Cricket and Rugby action from the last few days and some photographs.
Between the Six Nations rugby and the first ODI between England and New Zealand I have watched/ listened to a lot of sport over the last few days.
THE SIX NATIONS
There were three matches over the weekend, one on Friday evening and two on Saturday. The Friday evening match was…
FRANCE VS ITALY
This match took place in Marseille, a rare fixture of this nature not happening in a national capital. It was played at a disappointingly slow tempo. In keeping with Italy’s first two matches of the series it was close for the first hour and then one way traffic as the Italians tired in the closing stages.
IRELAND VS WALES
The best match of this year’s Six Nations to date. Non-stop action through the 80 minutes. Ireland only settled it beyond dispute right at the end with their fourth try of the game, the last action of the match being the conversion. In the early stages Jonathan Sexton had been decidedly fallible with his kicking, whereas save for one monster effort from 53 metres which did not quite make it Leigh Halfpenny for Wales was his usual impeccable self. Ireland fully deserved their win for all that it took them so long to officially seal it, and they now look favourites for the championship.
SCOTLAND VS ENGLAND
The oldest continuously maintained fixture in international rugby and a match the outcome of which only a fool would have tried to predict in advance. The Calcutta Cup match is always a great occasion, and this was no exception. Scotland came firing out of the blocks and caught England absolutely cold. At half-time Scotland led 22-6 and if anything England were lucky it was not worse. In the second half England fared much better. They had two tries ruled out for minor infractions and scored and converted another. The final score was Scotland 25 England 13. On the day Scotland were much the better side, and deserved their victory. England now need a big win over France to give themselves a chance of winning the championship (almost certainly they will also then have to beat Ireland, probably with a bonus point).
THE ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL
This match, which took place during the small hours of Sunday morning UK time, was already notable before it began as it was going to mark the second coming of Ben Stokes.
England managed 285 from their 50 overs which looked defensible. When New Zealand were 28-3 it looked even more defensible. Then Ross Taylor and Tom Latham had a huge partnership which looked like winning it for the Kiwis, then England started taking wickets again, and when Taylor (113) was dismissed, leaving NZ still 40 short and only three wickets standing England looked favourites. Mitchell Santner then connected with some lusty blows, while tailender Tim Southee hung in there at the other end, and New Zealand squeaked home. Stokes scored 12 with the bat and took two wickets, though he was given at least one over too many, as at the end of his bolwing stint he was looking decidedly ragged.
My renaming of Mr Davies as the Downright Dishonourable Phil E Buster (Con, Shipley) is because he has a long and disgraceful record of such behaviour and because in Britain this kind of behaviour is known as filibustering. It is right and proper to condemn this kind of behaviour, especially in relation to a bill that is about tackling domestic violence (being put forward by Eilidh Whiteford of the SNP), but that leads on to the next question…
WHAT SHALL WE DO ABOUT IT?
Tight time limits on speaking should be set in place as a matter of urgency and they need to be enforced rigorously. I believe that as well as being arrogant and contemptuous this “tactic” is deeply antidemocratic and cowardly (if you think you can defeat the bill you should present a coherent argument against it and back yourself to win the vote). The time limits should be a proportion of the total time set aside for the bill to be discussed, and will therefore vary according to circumstances. As for the punishments, I suggest a rugby style three tier approach, making the punishment fit the offences as follows:
For a first offence a ban on speaking for 1 weeks worth of parliamentary sessions (the equivalent of being sent to the sin bin).
For a second offence a ban on speaking for 1 months worth of parliamentary sessions (yellow card in rugby terms)
For a third offence automatic termination of parliamentary career on ground of unfitness for office, thus triggering a by-election, and of course debarring the offender from ever standing for elected office again. This is the red card equivalent.
This approach to dealing with what has become a serious problem mirrors my approach the curse of slow over rates in cricket, which I would deal with by the insertion of the following clause into the laws of the game:
The bowling side is required to deliver 30 overs per session (i.e 15 per hour) and at the end of each session if they have failed to achieve this their opponents will be awarded penalty runs for the unbowled overs at a rate of 10 per over or double the batting side’s scoring rate, whichever is the greater.
