Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New membership options

This week i (like all members) received a letter outlining changes to membership and the introduction of a two-tier membership. If you want to sit in the shiny new pavilion then you will have to pay extra! Even the "city membership" option for the plebeians is more expensive than this year (though inflation et cetera). In this you get the existing facilities at the opposite side of the ground to the new pavilion.

If you are flushed with cash you can pay for 6 years all at once and get a discount, you'll have to dole out a lot of cash though.

I can't afford that but am unsure yet what to do with my membership, maybe its time to just get a season ticket as i seldom sit in the members' area anyway. Though i have this dilemma every year and always renew...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aldi at the Home Of Cricket

"Plans for a budget supermarket store to be built next to Edgbaston Cricket Ground has been approved despite complaints from some residents that it will lower the tone of the area.

As well as worries over traffic congestion, particularly on busy Test Match days, residents turned their noses up at the Aldi scheme, saying that the cut price grocer did not fit in the area and would drive down house prices..."

Ohhh get them! The real rich shop at places like Aldi and Lidl all the time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Morgan strikes first blood in lengthy Ashes battle

They say you can have too much of a good thing and although I agree we are rapidly heading for Ashes overkill, Tuesday’s ODI win over the old enemy was gratefully welcomed given our appalling performance against them in limited overs matches last year.

This summer's series, part of the Aussies rescheduled tour of Pakistan, is very much a precursor for this winter's Ashes series down under. Normally both parties would now be studiously planning their tactics, examining the opposition and pointing out any weaknesses.

But with the teams thrown together in international competition six months too early, what we have is an Ashes cold war, with both teams psyching each out and seeking to give away as little as possible.

It is perhaps no surprise then that the firs t game at Hampshire’s Rose bowl was so tightly contested. After 20 overs England were 97 for 4 while Australia's similar early wobble left them at 98 for 4 after 21.2. Then, at the half way point of each innings, Australia were 112 for 4, England were 115 for 4. All specialist batsmen on each side got into double figures, with just one on each side going on and claiming a half century. In a match as tight as this it is often down to one individual to push on and produce a world-class spell, with either bat or ball, to swing the game.

Australia had Michael Clarke to thank with a battling 87 to nudge their score up to 267. England had Eoin Morgan, who hit 14 boundaries across all areas of the ground to make a splendid maiden ODI century.

It is Morgan's ability to finish off games which has really turned the one day side from a competent outfit to one that can nudge over the line when things are tight.
I freely admit the levelling between the two sides is as much to do with a decline among the Australia squad as it is an improvement within England's ranks. But after generation of bowing down to arguably the greatest Aussie team in history a chance to play them - and beat them - on a level playing field is a welcome one. The Ashes odds still suggest Australia are the most likely victors, but this will give England hope.

This win is a happy follow up to the T20 World Cup victory over Australia and long may it continue - all the way to the Gabba on November 25th.

Meanwhile, the England football team are still looking to justify their World Cup odds as they attempt to progress to the second round of the tournament.
They face a crucial game with Slovenia later this afternoon and only a win will guarantee their progression.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On (fairly) local ground

Walmley CC is my local(ish) cricket ground. Well the nearest ground where a Warwickshire team play anyway. Not that Edgbaston is that far away. Anyway the Warwickshire 2nd XI started their annual game at Walmley today, this year a friendly against Derbyshire. I always go and see a bit of this game when i can. Its a bit earlier this year, the last few years the game has either been in August (which is one of the few times in the year i am holiday restricted) or the weather has been terrible. Today the weather was fine, if a bit cool. The Bears were batting, and here are some pics from the first couple of hours play.
Now this pic i am quite proud of. 80% luck though. I need a better camera to be honest.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

T20 glory amid reality TV overload

Men cannot multi-task they claim. Last night i proved that was nonsense! I managed to watch the Junior Apprentice, the Big Brother housemate entrances and the Bears' T20 match against Derbyshire at the same time (on TV the latter not live). And tweet about all 3 at the same time too! I must admit though that the Apprentice had most of my attention. Those strange helmets the Bears were wearing though probably came a close second. The Bears won, but if they hadn't the dissappointment would only have been second to Mr T not entering the BB house.

Lawrence Booth: Trott a victim of media narrative

"The cover line on Monday’s g2 – the Guardian’s supplement – had prospective London mayor and former Labour MP Oona King complaining: ‘As a black woman you have to be ten times as good to get a tenth as far.’ While leaving that one to the sociologists – and retreating inevitably into a cricketing analogy – I was put in mind of Jonathan Trott: the white South African who has to score twice as many runs to get half as far.

This is to simplify of course (neither is it intended to belittle Oona King). But it’s possible that no England Test double-centurion has been greeted quite so lukewarmly since Geoff Boycott was dropped after taking 183 overs to score 246 against India at Headingley in 1967..."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is Finn our Ashes secret weapon?

After snaring 15 wickets in two tests against Bangladesh Steven Finn is seen by many as a shoo-in for the Ashes test squad next winter.

The six foot seven inch tall Middlesex paceman appears to have all the attributes required to be a success on the hard bouncy pitches down under, and his recent impressive performances add credence to that. The cricket betting always suggested Bangladesh would be brushed aside, but he still managed to impress.

However, Finn is to be withdrawn from the international arena as quickly as he burst on it, after the ECB confirmed he is to miss the upcoming one day matches with Australia in order to undergo strength and conditioning programme, similar to the one recently undertaken by Stuart Broad.

The fact his absence denies the Aussies a close look someone who will surely be one of their opponents next winter has certainly raised a few eyebrows. However, I don't believe the ECB have deliberately taken him out of the firing line to hinder the Australian preparations for next winter. They obviously have a long-term development plan with Finn and such strengthening exercises are part of that. But the fact it is Australia who miss out on seeing his talents first hand must be seen as an added bonus.

A key weakness in England's bowling attack last time out in Australia was their failure to utilise pace and bounce. Humid, clouds covered days are not a common occurrence in the Aussie summer as they are here, so the England selectors have obviously pin pointed Broad and Finn as having the attributes required to adapt to local conditions. The Ashes cricket odds suggest England will struggle to retain the urn and a lot will rest on their bowlers if they're to cause an upset.

I think once more the media have got slightly carried away with Finns' progress - comparisons to Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose are laughable at present. But he certainly has potential and the most pleasing aspect of it is the ECB appear to know how to help him realise it.