponting declined to enforce the follow on), the match and series were both as good as gone. In between Brian Lara’s two efforts he held the individual scoring record for a period with an innings of 380 against Zimbabwe at the WACA. His one blip came in the first four matches of the 2005 Ashes (he made 138 at The Oval in the fifth match, but with Australia needing to win, and therefore by all logic to spend as much time out in the middle as possible, he was twice party to the team going off for bad light (by the rules of the day the batters had to be asked if they wanted to go off). The match ended in the draw the allowed England to regain The Ashes (I fully expect that the Ashes series later this summer will likewise end with England winning, though it will probably be settled before the final game).
A left-hander like his opening partner, but much shorter in stature, though no less aggressive in approach in his own way. He scored 7,696 test runs at 45.27, witrh 23 centuries and a best of 250 against England at the MCG. Like Hayden he struggled for most of the 2005 Ashes before making a century in the final match. He played in the county championship for Middlesex and Somerset, which helped him to reach 86 first class hundreds. With this pair to get the innings underway for them my eighth XI will usually have a good base for the middle order, featured in the next post in this series to build on.
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.
A continuation of my “100 cricketers series”, with links to three important petitions – if you are able please sign and share them.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, in which I deal with the remaining specialist batters from my second XI. My most recent post in the series dealt with the all-rounders so as to tie in with International Women’s Day. After the cricket part of the post there will be some photographs, and then some links to petitions that I am suffiiciently concerned about to share on this blog. The next post in this series will feature the bowlers from second XI and introduce the third XI in batting order.
I first saw Sachin Tendulkar as a teenager in the 1990 series in England, in the course of which he racked up a century. He also took an amazing catch in that series, making a lot of ground before holding on to the chance.
His amazing subsequent career is well documented. The greatest batter in the history of cricket, Sir Donald Bradman, publicly rated Tendulkar as being, along with Brian Lara, the best of the moderns, and also noted similarities between himself and Tendulkar, his attention having been drawn to them by Lady Bradman, while they were watching him on television.
At the moment Tendulkar is the only person to have scored 100 international hundreds. As a a testament to his longevity he also stands alone in having played 200 test matches. 463 ODI appearances and a T20 in addition mean that approximately four years of his life have been spent in international cricket action.
Although cross-era comparisons are generally invidious (Bradman’s colossal – 40 runs per innings – margin of superiority over the rest making him an exception) I feel sure that Tendulkar would have had had an outstanding record whatever era he had been born into and whichever kind of bowling he had had encountered.
An outstanding captain of Australia over many years, and a great left-handed batter whose career had two distinct portions.
For the first decade of his long international career Australia were a struggling outfit. He started in the 1978-9 Ashes series, won 5-1 by Mike Brearley’s England, and it was not until their unexpected triumph in the 1987-8 World Cup that things really started going right for Australia. In these circumstances Border was very often battling to save his side from defeat, and many of his innings were through sheer force of circumstance defensive in nature, batting as long as possible.
In the latter years of his career when he was finally in charge of a strong, confident side he showed that given the opportunity he had plenty of strokes and was willing to play them – in all of his last three Ashes series (1989, won 4-0 by Australia and would have been 6-0 but for major rain interruptions in the other two matches, 1990-1 and 1993 he batted in attacking fashion at every opportunity).
Of the four long-serving Australian captains of my lifetime I rate Border a very clear first – looking at their records in this specific role we have:
Allan Border – took over a weak, struggling side that had little idea of how to win, and left for his successor a side who were by then acknowledged as the best in the world.
MarkTaylor – took over from Border and maintained Australia’s position at the top of the cricket world.
Steve Waugh – taking over the captaincy of a team who were already acknowledged as champions he made them even better, a highlight of his term of office being a record run of 16 consecutive test match victories.
Ricky Ponting – in his first few years in charge he won a lot of matches with the remnants of the great Australian side of the previous era, but he lost three Ashes series out of four, including one on home soil in which his team were three times defeated by innings margins.
