Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Most expensive overs?

A great story in the Guardian at the weekend! John Morrison, former coach with Wellington, talks about a single over in first class cricket where 77 (yes, SEVENTY SEVEN) runs were conceded!

Two teams were playing in New Zealand in 1990. One was closing in on the championship and needing a win. The other had nothing much to play for and looked content to see the game out for a draw. The would-be-champions were desperate and wanted to try anything in order to encourage their opponents to make a game of it. With two overs to go and 90 runs to get, Bert Vance stepped up. He proceeded to toss up no-ball full tosses. Lots of them.

The scorers and umpires (and the little fellas clambering all over the old-fashioned score board) were in complete disarray: "no one knew what the hell was going on". It's thought one batsman scored 85 runs in the final two overs. And it ended in arguments as no one was really sure what the score was. Officially it was a draw.

Vance must have bowled something like this - 6 (NB), 4, 6 (NB), 6, 4 (NB), 4(NB), 6, 4(NB), 2, 4 (NB), 4 (NB), 6 (NB), 2, 6 (NB), 4.

Is there someone in the lower reaches of ESCA cricket who could come up with a similar story (except maybe it would be unintentional)?

I know my glorious return to bowling (after "a number" of years) saw me taking a very long opening over and get hit for at least 12. I hit the batsman, bowled at least 2 no balls and 2 wides, got hit for a boundary and ... took a wicket. Off a full toss, naturally.

Or we know of one "Shawbags" who disgusted his regular bowlers by dishing up pies galore - and finished with seven wickets. His last over saw wides and no balls a-plenty (must have been in excess of 15 runs?), with the captain beseeching him to just get through it any which way he could. Of course the over also saw the seventh wicket fall: a huge, skier, straight into the (tiny) hands of our opening bowler.

It's the only time I've seen the ball thrown down with disgust as soon as it was caught.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

'Tis the season to be jolly

An exciting time.

And not just because we had a "bowling challenge" video from Graham Norton. Not just because the ice has melted and we've caught sight of the sun again and not only because I get to listen to the sound of summer beaming over from the West Indies on TMS in the afternoons. And it's not even because our net sessions are now in full flow - all that sweat, blood and foot chafing in excellent facilities (Scotland's National Cricket Academy) that will, IN NO WAY, prepare us for life on the slow, low and damp wickets we'll be sliding on, come April.

No, it's exciting because our new 2009 gear is arriving.

I've not seen any of it yet, but I know that Steve's been drowning under boxes. From the outside it must look like that crap film joke where an endless chain of people get into a small car ... The cellar is probably full by now.

We'll have an update soon on what's looking good. How much of it is simply new labels (and hyperbole) on last year's stock? We'll also have to highlight the most ridiculous marketing associated with this year's stuff. The worst culprit last year was Kookaburra, with their "unleash the beast" nonsense. Jeez.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Celebrity appearance - II

Last year we were delighted to have a bowling challenge entry from the one and only Steve Harmison.

Well, this week we were surprised (if a little bemused) to get the following entry from telly's Graham Norton. The more the merrier, I say.

Right then Graham, show us what you're made of.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Aaaaargh - Hands off my crown jewels

Do I have the right to SEE Strauss trudging off for "not very many"? Shouldn't I get to SEE Pietersen's new facial hair blowing in the trade winds? We're following progress in Jamaica from the icy reaches of Edinburgh, but I'm not going to be able to see any of it.

When I was a lad, you could while away a long, rainy, summer's day watching LIVE test cricket beaming in from sunnier climes. In the multi-channel SKY world things are very different.

The rights and wrongs of ECB's most recent cricket deal are a complicated business. You could argue about the impact of all this TV money on cricket development (in England NOT the UK) and the arcane wranglings that lie behind the UK's statutory categorisation of "class A" and "class B" sport events. There's law that determines what sports events are ring-fenced (the crown jewels of the nation's sport) and MUST be shown on free-to-air TV ...

It's a strange business. What on earth is the logic of the "class B" cricket entry that currently protects the highlights of "test matches played in England". Why oh why oh why would I be more likely to want to see a test from Nottingham than one from the Windies?!

I can understand why LIVE test cricket on the free-to-air TV might be difficult, but highlights? You can't even guarantee seeing 3 seconds of this current test on the news!? What sort of profile is that for the sport?

What is undeniable is that many kids can not be exposed to cricket in the way I was - and this is very short-sighted. Even if TV-money IS being pumped into grass-roots cricket in England, it's still dodgy. The impact of a test series such as "Botham's" in '81 (or Ashes '05) was absolutely huge. EVERYONE was tuning in to see what happened. (Cricket Scotland are doing well, but there is an impression that they are concentrating mostly on the upper reaches of Scottish cricket - your average joe from a state school in Bathgate is still quite unlikely to come across cricket, on TV or otherwise).

So what do you do?

1. Subscribe to Sky? About £40 a month to get a package that includes cricket (and hundreds of channels of PAP). SKY sports presenters tend to make me feel queasy.
2. Streaming broadcasts on the PC? Mmmm. My pc hasn't been very happy with my recent attempts. And it seems SKY might be ahead of the game and have hired some big heavies with sticks to stop those shenanigans.
3. Errr. That's it, short of using your imagination and filming it yourself, with some friends, in the garden.

Well, there's talk that Twenty20 games will be ring fenced for free-to-air live transmission when the current list is reviewed. Great. Better than a poke in the eye with a stump. And praise be Test Match Special on the radio.

PS - if you can be bothered, there are some good discussions of the cricket on tv debate here
and here .

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Injury Diary 2009 - Update 31 January

Saturday 31/01/2009
This Saturday's session saw a staggering 37.5% of badgers (KirkBrae players) get injured!

The highlight has to be Ben: he got hit by the ball in his privates...not whilst batting though! Oh no, a particularly crazy Raja passed the ball back to an unaware Ben, resulting in a grown man rolling around the deck. We also saw a bowler hurt his back whilst batting and Colin once again enjoyed repeatedly mentioning how sore his foot still was...this time resulting from 'slippage' within the shoe!!!!