Category: Regulars (page 1 of 35)

Cambridge MCCU v Middlesex CCC – match report

Edwardian writes:

Cambridge is heaving at the best of times, but taking the quiet back streets from the station to Fenner’s was very pleasant. A few ‘good mornings’ and I was there by 10.30am.

I was there to meet my wife’s uncle Spike who said he would do his best to get there before eleven, having had to help his wife set up her vegan demo on the market place.

I had prepared German salami sandwiches with Stoke’s Dijon mustard. The pavilion was pretty much empty save for a few sterling souls roaring the tea urn to life and preparing lunch no doubt.

I bought a water from the bar and was asked whether, ‘I was in or out?’ With all the Brexit shenanigans in mind I was reluctant to say ‘out’ but I had my sandwiches after all.

Spike strolled in with his usual, ‘hello chief’ and we settled down for the day’s play. The pavilion got a bit livelier, so much so that we comprised a heavy throng of perhaps 15 people.

Spike proposed a beer and we sank a couple of Old Speckled Hens. As the sun rounded on the pavilion everything went a bit hazy and my scorecard went a bit nuts. I gave up on it.

Spike decided that Akil Greenidge was a cricketer to look out for in the near future. At lunch the players came in and began to wind in a lunch that was spicy, I think. Spike had designs on lunch in his car, so we ambled across the outfield and worked our way through the salami sandwiches, Spike’s neat smoke salmon numbers and a half-bottle of Italian white wine.

We talked about cricket in Italy, Zambia and Warsaw. Back in the pavilion before 2pm I needed to loose off the beer and wine and found myself next to Steven Finn at the urinals.

Play started again, and as keen as I am, the world went hazy again in a very nice way. Three of my companions were already asleep and I was drifting off too before one old chap said to no-one in particular, ‘Poulson, now that’s a very interesting name.’

Everyone was awake now and waiting for the punchline. Five minutes or more passed before he said, ‘I went to school with someone called Poulson.’

I had dinner priorities, so had to leave at 5pm, I have to say, reluctantly.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v Pakistan at Old Trafford – match report

We went to the second Test between England and Pakistan. It was one of your ‘on and off’ type days where the line between raining and not raining becomes blurred.

Having greatly enjoyed the timeless rope dragging technique at Bristol earlier in the summer, we were interested to see whether Old Trafford’s ground staff would also resort to this old and ineffectual tactic for combating surface water.

They did. And being a Test match ground, they also took things up a level.

Not only was the rope dragged by two motorised vehicles, but the drivers also ensured that they went either side of the stewards positioned on the pitch, forcing each of them to jump over the rope. As they slowly approached each one, the crowd treated itself to the slow-build crescendo cheer usually reserved for hat-trick deliveries.

As with every other visit to Old Trafford, “The Device” got an airing. It occurs to us that we’ve never actually shown you “The Device,” so here’s a picture.

IMG_20160724_122518602_HDR

In this shot “The Device” is fulfilling its secondary ‘makeshift table’ function, but you can easily imagine it being deployed for a quadruple carry back from the bar.

“The Device” has been rigid and dependable for its entire 20-year career. It is the Misbah-ul-Haq of pint-carrying contraptions.

Midway through the afternoon, we noticed that there was a permanently non-illuminated square on the big screen. Not only was this distracting for replays when it was often a similar size to the ball, it also raised the distinct possibility of an accidental Hitler whenever there was a close-up.

You can see it looming threateningly in this shot.

stokes-stache

Your imagination can do the rest.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Lord’s net practice report

Ged’s car, Dumbo the Suzuki Jimny writes:

A few weeks after my run in with the law and failed attempt to see Lord’s, Ged organised another out and about day, to include work, a house visit and eventually another net at Lord’s with Charley “The Gent” Malloy and Escamillo Escapillo. After my frustrations last time, I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation; I so wanted to see Lord’s this time.

Same routine as last time with the cricket coffin, kit bag, work papers bag and tarpaulin in my trunk. This time we set off much earlier in the day. We went to the same big office building in Hammersmith as last time; again I waited hours and hours for Ged. I also waited a couple of hours while Ged visited Paco Palma.