In this XI, where the batting is overall exceedingly attacking in nature, Border is the person who in the event of bad start could dig the team out of a hole, while at the same time if the innings is going well he would be perfectly capable of stepping on the accelerator. His presence also means that there is a left-hander in the middle order, valuable from the point of view of giving the bowling side a different challenge. Finally, although not by any means a major part of his game his occasional slow left-arm did once win his country a test match against the West Indies (11 wickets in the match, including 7-46 in the first innings), and his safe hands (156 catches pouched in the course of his 156 test matches) would also be useful.
First up, a petition on 38 Degrees produced by the Grenfell survivors, calling on the government to make our housing system work for tenants. As someone who has recently moved into social housing through force of circumstance this is particularly important to me. To sign and share please click on the screenshot below.
My final two petitions are both on the official UK Government petition site, meaning that only UK citizens are allowed to sign. The first is a call for increased funding for Children’s Mental Health. If you are able and willing to sign and share please click the screenshot below:
Last and by no means least is a petition calling for police officers to be given mandatory autism training, something that I as an autistic person consider to be very important. Again, please click the screenshot below to sign and share.
Welcome the latest installment in this series. So far there has been the introduction, a post about Tammy Beaumont, and a post about the other specialist batters from my first XI. This post now deals with the all-rounders from that list, of whom there are no fewer than four (including the wicketkeeper)…
He took a long time to really establish himself at international level, but then had a couple of years when he could seemingly do no wrong, which included the fantastic 2005 Ashes series. Later on injuries took their toll, but even at the very end of his career his last involvement in the action was a direct hit on the stumps to run out Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
His performance at Edgbaston in 2005, when he scored 73 and 68 and took four wickets in each innings was outstanding, and helped to turn a series that very nearly died a premature death into one that nobody will ever forget. His 18 overs off the reel at the Oval in that same series to give England an unexpected first innings lead was incredible. In the second match of the 2009 series at Lords he bowled England to their first victory over Australia at that venue since 1934 when Hedley Verity took advantage of a rain affected pitch (remember, they played on “ooncoovered pitches” in those days) to record match figures of 15-104).
England were rather more sensible about Flintoff’s departure than they had been about Ian Botham’s in the early 1990s, when many young cricketers had promising careers effectively strangled by having the “next Botham” label draped round their necks. This time they realised that a straight replacement for Flintoff was, to put it mildly, unlikely, and set about building a different kind of team.
Flintoff had two and a half really superb years (2004, 2005 and 2006 before the tour to Australia at the end of that year which was an unqualified disaster for him and most of the rest of the squad) and produced flashes of brilliance both before and after that period.
She started out as a specialist bowler, batting low in the order. At one point she dropped out of the game but then made a comeback. Subsequently she has remained the England Womens team’s first choice opening bowler and has improved her batting to the point that she can be regarded as an all-rounder (she now habitually bats at no 6 or 7 in tests and ODIs, and often comes in higher than that in T20s when quick runs are wanted).
So long as her back holds out (she has been plagued by problems in that area down the years) she will be wanted by England (in the final ODI against India recently she took 5-28, her wickets being those of the top five in the Indian order, and was on 18 not out when England completed their victory).
I saw a very young Ellyse Perry live at the Adelaide Oval in 2009, playing in an ODI for the Australian Women versus the New Zealand Women. In those days she bowled fast with new ball, batted at no 8 (it was obvious that she would be moving up the order in the future) and had a superb throwing arm.
She still bowls fast with the new ball, remains a brilliant fielder, and is now just about the best batter in the women’s game (a test-match double century being her career highlight, along with her recent dominance of the Women’s Big Bash League – three individual centuries in the most recent tournament).
If you were selecting an Earth Women XI to take on Mars Women she would undoubtedly by the first name on the team sheet and it would go down in ink, not pencil.
She should still have a few years ahead of her at the top, and my advice would be: enjoy it while you can – talents of this magnitude do not come along very often.
One of the best wicketkeepers in the game, he has played five test matches for England and averages 41.50 with the bat as well as having demonstrated his skills as a keeper. Yet ridiculously his international future is in doubt because of the difficulty (in the minds of the current England selectors at least) of fitting him and Jonny Bairstowinto the same England team. If they do not want to use Bairstow as a specilaist batter, filling the no3 slot, then as far as I am concerned he, and not Ben Foakes, should be the one to miss out.
Providing the England selectors see sense Foakes should go on to have a stellar international career.
