All Time XIs – Lancashire

Continuing my ‘All Time XIs’ series with a look at Lancashire. There is one very controversial omission from the XI, but I hope that I have adequately explained my reasoning.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series of ‘All Time XIs‘. This one deals with Lancashire, and features one selection decision that is by any reckoning colossally controversial and another that will be seen as such in certain quarters. Before we move into the main body of the post however, today is the first day of ‘Autism Awareness Month’, and I therefore start with a small item that reflects that…

A GREAT TWITTER THREAD ON AUTISM BY AN AUTISTIC PERSON

This thread, from Pete Wharmby, aka @commaficionado deserves to widely read and shared. Please click on the screenshot of the start of it to view it in its entirety.

Thread

Now it is time for the main business of the day…

LANCASHIRE ALL TIME XI

  1. *Archie MacLaren – an attack minded opening bat who scored the first ever first class quadruple century – 424 against Somerset at Taunton in 1895, amassed in eight hours. Also, have a gander at his stats for the 1897-8 Ashes tour, which you can read about in John Lazenby’s “Test of Time”, which reconstructs the tour through the eyes of his ancestor Jack Mason, one time captain of Kent. I have also named him as my captain – he guided Lancashire to a county championship in which they went through the season unbeaten in 1904. In 1921 he put together a team to take on Warwick Armstrongs all-powerful Aussies, and after being all out for 43 in the first and losing MacLaren early in the second they emerged victorious by 28 runs. In 1922, eight year before the Kiwis took their official test bow he scored 200 not out in a representative game in Wellington, that at the age of 51.
  2. Cyril Washbrook – he and Len Hutton hold the record opening stand for England, 359 against South Africa at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.
  3. Johnny Tyldesley – no 3 for Lancashire and England in his day. At Edgbaston in 1902 he scored 138 in the first innings against Australia. His highest first class score was 295 against Kent, an innings that Frank Woolley, who played for Kent in that match, writes about in some detail in “King of Games”.
  4. Eddie Paynter – a left hander whose test opportunities were limited by the extreme strength of batting available to England at that time, but who still managed to average 59.23 at that level, including double centuries against both Australia and South Africa. His most famous innings came during the 1932-3 Ashes (aka Bodyline), when he rose from his sick bed to score 83 in four hours at Brisbane, and innings that put England in control of the match and with it the series (the Brisbane game was the fourth of that series, not the opener as it would be today and England had won an acrimonious match in Adelaide to go 2-1 up).
  5. Ernest Tyldesley – much younger brother of Johnny, and the only Lancastrian ever to score 100 first class hundreds, reaching the landmark at the age of 45, the second oldest after W G Grace.
  6. Andrew Flintoff – big htting middle order bat and right arm fast bowler. His finest hours came in the 2005 Ashes, though it was also his spell of bowling that settled the destiny of the Lord’s match in 2009, and in his final test appearance at The Oval in 2009 he produced a direct hit throw to run out Ricky Ponting. He is this team’s X Factor player, a luxury that the strength of the top five permits.
  7. Cecil Parkin – his stock delivery was the off break, but he also bowled just about every other kind of delivery known (and probably more besides!) to right armers, and he had his moments with the bat as well, hence his position in this order.
  8. Johnny Briggs – a slow left arm bowler, a brilliant fielder and a useful lower order bat. He was one of two such bowlers who caught the Aussies on a ‘sticky’ in Sydney in 1894 (Bobby Peel of Yorkshire was the other) to achieve the first test victory by a side following on (Aus 586, Eng 325 and 437, Aus 166, Eng won by 10 runs). England also won the second match of that series, before Australia took games three and four and then England won the decider.
  9. +George Duckworth – Wicket keeper in Lancashire’s greatest period, the latter half of the 1920s.
  10. Syd Barnes – rated by most of those who saw him as the greatest of all bowlers. He worked out a way of bowling a leg break at fast medium pace, which was his deadliest delivery. In 27 test matches he took 189 wickets at 16.43, a haul that included 77 at 21 a piece down under. He also destroyed South Africa in their own backyard, in a series in which he took 49 wickets at 10.93 in four matches before refusing to play the fifth following an argument over terms. As late as 1930 there were those who thought that Barnes, then approaching 60 years of age, was the best hope of subduing Bradman. Bradman was sufficiently impressed by what he read and heard about Barnes to include him in his all-time England XI (see “Bradman’s Best Ashes Teams by Roland Perry). Barnes remained a league pro until the outbreak of World War Two, meaning that for 44 years of his adult life there was someone willing to pay him to play cricket.
  11. Brian Statham – right arm fast bowler. He combined with Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson to bowl England to the 1954-5 Ashes, and later formed a hugely successful England new ball pairing with Freddie Trueman. For England his 252 wickets cost 24 a piece, for Lancashire where he had first choice of ends as undisputed lead bowler he took his wickets at a mere 16 a piece.