Paco Palma, according to Ged, was a child prodigy and is one of the finest flamenco and rock guitar virtuosi around. I was therefore a little surprised that Ged had not brought Benjy the Baritone Ukulele with him, as I imagined that Ged might be going over to Paco’s place for a jam, or perhaps that Ged had been engaged by Paco to provide some neophyte instruction on the finer details of alzapúa or rasgueado or whatever.

I thought we might visit the Oval on the way to Lord’s, as we were just round the corner from there and had bags of time, but Ged insisted that we go straight to Lord’s.

“Whoah, Dumbo,” said Ged. “Steady, boy,” as I excitedly accelerated to see the actual ground.

Soon enough, it came into view; the hallowed turf, that lush field of dreams, the home of cricket itself. “It’s a bit smaller than I expected, Ged.  And where’s the pavilion gone?” I said/asked.

“You’re looking at the Nursery Ground, Dumbo,” said Ged patiently. “The main ground is over there”.

I wanted to go round with Ged to see the main ground, but he said I had to park up and watch the Nursery Ground instead.

“Can I park actually on the turf, like I did on the second pitch at Uxbridge?” I asked.

“I don’t think that would go down too well with Mr Hunt, the groundsman,” said Ged.

When Ged, Charley and Escamillo came out from their net they were in high spirits. They had met the man who coached Alex Hales when he was a youngster – at table tennis rather than cricket, but still: Alex Hales’s coach. More importantly, all of them felt they had netted much better this time, both with bat and ball. Ged had even cleaned up Charley’s stumps with one of his deceptively straight moon balls, which always makes Ged happy. We’d all had a great day.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Somerset v Glamorgan, Royal London One-Day Cup match report

taunton

Sam writes:

It rained on the drive from Cornwall to Somerset. We had left our 18-month old son at home, and brought along our 34-year-old friend instead. He turned out to be slightly lower maintenance.

The seating rules were not clear, so we plonked ourselves behind the bowler’s arm underneath the new pavilion.

Taunton has a lot of pavilions.

Before leaving the house, my wife had asked if I had washed the strawberries. I said yes. Mistake number one. As noon approached, she turned to me and said ‘Well done on washing the strawberries’. I told her I hadn’t actually washed them. Mistake number two. A mini argument ensued. I decided to sulk by not eating my lunch until 2pm.

Our friend suggested we “do a circuit”. My wife didn’t know what that meant. We explained the concept of doing a circuit. We left it until the break between innings. Mistake number three.

There were lots of pictures of Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards on the walls. “How are we going to cope when Sir Viv Richards dies?” I asked. Nobody seemed to know.

We visited the shop to buy a mini cricket set for our son, then the bookshop to pick up a cricket-themed romance novel for £1.

sams-son

I discovered a programme from the 1992 England v Pakistan Test at Edgbaston. I once owned that programme, aged seven. Leafing through, it brought back some overwhelming emotions. If I had a therapist, I would have been straight on the phone to him.

I had brought along some Waitrose Country Slices, to much ridicule. “They look vile,” my friend said. All the more for me, I thought gleefully. I ate all six.

In the afternoon we started feeling sleepy and went in search of refreshment. I ordered a latte and discovered a tea bag hidden inside. “That can’t be right”, I said. Nobody seemed to know.

Marcus Trescothick was wandering around the perimeter. “Must be nice to walk around like you own the place,” my wife said.

Back in Cornwall, we went for a curry. We skipped starters and poppadoms. I had prawn saag and lemon rice. My wife offered to drive the rest of the way home so I could have another pint.

We finished the day scrolling through YouTube trying to find footage of that time Gareth Batty and Peter Trego had a fight. We couldn’t find it. We ended up watching a video of Jade Dernbach showing off the contents of his kitbag.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Middlesex v Yorkshire at Lord’s – day one match report

Ged writes:

This was to be my last sighting of live cricket this season; even though it was a day one at Lord’s, I knew I was to be busy working or otherwise not around for the rest of the match.

As tradition now has it, Charley “the Gent” Malloy joins me for a day during that last County Championship match of the season.

I was starting to run out of new ideas for picnic food for this season, but Daisy had started a new weekend fad of buying amazing smoked fishes from the Polish deli in Ealing.