THE NEXT POST IN THIS SERIES
My next post in this series will feature the specialist bowlers from my first XI and introduce my second X1 preparatory to posting about them.
The start of a new series which will be appearing regularly in this blog…
This is the first in what I envisage being a long series of posts, and will set the scene for the entire series.
A NOTE ON THE DESIGNATION ‘ELEVENS’
Although I have divided my cricketers into elevens, that being the number the usually comprises a team I am not implying that these elevens are in any particular order. There are many ways to pick an 11 person team out of the players I have chosen and you may well have ideas of your own by the end of the series of what your elevens would be. All of my elevens could definitely function as teams, and all are of mixed sex. Within each 11 I have further subidivided into categories based on the types of players in the team.
SOME BASIC CRITERIA
All the players I shall cover are players who have been active during my lifetime, and specifically players who I have witnessed either live, on TV or via radio commentaries (my favourite way of following cricket so long as the commentators are up to the job). All the players featured would be worth a place for one particular specialism, even if they are also excellent at other aspects of the game – a genuine all-rounder if you have such a thing is wonderful news, someone not quite up to the job with either bat or ball is a waste of space. Being English and having come to cricket during the 1980s I witnessed the dread decade of the 1990s when desperation to fill the void created by the decline and eventual retirement of Ian Botham led to a succession of medium pacers who were also respectable lower order batters being pushed as the magic bullet. At one time it seemed that a quick 50 and a three-for somewhere would be enough for the ‘all-rounder’ sign to be draped round the neck.
Some of my selections never got international call-ups – when I cover these players I will explain why I selected them, and there is one who I have named in anticipation of a moment that surely cannot be long delayed.
THE FIRST XI IN BATTING ORDER
My first eleven is as follows:
I will be covering this selection in four posts:
A stand alone post about Tammy Beaumont in which I shall expand on women in cricket and on the possibilities of women playing alongside the men.
A piece featuring Cook, Gower and Pietersen, the other specialist batters
A piece on the all-rounders (including Foakes in that category, as a wicketkeeping all-rounder) – Perry, Flintoff, Foakes and Brunt
A piece on the bowlers – Leach, Anderson and Stone
A petition, a Thunderclap, a message to Aldi, some photographs, and a couple of little snippets.
Although there will be a couple of minor items tacked on that the end, this post is mainly devoted to a thunderclap and a petition, both regarding an area of woodland that adjoins a Nature Reserve and is under threat from plans by supermarket chain Aldi.
SAVE QUESLETT TREES
There are two parts to this, starting with…
To participate in the Thunderclapyou need to be on facebook and/or twitter and/or tumblr. Below is a screenshot formatted as a link:
Linked to the Thunderclap is a petition, a screenshot of which appears below, again formatted as a link.
The main business of this post ends with…
A MESSAGE TO ALDI (AND PLANNING AUTHORITIES)
I feel very strongly that Aldi should accept the initial negative decision, especially given how many supermarkets (including two other Aldis) are located close to this area already. I am a fairly regular customer of Aldi stores in my own part of the world, but that may not remain the case if Aldi do not reconsider their stance over this. I conclude with some advice for all involved in this decision to consider, tendered in the form of a picture created by Anna from a comment I posted on her blog:
Here are some of my recent photographs, before I finish off with a couple of minor items.
A COUPLE OF NUGGETS
The last few days have seen two numbers come up for me:
300 – the number of successive days on which I have solved at least one of brilliant’s problems – here is one of them for you:
900 – my Lumosity Performance Index has just exceeded this value (after this morning’s workout it now stands at 917. Below, concluding this post is first the breakdown of my LPI, and second a little puzzle for you:
Links to some of the best pieces from today, includign several about autism, a solution, a problem and some photographs.
This post is divided into three main sections – a sharing section, because there has been some truly outstanding stuff come to my attention today, a problems and solutions section and some photographs.
I have already reblogged stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights, but I take the opportunity to point you all in that direction once again, complete with a jpg of the suggested Bill of Rights…
My remaining shares in this section are all from a new find…
Is Autism a Disability? A wonderful post which tackles head on some of the ways in which the conversation about autism is currently cooked against us from the start. I quote the closing lines of the post as an appetiser:
It’s a label that holds me down and pushes me into a box I can’t escape from. Give me some new words to define me. Or better yet, let me define myself.
