Friday, May 28, 2010

My first published sports photograph

A proud day, one of my cricket photographs appears in the Birmingham Post this week via their flickr group. And the picture is this one of Neil Carter. I am genuinely proud of that picture but there was more luck than skill involved, at the distance the players are usually away from me in the ground i am pushing my little Olympus' zoom to the limit.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well done Graeme Swann

The naming of Graeme Swann as ECB Cricketer of the year was thoroughly deserved after a fantastic 12 months for the Nottinghamshire spinner.

It is a personal reward that recognises his contribution to England's success, which has seen them reclaim the Ashes and win their first ICC trophy - the T20 World Cup.
He beat off competition from Stuart Broad, Andrew Strauss, Paul Collingwood and James Anderson – a strong category that reflected England's promising year.

So what about the stats? Well he snared 99 wickets at 26.26 and picked up five five-wicket hauls in 45 matches for England, across all forms of the game. His best effort was 5 for 28 against Australia at the Riverside last September in an ODI, after he played a key role in England's successful bid to reclaim the Ashes.

Following a career-best ten-wicket haul in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh in March, he rose to become the world's number two bowler. As a batsman, he averaged over 25 with a top-score of 85 against South Africa in the first Test at Centurion in December.

But apart from being handy with both bat and ball Swann, out of all the England players, encapsulates the spirit of the side that is so key to its success. From the outside he appears carefree, the joker who never takes anything seriously. However, scratch the surface and you realise he is a fiercely determined cricketer who is grateful for the chance to represent his country after appearing to miss the international boat earlier in his career.

Swann doesn't have much time to savour his award as he prepares to take on Bangladesh in the first Test of the English summer. It is the start of a hectic calendar for the players with the Ashes series Down Under on the horizon. The cricket betting odds suggest England will have a tough time retaining the urn.

That is clearly on the minds of the selectors with Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood rested for the first Test, while the inclusion of pacemen Steven Finn and Ajmal Shahzad shows the selectors are looking to find a pace bowler who can utilise those hard, bouncy pitches in Australia. I expect England to wrap up a series win against the Bangladeshis but far greater challenges lie ahead.

Meanwhile, in football news, the World Cup 2010 betting still makes England third favourites for the tournament despite an unconvincing win over Mexico on Monday night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can we dream the impossible dream

Following the dramatic events in the Warwickshire 1st innings in their current match against Lankyshire at Edgbaston when the Bears amassed 113ao in reply to 354 (and 69 of those coming from Carter - no one else made double figures) the Bears looked to be in trouble to say the least.

Especially when the northerners scored 199 in their next innings and set the Bears an Earth shattering target of 441. No doubt the Bears felt like Liechtenstein having to face the Red Army in battle. They didn't get off to a good start either in what looked to be "interesting" conditions with 3 down in short order.

But cometh the hour cometh the... er... Trott! The Bears ended the day on 263-6 with Trott still there on 102*. 178 more to win but with only 4 wickets left... can we dream the impossible dream? You never know. Well i think this every time there is a lottery and i am not a millionaire yet so i am not getting my hopes up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

England win the cup

England have won the World T20, the first ICC world limited overs title they have won. During the final with Australia (which England won comfortably in the end) the commentators listed the previous 4 finals England had been in and lost. I remember the second final, which was the world cup final against Australia in India.

Well i remember only 1 things from it really, when England were on the verge of defeat and the scoreboard in those days was an all-screen graphic with a little window for the live video and i remember seeing Gladstone Small going out to bat in that little window. A surreal memory.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can England go all the way?

It is an unusual thing for an England cricket fan to experience, but after another convincing win at the World Twenty20 in the West Indies, there is growing belief the side can win the whole competition.

Too often in the past England have stumbled along in major tournaments and relied on other results to drag them through to the later rounds. With Pakistan's win over South Africa ensuring England's progress this time round, the stage was set for a New Zealand win that would have sealed their place in the last four and highlighted England’s deficiencies.

But instead, England romped home far comfortably than the final score line suggested. Their progress in the Caribbean has been smooth and efficient, suggesting England have finally cracked the shortest form of the game. Indeed, this is reflected in the cricket betting which now makes them second favourites for the competition.

Coach Andy Flower certainly seems to have hit upon a winning formula in his team selection. The long wait for an effective opening partnership in this form of the game looks to be over, with Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb's lusty blows at the top of the innings finally giving England a consistent platform for victory that has been absent in previous matches.

In the middle order Owain Morgan has provided a steady influence, while Tim Bresnan's blossoming international career was highlighted by a miserly one for 20 with the ball before a battling 23 not out with the bat.

The presence of two spinners, with Greame Swann and Michael Yardy working in tandem, also adds balance of the team - the suffocation of the South African batsmen was a case in point.

Some doubts still remain, the form of captain Paul Collingwood is worrying and the departure of Kevin Pietersen is definitely a blow, but England's performances so far suggest they have hit upon a winning system.

If they can maintain the momentum gain in the Caribbean so far, there no reason why they can't go on and end their 35 year wait for an international trophy.

Meanwhile, in football news, England remain second favourites in the World Cup 2010 betting after Fabio Capello named a provisional 30-man squad for the tournament.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unstoppable Bears

Amid the chaos of a general election one fact has come to the fore which truly shakes the world to it's foundations. Learned men in the great capitals of the world are rubbing their heads in puzzlement, computers furiously number crunch petabytes of data but to no avail. This mystery has baffled the world and taken up countless hours of TV across the world. The Bears have seemingly become unbeatable.

Today's victory over Durham in the CB40 is yet another Earth shattering event of such magnitude the LHC operators in CERN ran panic stricken from their laboratories for a while as they mistook the events unfolding at Edgbaston as a black hole opening up deep below Switzerland.

It followed on from a famous victory over Kent at Canterbury which was probably the greatest victory since Trafalgar and last week's rout of the Foxes who will probably wish they had been shot instead like the one at Hove. And of course can we forget the awesome victory over Hampshire? No we never will. Er which one was that again?

Can this amazing run continue? Lets just enjoy it while it lasts, maybe everything we have grown up to know and expect is wrong. Maybe up will now be down. Maybe ants will take over the world. Maybe something even more weird could happen like the Liberal Democrats get into power?