The weekend before this match, in a fit of over-enthusiasm, Daisy had bought, amongst other smoked delicacies, a whole smoked eel. Smoked eel is one of my favourites as well as one of hers, but a whole smoked eel is a big fella. I suggested that Daisy might donate some of the smoked eel to the Ged and Chas Picnic Benevolent Society. She agreed wholeheartedly.

The night before, I mused about the picnic and decided to safeguard proceedings by procuring some nice juicy prawns as well, so that if Chas really didn’t go for eel, I could eat two eel rolls and Chas could eat two prawn ones.

An early trip to the bakers (Championship matches start at 10.30am in September, remember) secured a couple of particularly interesting breakfast muffins and two big bagels.

Of course Chas was at the ground in good time. Of course we nabbed a couple of prime seats on death row before the start of play. Naturally I outlined the proposed picnic. Chas exclaimed that he didn’t think he’d ever tried smoked eel before but that he’d enjoy giving it a try.

So, we enjoyed our prawn muffin jobbies late morning while still on death row, then the smoked eel bagels a bit later in the day.

Chas showed little emotion in the matter of the eel bagels at the time. I think he might have mentioned that his all-time favourite remains the wild Alaskan salmon, but that hardly needs saying. He did say that he liked it, so I thought that was a pretty successful variation on our picnic theme.

The next day, however, I got a kindly thank you email from Chas (as usual) that also included the following short paragraph:

“I think I have yet another phobia – you guessed it, smoked eel! What is completely ludicrous is I actually liked it but can’t mentally cope with eating it, I’m a little troubled with all of that!”

I responded with the following wise words and links on the matter:

“Eels are simply elongated fish; nothing weird about them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eel

…unless you jelly them rather than smoke them, the former being kinda Essex weird…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jellied_eels

No doubt Charley and I will discuss the matter of eels some more when next we meet, which at the time of writing up this match report (April 2016) will be very soon indeed – like, next week. But I’ve taken the hint, so it won’t be “eel meat again” for the start of the 2016 season.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Middlesex v Warwickshire match report

Balladeer writes:

One of the few things I knew was vital was preparation. One doesn’t just take any old food to The Home of Cricket. So I pondered my options. Waitrose? M&S? Selfridges, for the extra touch of privately educated class?

Alas, I also had to pick up some washing tablets, so Sainsbury’s it was. But I did at least go for the Taste The Difference range. I was particularly proud of my tomato and red pepper ciabatta, containing, as it did, a cricket pun in its very name.

So did I “rock up” – as the young folks say when they’re not busy trading STIs like they’re Pokémon cards (so I hear) – to Lord’s in good time to get lost and wander aimlessly around, trying to find (a) where one buys tickets and (b) where one sits.

I chose the bottom of the Mound Stand, the coldest bit of the entire stadium. Eventually my cricketing friends, Troubadour and Minstrel, arrived to chip me out and move me into the sun. Which happened to be another part of the bottom of the Mound Stand, twenty feet to my right.

As I was slowly partaking of my rosé and Troubadour of her white, we discussed the nonsense that were ICC alcohol regulations.

“The MCC outright ignores them,” Troubadour informed me. “As for the Oval, nobody checked when I decanted an entire bottle of red into an orange squash carton.”

I made a note on my iPhone, in between checking whether I’d won a “star comment” award on the Cricinfo liveblog. (I had.)

The rest of the day mostly revolved around staring at the back of Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s head (OHD being, incidentally, a ganglotron of the highest order), so I shall cut straight to the three most distressing parts of it.

(3) Two crows gathering on one of the scoreboards, three woodpigeons on the awning, and one seagull on the pitch, making me worry for a cricket-themed remake of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”;

(2) Troubadour, being of the female persuasion, being mistaken for a lazy member of the cleaning staff, and being chased into the one open ladies’ lavatory by a man under that belief. Oddly enough, sometimes women come to watch the cricket as well;

(1) My ciabatta turning out to be focaccia, removing any punning potential; and having gruyere on top. Thus making it completely inedible, because gruyere is disgusting.

“Don’t throw it away!” said Troubadour. “We’ll eat it.”

One focaccia out of four later, they were duly thrown away.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


Warwickshire v Middlesex match report

You may or may not know that the one quality we always look for in a piece of writing is brevity. If you have submitted a match report and seen it hacked to a skeleton, you will know this.

