Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bell watch - fourth ODI vs South Africa

England go 4-0 up in the series but not the best of days for IR Bell in this rain affected game. 13 runs only, but in the context of a target of 137 not that bad, and a catch. Fair to middling day in the office.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Frosty gets a bowl

One of the givens in cricket is that wicketkeepers relish their chance to turn their arm over and have a bowl. According to Cricinfo Tony Frost has only bowled 12 balls in 101 first class games and never in 1 day cricket. But in the current game he had the chance to bowl another 12! However unfortunately he didn't turn out to be a demon bowler to skittle out Derbyshire who ended up on the end of day 3 at 462-7 chasing 476-9d. A draw seems likely.

Bell watch - third ODI vs South Africa

An excellent day in the office, lets see the critics put the dampener on this one (though i'm sure they will try!) 73 runs including 11 4s and a 6 with a strike rate of 94.8 as England won the series against a strangely off-colour South Africa.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bears vs Derby CC Day 2

Its ages since i have been able to get to the ground, in fact only my 4th visit this season because of various circumstances this Summer. Not really "cricket on the cheap" but i don't mind. I decided to visit the members' area for a change (i prefer to watch side onto the wicket), beer was overpriced of course. The club shop do not sell Bear logo tax disc holders anymore unfortunately which means my second car (ooh get me) will have to remain un-Bear-branded for the moment. I did get a new rubber for my bat's handle. As its been about 10 years since the last time i changed it i have forgotten again how to put it on the bat without getting a hernia.

As for the play well Trott looked good, rode his luck a bit but ended up not that far short of a double ton as the Bears amassed 476-9d, you'd think they'd have gone for 500... ah yes but the last man in was Chris Martin... Derby ended the day on 83/0. An early breakthrough will be needed tomorrow if we are win this.

Save local cricket reporting!

Its come to my attention that Trinity Mirror, who own most of the local newspapers in the west midlands including the Birmingham Post and Mail and the Coventry Evening Telegraph are cutting back staff and will no longer devote time and resource to local cricket from September. Brian Halford and George Dobell, who of course cover the travails of the Bears and Pears, will no longer be dedicated to cricket and may not even continue working at the newspapers.

Sadly another sign of the football-mania that inhabits the media, its all football football football and other sports only make an appearance when things go really well or really badly. I am a big football fan myself before anyone asks but i can't see the point of endless pages of transfer speculation (which are usually nonsense anyway), boring player interviews and columns (which so often arn't written by them anyway) and insider info (so to speak) on groin strains.

Anyway it has been suggested on a forum that e-mail addresses you can write to are and though this is part of a wider cutting back in regional media. The overall trend in many areas in this country for decades now has been the homogenization of the country, getting rid of local brands and replacing with national and international ones. Thats why so many town centres are the same.

Its a blow to county cricket in any case, another example of the game disappearing from mass view. The ECB made a long term mistake when they plumped for Sky only for cricket, now their coverage is great (apart from Bob Dylan Willis) but the game has vanished domestically for so many people. The Premiership Rugby has just negotiated highlights with ITV why couldn't there have been at least T20 highlights somewhere terrestrially? Of course the ECB will say no one apart from Sky bid but maybe they didn't think it was worth it and that Sky were already the preferred choice because of before?

Oh well off to the Home Of Cricket ((c) Nick Knight) to watch the Bears against Derby later...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bell watch - second ODI vs South Africa

South Africa 83ao, England 85-0

South Africa, are you Warwickshire in disguise? Another good day in the office for Bell, 28 unbeaten runs (still some commentator moans of course) and a near run-out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Warks vs Surrey - Pro40

Surrey 238-5, Warwickshire 217ao

I was thinking of going to this today but the pressing needs of a neglected garden changed my mind, good job then. Trotty got 92 and Troughton 41 but not much elsewhere. The bad run of form continues, sorry to say but Maddy seems to be a jinxed captain. The Bears were pretty average early in the season but their good run of form coincided with his injury and Westwood's captaincy now Maddy is captain again we haven't looked forward. Could be sheer coincidence of course but due to my sincerely held pagan beliefs i don't believe in coincidence, or something like that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Glamorgan vs Warks - Pro40 in Cardiff

Glamorgan 218-7, Warks 88ao

WHAT?! The Bears obviously going for this year's comedy performance, Groenewald and Woakes top scored on 31 each, Chris Martin hilariously was next with 7. Yes Chris Martin was the next highest scorer. Brutal.