Although not as dramatic as a few weeks back, The Walks, King’s Lynn’s best known park, is still somewhat lacustrine, which has led to it receiving a most unusual visitor – an Oystercatcher, a wading bird which would normally visit a park and for which King’s Lynn would be the extreme South of its possible living area…
As you will see there were a few other fine birds on show today…
Some stuff about the ODI at the MCG, a neurodiversity quote, a mathematical puzzle and some photographs
After the horrors of the Ashes test series it makes a change to write about a winning performance from an England cricket team in Australia. I also have a few other things to share of course, including more of my photos.
RECORDS GALORE AT THE MCG
The pitch at the MCG for the first of five One Day Internationals (50 overs per side) was a vast improvement of the strip they had produced for the test match, and the players produced a match worthy of the occasion. England won the toss and chose to field. England;s improvement in this form of the game since their horror show at the 2015 World Cup has been such that even before they started batting an Australia tally of 304 seemed inadequate.
England got away to a quick start, although Jonny Bairstow did a ‘Vince’ – looking very impressive for 20-odd and then giving it away. Alex Hales also fell cheaply, but Joe Root came out and played excellently, while Jason Roy produced the major innings that England needed from one of their top order. When his score reached 124 Roy had an England ODI record for the MCG, and that soon became an all-comers MCG record, to match Cook’s all-comers test record score for the MCG. When he went from 171 to 175 Roy establish a new England ODI individual scoring record. His dismissal for 180, with 200 just a possibility was a disappointment but by then the result was not in doubt, and even the loss of a couple more wickets in the dying overs served only to reduce the final margin. England won by five wickets with seven deliveries to spare, and it was a much more conclusive victory than those figures suggest because three of the wickets came with the outcome already settled courtesy of Roy. Joe Root also deserves credit for his support role to Roy’s pyrotechnics, a selfless display that saw him finish just short of his own hundred when the winning runs were scored. The Test squad has a lengthy shopping list of new players needed (two openers given Cook’s age, at least one new batsman for the middle order, a couple of genuine quicks and a serious spinner at minimum), but the ODI squad is in splendid fettle.
A CLASSIC NEURODIVERSITY COMMENT
This comes courtesy of twitter:
Those of you who have read Alison’s response to my nominating her for a Blogger Recognition Award will have noticed that she specifically mentioned enjoying the puzzles that sometimes feature here. Here courtesy of the mathematical website brilliantis another:
The colony of muscovy ducks that I first saw in late 2017 are still in residence along a section of the Gaywood River that is close to where it enters The Walks en route to becoming the Millfleet, in which guise it flows into the Great Ouse…
Relevant wiki: Truth-Tellers and Liars
Since every statement is false, let us convert them into true statements, and number each statement:
Ann: 1) One of us took the painting. 2) The painting was gone when I left.
Bob: 3) I arrived first, third, or fourth. 4) The painting was still here.
Chuck: 5) I arrived first, second, or fourth. 6) The painting was gone when I arrived.
Tom: 7) Whoever stole the painting arrived after me. 8) The painting was still here.
According to statement #7, Tom is not the thief. #8: Since the painting was there when Tom arrived, he could not have been the last to arrive. Tom must have gone there first, second, or third. #6: The painting was gone when Chuck was there, so he didn’t arrive first. #5: So Chuck got there second or fourth. #4 and #8: As two other members (Bob and Tom) arrived to see the painting, Chuck didn’t get there second, either. So Chuck arrived fourth. #3: This means Bob arrived first or third. #2: Since the painting was gone when Ann left, she didn’t arrive first. Otherwise, no member after her would have seen the painting. So Ann went there second or third and Chuck arrived fourth. But since two other members (Bob and Tom) saw the painting when they arrived, Ann didn’t go there second, either. So Ann arrived third. #3: Therefore, Bob arrived first, and Tom arrived second.
In summary, Bob arrived first. Tom got there next and the painting was still there, so Bob was not the thief, and neither was Tom. When Ann arrived, the painting was still there, but it was gone when she left. So Ann was the one who stole the painting. Chuck arrived last and discovered that the painting was gone.