Ged has submitted countless match reports. We semi-regularly tell him to keep them short.

Last time we told Ged we like short writing, he responded by producing a 2,500 word report on a match between Warwickshire and Middlesex, told from four different perspectives.

To save innocent homepage visitors’ scrolling fingers, we have published it here.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v Australia at Old Trafford match report

We went to the fifth one-day international between England and Australia. Cricket-wise, it was your quintessential damp squib, even if the weather was a beautifully sunny, warm, dry squib.

The paper wallet in which the tickets arrived promised music, action and cricket, in that order.

live-music

We assumed this was a reference to Old Trafford also hosting live music events, but as it turned out it was a fairly accurate description of the entertainment on offer on the day.

We saw David Gower striding across the outfield before the match. He’s been looking older on TV, but we were struck by how lithe and spry he remains. Nasser Hussain’s hurried gait was also on display but we didn’t have any strong feelings about this. Tom Moody was there too. We didn’t see him walk much, but we can confirm that he is massive.

tom-moody

Fortunately for the purposes of this match report, we didn’t really see much cricket because for about half the match, Mitch Marsh was standing in the way. Here’s one moment when he was slightly less of a visual impediment.

mitch-marsh

We passed the day having a ‘pie-off’. Various offerings from Stockport’s Lord of the Pies were pitted against the classic meat and potato from Treacle Town Pie Company in Macclesfield.

This competition was not without controversy. It transpired that the pies from Lord of the Pies had been warmed, whereas the Treacle Town pies were cold. Allegations of ‘pie doping’ were bandied about but eventually we decided to just eat the pies and try and factor the relative warmths into our ratings.

The general consensus was that Lord of the Pies offered greater pie diversity, but the standard Treacle Town meat and potato would have been the finest pie, had it been warm.

We wish we had photos of some or all of the pies to share with you, but we didn’t want to encourage the people we were with. At one point two of them – let’s call them Dave and Alex (because those are their names) – were looking at photographs of pies from a previous pie-off, discussing which pie they had eaten at what time of day and which had been the finest. As they were doing this, they were eating pies.

Between innings, there was a competition where six people got to bowl at a washing machine. If they landed the ball inside the drum, they won a washing machine. No-one managed it. While this was going on, one of the Kwik Cricketers took a blinding catch, palming a full-blooded pull shot straight up into the air before pouching the ball as it came back down.

The match finished early and we went and got the tram. At the end of our journey, we discovered that we were due to have pie for tea. After lodging a formal complaint about this, we drank some wine and fell asleep.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v Australia at Edgbaston – day three match report

Ged Ladd’s smartphone, Ivan Meagreheart, writes:

It can be exhilarating, being Ged Ladd’s smartphone; even after the bland ending to our Day Two, we were full of excitement ahead of Day Three. Ged woke me up and I was feeling 100% full of energy, which is as it should be.

Our walk to the ground was mostly uneventful; my colleagues and their apps being the forgotten heroes of earlier treks, now that the humans well and truly knew the best route. However, towards the end of the walk, there was a comedic interlude, when Charley The Gent Malloy, deep in conversation with Harsha Ghoble, fell behind the pack and decided to use his app to find us and the entrance. Naturally, the app took him to the main entrance, as Charley omitted to tell the app that we gather near the Sir Harry’s Pub, using the Pershore Road entrance. So Charley blindly followed the app to the main entrance, where he felt lost again and phoned Nigel for help. Typical human, Charley then blamed his tool rather than his own lack of logic. “How many times have we been to this ground and used this entrance?” mumbled Nigel “Father Barry” White to Ged.

Still, we were soon in the ground well ahead of the start of play.  Ged was hoping/half-expecting that Bert would come and join our little group at some stage during the day, but he never showed up. Bert did, however, have the courtesy to explain why in his own match report.

When the match was over, the 10 Heavy Rollers gathered outside the ground at their traditional farewell point. (Outside the Sir Harry’s Pub, you didn’t need an app to help you guess that). Lemon Peel had kindly stored Ged’s luggage in the back of her motor, so that we could head off on foot to New Street without returning to the Hagley Road hotel. So after the warm goodbyes/farewells, Ged and I wandered off into Birmingham.