Bell watch - first ODI vs South Africa

Not a bad day at the office, 35 runs, a run-out and a catch. Of course the commentators are moaning. IR Bell could singlehandedly end global warming, cure cancer and end world poverty and still people would moan.

Warwickshire making progress on ground redevelopment plans

The club are making good progress on their plans for ground redevelopment including it's "iconic" new pavilion (groan). More properties on the Pershore Rd have been purchased and Birmingham City Council are prepared to lend the Bears the money needed. Getting planning permission should also be a done-deal. Money remains the main sticking point as always.

According to a report earlier in the year the club may have to borrow up to £30 million to fund the new pavilion however this may be offset by the sale of part of their existing ground plus the Pershore Rd properties to build a retail and housing development. Povey has warned it could all go wrong however because of the difficult current climate, indeed this rain is troublesome.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From the photographic archives

Looking through some dusty folders on my computer i came across this couple of photographs showing the thrills and spills of 2nd XI action at Walmley CC. Yeah my camera could do with a zoom lens i admit. Home team was the Bears 2nd XI of course, the pictures are from 2004 which means (i think) the opposition was Hampshire 2nd XI. Hampshire were batting, you can see Keith Piper walking away on the left in the first pic.

A little bit more clear is this photo of the old scoreboard before it went all digital.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The downfall of TMS?

At the risk of sounding like the Daily Mail or Telegraph and bemoaning the continual destruction of Great Britain i notice that Mike Selvey has criticised Test Match Special for becoming too laddish, that's after he was dropped from the programme so no bias there of course. He has a slight point, some of the new presenters from Radio 5 are a bit different and their cricket knowledge is questionable as TMS presenters have always been very professional and knowledgable of course (Blowers *cough*).

I've been listening to TMS this Summer as always and enjoyed it as always, as a working class oik myself i enjoy the banter of Tufnell and the others. Simon Mann is quite good, Mark Pougatch i could do without maybe. There are still plenty of off-the-wall anecdotes and cakes, so all is well. The Empire has yet to fall.

The Web 2.0 side of TMS (blog, Flickr et cetera) is a welcome addition i feel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Should the Champions Trophy be in Pakistan

Various countries are umming and ahhing about whether to go to the Champions Trophy in Pakistan considering the "security situation" in the country, England received a briefing on the security measures from the ICC today. Apparently Sri Lanka, a country wracked by civil war and terrorism, is hilariously on standby to be the alternative venue. I suspect if the IPL or Champions League was being played in Pakistan everyone would be going there without a second thought.

Unfortunately most countries in the cricket world have some sort of strife or internal problems including this one with it's dozens of active terrorist cells if you believe the authorities (which i don't personally).

Scotland vs England - Poonia falls

NS Poonia c Patel b Bresnan 0 (3b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Oh dear.

Test cricket : "They're dying Jim." "Let them die!"

Test cricket is under attack from the new kid on the block (well 5 or so years old kid) Twenty20 of course. Apart from here and Australia test match attendances are rather low, pitifully low in some cases so the England desire to keep test match cricket special is not really shared by some other countries, especially India who now run the game (de-facto).

The T20 Champions League has been rescheduled and now clashes with England's test series in India in December. The Champions League final will be the day before the first test starts which could make for some interesting overnight travel for some players. Boards such as Australia and South Africa maybe are more keen on protecting test cricket but they need the cash from joining the Indian-led T20 money train.

So what should happen then, should we strive to maintain test cricket or just bow to the inevitable? Test match cricket is profitable here but unfortunately even if that remains the case here for other countries it is less of a priority and players will start to opt out of a 5 days test match grind in return for a few hours work that may yield much more money. Weaker teams and finally no teams at all may mean test match cricket dies even in England.