Note the inclusion of an insurance policy to make sure that the measure is absolutely guaranteed to be properly punitive.
Regular visitors to this site will know that I always like to include pictures in my blog posts, so here are some:
Some thoughts on round two of the 2017 six nations, and a few Sunday shares.
Yesterday saw the first two matches in round two of the 2017 Six Nations. This afternoon Scotland and France will fight out the final game of the weekend.
ENGLAND SQUEEZE PAST WALES
In the women’s match which preceded this England won 63-0, which gave them 89 unanswered points in their last 120 minutes of rugby (they were 0-13 down at half-time against France last week).
Wales dominated the men’s match for long periods, but too often did not turn pressure into points and eventually a 77th minute try put England in front for the first and only time of the match. England have not been all that impressive in either of their matches to date, but is the mark of champions to find a way to win even when not playing well.
IRELAND THRASH ITALY
Ireland were always in control of this match, with two players (Stander and Gilroy) recording hat tricks of tries. For the first hour the scoreline was semi-respectable but then the floodgates opened and the Irish winning margin mushroomed to over 50 points.
Two matches in to this tournament it is hard to see Italy doing anything other than bring up the rear, a long way adrift of the rest.
SOME SUNDAY SHARES
We start the shares with a couple of public transport related bits…
THE GREED OF THE PRIVATE RAIL COMPANIES
Private operators have creamed of more than £3.5 billion in profits from running Britain’s railways over the last ten years, while services get worse and prices go up. Click on the image below to read in more detail, courtesy of AOL:
AN EXTENSION FOR THE BAKERLOO LINE
The extension, from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham is expected to open in 2028-9. Click on the image below to read the Time Out piece in full. I have already pressed a link on to my London transport themed website and will be writing about it in more detail in due course.
THE WENSUM VALLEY UNDER THREAT
The Wensum Valley is a very beautiful part of Norfolk, but a malign group of ‘planners’ are putting this beauty at risk – they intend to send a big new road through the heart of it. Please watch the video below to see what we are seeking to protect:
A COUPLE OF REGULARS
Another reminder that James and Sons next auction is on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of February, the first two days at our shop, the third at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Click on the image below, from lot 891, to view a full catalogue…
Finally, the Autism Awareness Cup 2017 will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. Click on the image below to visit the website.
An account of a walk, some final thoughts on the IDS resignation, some very brief comments about the six nations and some stuff about the World T20
With my parents and my aunt away I have been left to my own devices this Sunday. So I am producing this post which features the World T20, a short section on the most despised British minister in living memory (yesterday I posted to links to pieces here and here), and today I am making my last comments on him, and what I shall be starting with…
A SUNDAY STROLL
The live commentary from the World T20 having finished and it being sunny outside I set off for a long walk, starting as so often by heading to the river via the Purfleet.
Not designed as a bird perch but clearly works well!
The river front, from the Purfleet to the Millfleet was, as one would expect on a Sunday, quiet, although the survey boats were still in evidence.
The cormorant in flight above leads on to my efforts to capture a swimming cormorant (even more of a challenge, because if they are in the water they are usually looking for food, so surface only briefly between dives but…)
After this shot where I caught the dive…
Came this one where I got the timing exactly right.
Old Boal Quay provided nothing of interest, but ‘cormorant platform’, the Nar outfall and the stretch of the Great Ouse adjoining Hardings Pits did…
Neither Harding’s Pits nor the area around St John’s Walk offered very much, but I did get these pictures between the river and hitting the path along Bawsey Drain to to the town centre…
I walked about halfway along the path that follows Bawsey Drain before crossing a bridge and heading through a field and round the edge of another to a couple of ponds, from the second of which a path leads to Littleport Street, and thence a cut a know well that brings on to the train station and finally home.
THE END OF THE
INHUMANE DESPICABLE SOCIOPATH
Yesterday morning I woke up to news of the resignation of the most hated of all British government Ministers. His resignation statement was obviously bogus since it mentioned conscience (which he has never possessed). The most popular explanation was that it was a kind of ‘IDS of March’ act with Osborne’s being the back into which the dagger was being plunged. Others thought that it was to enable him to concentrate on campaigning for a ‘Brexit’ vote.