We were well early for our train and it was a beautiful afternoon. Sunny with some light cloud, maximum temperature 23 degrees Celsius, breeze less than 5mph. We found an Italian cafe/restaurant with an outdoor terrace, just off the main strip as we approached New Street. Ged killed some time there over a couple of Americano coffees. Then when it got a bit chillier, we went into the station and killed some more time in the Virgin lounge, where Ged drank cranberry juice.

Then onto the 19:30 train.  Months ago, Ged had booked a quiet carriage in first class at low cost, using my arch rival, Ged’s laptop, rather than my app. Spit. Ged continued reading; he even partook of some wine and nosh at this juncture. We were completely unaware of the rest of the train.

When we got off the train at Euston, we suddenly were hit by a wall of sound behind us; thousands of drunken fans singing. The Mitchell Johnson Song. The Joe Root to the tune of Hey Jude song. In the hanger-like acoustic of Euston, the noise was almost deafening. Ged said it reminded him of the We Are the Mods scene from Quadrophenia. Ged’s wrong. There was no Phil Daniels, no Lesley Ash, we were at Euston, not Brighton, there were no mods, no rockers and (be realistic, this was a train full of cricket fans) no ultra-violence. There weren’t even any Australian antagonists; at least none that you could see or hear.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


England v Australia at Edgbaston – day two match report

Ged Ladd’s smartphone, Ivan Meagreheart, writes:

It can be quite exhausting being Ged Ladd’s smartphone; day one of the Edgbaston Test had been such a day. Normally a good rest overnight and I recharge my batteries without difficulty, but I had a bad night and in the morning I felt even more run down than I had the night before.

Ged went to put the kettle on and the cause of my low energy was revealed to him.  Although the lights were working, the sockets around the walls were all dead. Ged spoke to a member of staff and the problem was sorted very quickly. Ged let me lie in for 90 minutes or so before we set off for the ground and promised that I’d be allowed to rest for most of the day. Ged certainly wouldn’t need me to look up the cricket score today.

Soon enough several other Heavy Rollers turned up. There would be 10 humans this year, perhaps a record number. First to arrive was Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff and his charming pal Biff (possibly the best Northamptonshire batsman never to represent Northants in first class cricket). Soon after that, Harsha Ghoble, famous for getting barracked by the Indian supporters for holding the Indian flag upside down, vintage Trent Bridge, 2002. Then David and his son Dan Peel, chauffeured to our meeting point by their delightful wife/mother (respectively), Lemon. One more, Peter Doubt, would meet us at the ground, so we were ready for the off.

Dan Peel, a local lad, offered to lead the trek from Hagley Road to the ground.  2.1 miles by my reckoning – I have an app for that. Ged insisted that I rest and that we could manage without apps or use other people’s smart phones. Dan took us a fair bit further east into Birmingham than was necessary – which is why humans should never be trusted with directions. The Boy Malloy kept pointing out that his app was suggesting a different route, while Charley “The Gent” Malloy was happily counting his footsteps using his exercise app, delighted that a bit of route confusion was increasing his footstep count.

Eventually we got to the ground, which was heaving with people, but we were in very good time for the start of play. I know – I mustn’t tell you about the cricket. I’m a machine. I can do rules.

To avoid the sorts of Edgbaston shopping confusion described in the final paragraph of the piece linked here, Nigel and Charley had, between them, brought masses of “man nibbles” with them for the outing. Pork pies, sausage rolls, cheese and onion rolls, chocolate marshmallow sandwich biscuits, jaffa cakes – that sort of stuff. And Doritos, naturally. Most of the group washed this feast down with copious quantities of beer, but Ged is off beer these days, so he drank buckets of water instead.

Soon it was time to walk home. The Boy Malloy took charge and insisted that we follow his app home. Even Dan Peel admitted it was a shorter, quicker route.  After changing/charging respectively, Ged and I joined the group for a drink in the hotel bar early evening (Ged imbibed, I didn’t) and most of us went out for a light Italian meal across the road, which was a popular choice with all other than Harsha, who referenced the Bland Food Sketch, but came along anyway and seemed to enjoy his bland evening.

When we got back after dinner, Ged’s power sockets had gone down again, but this time he got someone at reception to put a shilling in that particular meter before bedtime.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


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