This team has a hugely powerful top five, an attacking all rounder at six, four widely varied bowlers and a top of the range wicket keeper to ensure that no chances go begging.

CONTROVERSIES AND OMISSIONS

I start this section by dealing with my most obviously controversial admission…

JIMMY ANDERSON

England’s all time leading test wicket taker, which is a tribute to his longevity. However his test bowling average is only just the right side of 30, and to include him would mean either sacrificing variety by dropping one of Parkin or Briggs, or dropping Statham. If I have Anderson, Statham and Barnes in the team that means Statham not getting the new ball, since Barnes would have to have it and Anderson would lose a huge amount of his value if not given the new ball.

OTHER OMISSIONS

There were a number of openers who could have been considered, starting with “My Hornby and my Barlow, long ago”, continuing with the transplanted Yorkie Albert Ward whose career highlight was his 75 and 117 in the Sydney test that England won after following on, R H Spooner whose omission probably has Neville Cardus turning in his grave, left hander Charles Hallows, one of only three players to achieve the strict feat of scoring 1,000 first class runs actually in the month of May (as opposed to in the English season before the start of June), ‘Shake’ Makepeace, Geoff Pullar, Barry Wood, David Lloyd, Graeme Fowler and Mike Atherton. Hornby was an amateur stylist, as was Spooner, and MacLaren was also an amateur with a rather weightier record. Barlow, though his left arm medium pace could also have been a useful addition, was an absolute stonewaller (twice spending two and a half hours over scores of 5, and on another occasion taking 80 minutes over a blob). All of the others would have their advocates, and only Atherton has a big black mark against him – his negative attitude to county cricket as conveyed in his writings since his retirement (hence why, unlike in the case of Anderson, I do not personally see his omission as in any way controversial).

Among the middle order batters Neil Fairbrother is the most obvious non-overseas omission, along with John Crawley. However, neither of those two really delivered at the highest level, and although Fairbrother holds the record for the highest score in a first class match in London (366 at The Oval in 1990), that innings was played on a pitch of mind-numbing flatness. Ian Greig of Surrey, no ones idea of a great player, scored 291 on that same pitch. Clive Lloyd could easily have had the nod as an overseas player, although I am normally disinclined to choose batters for that as will now be obvious to anyone who has followed this series. 

I could find no way of fitting in Wasim Akram (left arm quick, attacking left handed bat) unless I had gambled on him batting as high as six and had dropped Flintoff for the sake of greater variety in the bowling department. I felt that having bitten one king sized bullet by leaving out Anderson dropping Freddie was going too far.

There were three spinners who entered my thoughts but who I could not accommodate, leg spinner Richard Tyldesley (unrelated to the two Tyldesleys already in the side), off spinner Roy Tattersall who had the misfortune of overlapping with Jim Laker (see my Surrey team) and Malcolm Hilton, who has a niche in the history books, because playing for Lancashire v Australia in 1948 he accounted for Bradman in both innings, but he does not quite have the overall weight of achievement to displace Briggs.

That brings to an end this section of the post. Feel free to comment, but remember to consider how your chosen selections might fit into an XI and which of mine you would displace.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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The Royal London Cup Playoffs

A look at the playoffs in the Royal London Cup and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Today features the Royal London Cup playoffs, with Somerset playing Worcestershire and Lancashire playing Middlesex for the right to join group winners Hampshire (clear favourites to win the competition) and Nottinghamshire in the semi-finals. Although my last set of predictions worked out horribly, only one being correct, giving me a tally of 28/49 overall I shall be trying again with these two matches.

THE STATE OF PLAY AND PREDICTIONS

  • Worcestershire v SomersetSomerset 337-8 from 50 overs.
    The main contribution to a fine batting effort for Somerset was 112 from 20 year-old wicketkeeper Tom Banton (his second century of the competition), and he was well backed by useful contributions all down the order. I predict that Somerset will defend this total and therefore take their place in the semi-final against Nottinghamshire.
  • Lancashire v MiddlesexLancashire 210-3 from 38.2 overs.
    96 from Jennings and 68 from Croft have put Lancashire in a strong position. Nevertheless, given some of the totals I have seen chased down recently I am going to predict that Middlesex win this one and go on to play Hampshire in the semi-final.