Signs are not encouraging as regards his replacement – Mr Crabb (for he it is – a sideways move from his previous position of Welsh Secretary – sorry about the pun) has a voting record similar to that of the man he replaces. Mr Crabb can hardly fail to be an improvement (that is not so much setting the bar low as not setting a bar at all) but he may very well not be much of one.
I will conclude this section with some of twitter highlights about the man…
Sport usually occupies the back pages of print media, so I have put it at the back of this post. First a brief congratulation to England for completing their six nations grand slam (as with Wales’ obliteration of Italy – 67-14 – and Ireland’s win over Scotland the result was no great surprise). The rest of this section is dedicated to the
This is going be longer than such a section would usually be because of this post which appeared on whyevolutionistrue yesterday. As you will see, this attempt at an explanation is too long to submit as a comment to someone else’s blog. We start with a glossary of a few important terms:
Innings: can either apply to an individual performance or to the team performance. In a cricket context the singular and plural are spelled the same way – ‘inning’ has no meaning.
Over: A fixed number of legal balls (these days six, though at various times in cricket’s long history four, five and eight have been favoured) that the bowler delivers before the action switches to the other end and another bowler.
Run: The unit in which a team score is measured. It is based on running the length of the cricket pitch, which is worth one. Balls that reach the boundary score four (if they bounce before doing so) or six (if they cross on the full).
Wicket: The construction, comprising three stumps and two bails that the batter defends. Cricket is generally an eleven-a-side game, so each side has ten wickets to defend (as there have be two batsman together).
The World T20 is genuinely a world tournament (unlike some sports, cricket only uses international designations when they are genuinely appropriate!), with the full member nations of the ICC qualifying automatically, and the ‘associate members’ playing a pre-qualifying tournament from which some make it to the main event. The T20 part of the format refers to the format of the matches, where each side gets 20 overs to bat, and bowlers are limited to four overs each (so you better have at least five folk in your team who can bowl decently). Scoring in these matches is generally fast, though the England v South Africa match of a few days ago in which a South Africa tally of 229-4 proved insufficient was exceptional even for this format. The India v Pakistan match that provoked the google doodle which in turn provoked the WEIT post had extra spice because of the political situation which also means that those two countries only ever play each other in global tournaments, never in bilateral series. For the record India won, not without a few scares along the way. This morning GB time there was a match between South Africa and Afghanistan, won by South Africa but with the Afghans giving a very good account of themselves.
This post does exactly what the title claims. The photos are all from yesterday, which has the distinction of being the first day in 2016 on which I ventured out without putting a coat on (yes folks, it has been a long wait but spring really is on its way)
TOP AND BOTTOM SETTLED
WITH A ROUND TO GO
This weekend saw the penultimate round of the Six Nations rugby tournament. Ireland, coming into this round with a draw and two defeats to their name, faced Italy who had lost all three of their matches. Ireland racked up 58 points in the end, to open clear daylight between themselves and the foot of the table. England played Wales at Twickenham and at half time the score was 16-0 to England, probably should have been 23-0 and had it been 30-0 Wales could have had no complaints. Wales played much better in the second half, but had left themselves too much to do to get back in the match. In the third match Scotland faced France and followed their victory over Italy in the previous round with another in this match. The key try that put Scotland out of reach was a brilliant solo effort from Duncan Taylor.
The effect of this action was that England with four wins out of four are now uncatchable at the top of the table and head to Paris with their sights firmly set on completing a grand slam. This is a mightily impressive first campaign for new England coach Eddie Jones. As well as leaving England out of reach at the top, Scotland’s win over France left Italy marooned at the bottom with no way of avoiding the wooden spoon. Of the teams in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, separated by just two points, Wales have a massive advantage because not only are they currently in second, they finish their campaign at home to Italy. Scotland and Ireland face each other, while France have an England team with confidence sky-high to contend with.
These photos were all taken while out walking yesterday and are presented in the order in which they were taken…
There will be a long post about various autism related issues coming either tonight or first thing tomorrow.