Still lets hope T20's amazing expansion cools down, to be honest i think T20 does need to come down a bit to remain sustainable. Unfortunately cricket is currently run like any capitalist system and short term gain is all that matters.

Scotland vs England - battle of the Bears

England have travelled up to Scotland to play them in an ODI, part of England's warm-up before their T20+ODI series against South Africa. Interestingly not only is Ian Bell lining up for England but there is a Warks player lining up for Scotland too. Navdeep Poonia of course though he hasn't been on the best of form lately only getting a couple of low scores in the last championship match against Essex (the weather made that game not the easiest to play in though, especially as an opening batsman).

The weather could be a problem today too, the forecast doesn't look too promising. Currently drizzling up in Edinburgh apparently.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Members angered by Ashes ticket policy

Members have been voicing their anger on various fora because of the situation with half-memberships and Ashes tickets. The half-year memberships were introduced in May and were quite a good deal at £65 offering 70% of the season for 40% of the cost. 1000 people took up this reasonable offer and now they have equal precedence with full-members to procure Ashes tickets. This of course meant that people who paid 40% got tickets instead of people that paid 100%. This ticket policy was defended by Povey (the CEO) in the Birmingham Post.

No doubt some people have taken the half-membership just to get Ashes tickets (one caller to the radio a few days ago admitted it) and in some cases the member discount they can get is greater than the £65 the half-membership costs. You do the math. Some full-time members have also said they will consider getting a half-membership next year instead though Povey says it may not be offered again.

I'm not that interested in test match tickets though to be honest, i prefer watching it on TV. The first 2 times i went to Edgbaston (and saw live cricket) were in tests though. The first time was New Zealand a long time ago (Hadlee was still playing) and the second to see the WI destroy England. I saw Atherton come out like a man coming out to a firing squad and i got badly sunburnt. Hooray!

Warks vs Essex CC @ Edgbaston

What is it with the rain these days? It used to be torrential rain was a 1-2 times a year phenomena but now it seems 1-2 times a month... or even a week. My eco-warrior boss will of course call this evidence of climate change so we have to live in a hut made from recycled Warwickshire yearbooks and drinking our own urine. So this match only really got started on the 3rd day but Warwickshire, who batted, decided they would get a move on and ended up 154 all out. At stumps Essex are 38-2.

As there is only 1 day left it looks like this match could be a draw though if the Bears collapse in their second innings as they did in their first then you never know!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

T20 for Olympics 2020?

The Aussies are leading a growing campaign to get the T20 form of cricket into the Olympics in time for 2020, obviously they know its 1 more guaranteed gold medal. Adam Gilchrist is leading the push to return cricket to the Olympics. It was in the original games of course, though cricket not being back since means England comfortably remain Olympic cricket champions. Steve Waugh has added himself to the campaign.

Cricket should be in the Olympics to be honest, its a much bigger sport than some that are in already. So why not? 2020 is some way off of course, 12 years though someone like Alistair Cook could feasibly feature in it. It could be a teenager currently playing county cricket today could be leading England to Olympic glory in Pyongyang or wherever the 2020 Olympics are held.

Monday, August 4, 2008

England captain?

Who should be the England cricket captain now that MP Vaughan has finally stepped down? Obviously the answer is myself but that's probably too left-field a selection. KP Nuts is the pick of many a pundit and it could likely be him but i'd rather the captaincy went to someone with a bit of experience in the job. I'd like to see Robert Key given the gig, though of course there is a problem with him not being a current test team player. However the last time he was in the side he did score a double century at Lord's in front of the Queen so he isn't that bad a player.

A problem with central contracts is that players often do not get to play for their counties anymore and hence do not get much captaincy experience. Of course some players can respond to the challenge, for Warwickshire i always thought Ian Westwood was a fringe player and maybe would never make it but he was made captain after injury to Darren Maddy and responded brilliantly, not only did the team start winning but his own batting form really responded well.

But then again there are cases like Iron Bottom and Flintoff who's performances have suffered when given the added burden of captaincy. Both were top class all-rounders though so perhaps the fact they never could relax was the problem. Anyway we'll find out later...

Update : well it was KP anyway. What a surprise!