In addition to these two matches Scotland and Afghanistan are playing an ODI. Scotland have amassed 325-7 from 50 overs and Afghanistan are 41-1 in reply at present. I think Scotland will defend their impressive total, which gives me thee predictions: Somerset, Middlesex and Scotland.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off..

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Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 

CRICKET

The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…

DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 

MUSIC

The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…

MUSICAL KEYS

A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

Kirsten
Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.

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MK8
I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:

candidates

In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 

WALES

In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.

SCOTLAND

The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…

PHOTOGRAPHS

I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

15thCGHBb1BlackbirdcloseupBlackbird and flowerDSCN6005Mh1MinsterHB

ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED

During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled. 

Side By Side

Some musings on the county championship (cricket), and an acknowledgement of King’s Lynn’s latest effort to advertise its heritage.

INTRODUCTION

I am posting about two unrelated matters, hence the title, which is borrowed from a series of Bridge Magazine articles written many years ago by Terence Reese. The firs topic of the day is…

CRICKET

As another English season draws to a close there are two topics to cover in this section, first of all…

A THREE WAY TUSSLE FOR THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

Thanks to Somerset continuing their late charge with a 10 wicket victory over Yorkshire, and Lancashire earning a draw against leaders Middlesex the final round of games will commence with Middlesex, Somerset and Yorkshire in that order all in contention for the title. Owing to the fact that a decision to alter the structure of the two divisions has meant that there is only one promotion place up for grabs the second division is now settled, with Essex having secured the promotion.

In the final round of matches Middlesex will play Yorkshire at Lord’s, while Somerset face already relegated Nottinghamshire. While my chief emotion as a cricket fan is gratitude that the championship race is going down to the wire, I cannot claim complete impartiality – despite having grown up in London and possessing a Yorkshire surname, it is my support for the underdog that wins out in this contest – I will be rooting for Somerset. Somerset have never won the championship (Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire are also in this position, although the latter were named as champion county three times in the 1870s, before the official start of the county championship in 1890). Apart from being a historic first, a championship win for Somerset this year would also be a fitting reward for Marcus Trescothick as he approaches the end of a long and distinguished career with the county.

The change in the structure of the two divisions mentioned earlier, moving from nine teams in each to eight in first and ten in the second, is not the most significant one happening in English domestic cricket, that distinction going to…

THE INTRODUCTION OF CITY FRANCHISES

Yes, it has been decided by a vote of 16-3 in favour to augment the existing domestic T20 competition with an eight-team city based competition. I am not going to say either yea or nay at this stage, waiting to see how it works in practice before making a judgement. I mark the break between this section and the second section of the post with some recent photographs from King’s Lynn…

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This is the uncropped version of a butterfly picture
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And this is the cropped version.

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A CODA TO HERITAGE OPEN DAY

Beales Department Store which is near thus bus station in King’s Lynn has recently closed down. Rather than leave the frontage as blank windows, it has been used as an opportunity to advertise our town’s heritage, as shown below…

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Save for the planning notice at the end, these pictures are presented in the order in which they were taken.

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A mixed bag

Once a very absorbing days play had ended between Lancashire and Middlesex I decided to go out for a walk and enhanced my photo collection. The two sides are scrapping to avoid relegation to the second division of the county championship, and with two days to go Middlesex are heavy favourites to do so. This is because owing to the bonus point system (5 batting and 3 bowling points available in the first 110 overs of each first innings) and their standings prior to the match starting, mere victory is not good enough for Lancashire, they also need to outscore Middlesex on bonus points. With six wickets currently down and some 40 runs needed to reach the next batting bonus point mark, Lancashires sole hope is to reach 300 for the loss of no more than two further wickets (a third, being the ninth in total would give Middlesex full bowling points and thereby condemn Lancashire) and then declare and bowl Middlesex out cheaply enough to have a manageable fourth innings run chase. I resume this having had to break off for a days work, and a check of www.cricinfo.com tells me that Lancashire did reach the magic 300 only 8 down and declared, so the relegation battle is still live. The final day tomorrow could see some fireworks as Lancashire have to go all out for whatever target they are left when they bowl Middlesex out, since a draw for them would be just as bad as a loss.

Some big news from work: the BBC have picked up on the Olympic medal story. The full story can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-29360899 and I have of course already mentioned it on our own facebook and twitter accounts.

As usual I have plenty of photos for you to enjoy…

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The Great Ouse at night
The Great Ouse at night

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