An account of this weekend’s six nations action plus some pictures and some links.
The third weekend of the six nations rugby tournament is done and dusted. As indicated in the title I also have some links and pictures to share.
THE SIX NATIONS
On Friday night Wales took on France at the Principality (nee Millennium) Stadium. Yesterday’s two matches featured Italy versus Scotland at Stadio Olimpico and England versus Ireland at Twickenham.
WALES V FRANCE
Wales came into this match with one win and one draw to their name, France with wins over Scotland and Italy (a record which flattered them – given a decent kicker Italy would have beaten them and they were not convincing in the second game either). The match was fairly close throughout, and not of the highest quality. The Welsh emerged victorious and thus temporarily sat at the top of the table.
ITALY V SCOTLAND
Since Italy were included in the tournament, making it the Six Nations, these two sides have accrued 14 wooden spoons between them (Italy 10, Scotland 4) and few would bet against one or other adding to that tally this year. Often of late Italy have come to grief in the kicking department (see above) so it was ironic that on a day when Kelly Haimona was flawless with the boot they were well beaten, and are now very likely to finish bottom.
ENGLAND V IRELAND
England came into this match having won both games, unconvincingly against Scotland in the Calcutta Cup match and very comfortably against Italy. Ireland, winners in 2014 and 2015 had started with a draw and a defeat. England dominated the first half but failed to register the points to reflect that, and when James Haskell got himself sin-binned (for the fifth time in his international career) defeat was more than a possibility. However England were only one point behind when Haskell was able to rejoin the action, and two converted tries in a short space of time thereafter put them 13 points ahead. Although Ireland pressed hard in the closing stages England had done enough and on the balance of play over the whole 80 minutes their victory was well deserved.
THE TOURNAMENT SO FAR
England now lead with three wins from three games, Wales are second, and France third, with Scotland currently fourth, Ireland fifth and Italy sixth. England and Wales face each other in their next match, and the winner of that will be a strong favourite for the trophy, with France likely to finish third. Ireland, Scotland and Italy are fighting out the bottom half of the table. Thus far the quality of the play has not been especially high.
After a big chunk of text, here are some pictures…
This is the frontage of the Royal Arcade, Norwich
The back of the Guildhall – the work is nearly complete.
Although there are not that many of them I am splitting these links into sections, starting with:
Three links, and also three pictures, the latter showing how I have combined two metal badges to make a composite public transport badge. Since I am talking about public transport, here is a reminder of my London transport themed website, www.londontu.be on which I have already posted two of the links.
A good turnout helped ensure the success of yesterday’s signature collecting session in King’s Lynn. Although it was grey with the King’s Lynn ‘lazy wind’ (cannot be bothered to go round you so goes straight through you) blowing the response was excellent. Even I, though I rarely fare particularly well gathering signatures (this is one area where having an Autistic Spectrum Condition does make things difficult), collected over 20, and received some kind comments even from some of those who did not sign. The total number of signatures gathered in central King’s Lynn yesterday will certainly be in the high hundreds.
Here some pictures from yesterday’s activities, some of them taken for me by the photographer from the Lynn News who took team pics for that publication…
There has been a lot of sporting action this weekend. In the six nations there have been wins for Wales against France and for Italy against Scotland. Italy should have won by more than three points but Kelly Haimona had another shocker with the boot. Likewise, the principal difference between France and Wales was that Camille Lopez had a poor game with the boot whereas Leigh Halfpenny was up to us usual stratospheric standards for Wales. The Frenchman who kicked Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip in the back has deservedly been banned for the rest of the tournament – if he ever plays international rugby again he will luckier than he deserves to be.
In the cricket world cup, England suffered another humiliating defeat, this time at Sri Lanka’s hands. Having tallied 309 from their 50, England should have been capable of putting up some sort of defence of that total, but Sri Lanka had nine wickets and three overs to spare at the end. In the battle of the co-hosts New Zealand emerged victorious. The margin was only one wicket, but with more than half of their overs unused! Australia’s batting having done a passable impression of a house of cards, their bowlers fought back well to make a contest of it.