Month: May 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Laurence Elderbrook warms up for action

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

Nerves are good. Nerves are a sign that a batsman cares, and a batsman with such passion is more likely to be sharp and effective when his moment arrives.

I, Laurence Elderbrook, am not by nature a nervous man, but the tempestuous nature of cricketer errantry has encouraged an exaggerated sensitivity which can only benefit my cricket. I welcome this development for it means I will be that much more effective when I take the field.

The nerves are, however, significant and one cannot allow them to take control. I have always found gin an excellent countermeasure and so dose myself carefully to maintain an optimal balance between performance-enhancing tension and relaxation. I take small glasses regularly throughout the morning, refilling only when necessary.

When I summon Darron-with-an-O, I inform him that there is to be a change in protocol for today’s match – he will be needed for directions only. In my sharpened state, there will be no need for him to enquire whether or not a club requires my presence. I will simply inform them of my participation, for surely no man on Earth would wish to deny the expression of genius.

I have already selected a team to grace. They are a rural side whose ground lies in the most exquisitely bucolic setting and upon arrival I see that the match is already underway. There is no time to waste. I park my car firmly against the pavilion and exit the vehicle to undertake my trusted exercise regimen. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Darron looks on in wide-eyed awe, anticipating the wonders to come.

The pavilion door is a trifle stiff, so I incline my weight towards it. My entrance is appropriately dramatic and the excitement among the onlookers within is palpable.

Whether they recognise me or just instantly comprehend that great feats are about to take place, enthusiasm gets the better of some of their number and they approach me in a state of some feverishness.

Celebrity can at times leave one feeling vulnerable and the exposure of one’s rarities serves only to magnify this sensation. This is perhaps what compels me to unfurl a series of cross-batted strokes in their direction, after which I hare towards a table of victuals to gain energy for what is to come.

Balance is the key to sports nutrition, so I endeavour to consume sandwiches of ham, egg and cheese, rather than placing too much emphasis on any one particular filling. I intersperse my feeding with further swishes of my cricket bat, demonstrating my full range of strokes to my advancing fans.

Perhaps it is the overwhelming nature of the transcendent state in which I find myself, but when I then attempt to round the table and make my way towards the pitch, I gently clip its corner with my hip. As I sprawl to the floor, I ask myself whether it is in fact possible to be functioning on such a level that one can no longer operate on this plane of existence.

I swiftly pick myself up and continue my journey towards my stage. The sward lies before me, but as I exit the building, the doorway strikes my cricket bat. I react swiftly but cannot protect my opposite shoulder from a collision with the opposite side of the door.

As I again journey towards the ground, it is clear what I must do. I must purge my body so as to return it to the terrestrial realm.

On hands and knees, I insert two digits and liberate the gin and sandwiches from my corporeal form. Shortly after this moment, my earthbound consciousness is replaced by something beyond comprehension; something which alas denies me any memory of the innings I played.

When I inform the officer of this later in the day, he is understandably dubious. My cricketing feats are now, quite literally, beyond comprehension. As such, I resolve that this shall be my final performance of the season.

More Laurence Elderbrook

A free Champions Trophy fantasy league – because, why not?

ICC balaclava

We’re going with the ICC’s own fantasy league this time around. It’s free.

If you want to join the King Cricket private league, you’ll need to get a team selected by 10am Thursday, UK time. There’s then a ‘join/create league’ link in the Leagues dropdown.

The private league code for The Cricket Kingdom is 826856-3985

The prize, as ever, is the respect/resentment of your peers.

There are no ones

When selecting your team, you’ll notice that every player has been assigned a value. The values range from 2-10. Either the ICC are innumerate (highly likely) or they’re leaving open the possibility that England might inexplicably call up Jim Foat at the last minute and are giving themselves room for manoeuvre.

You can make transfers

If you’re that way inclined. This still seems to us to be some sort of insane threshold that we will never cross. But who knows? Strangers things have happened.

We remember this one time when we were about eight, Matthew and Gavin were playing Top Trumps and when Matthew lost a card, he threw it in a temper and it arced through the air and landed right on top of the deck in Gavin’s hand.

You think about it like that and maybe there’s a chance that in a fortnight we’ll feel moved to spend 60 seconds replacing Shakib-al-Hasan with someone who’s still taking part in the tournament.

Your players can actually lose points

They’ll be penalised for recording a duck, scoring fairly slowly, bowling wides and no-balls, and for conceding loads of runs.

This seems a good thing. We were sorely tempted to pick a side that could strive for an overall negative score – but frankly we’d already invested time selecting one side and couldn’t be bothered going through the process again. It’s still an option for you though.

England need some E45 cream

Jason Roy edges two cricket balls (ECB via Twitter video)

Jason Roy edges two cricket balls (ECB via Twitter video)

After snatching the second one-day international, England decided to test the notion that they can now win from any position by giddily launching themselves towards 20-6 in the third.

Now 20-6 is definitely a score you can win from, but ideally you’d be fielding when it occurred. South Africa got this part of the equation correct and duly won the game.

On the telly, they said that England’s slump was due to an outbreak of ‘hard hands’.

Skincare is just the sort of marginal gain they really should be on top of. To address this weakness, we recommend that they stock up on E45 cream and/or take up nice cushy office jobs that don’t require them to do any heavy lifting.

So Kumar Sangakkara’s in form then (and not even put off by snapping his bat in half)

Kumar Sangakkara’s last five County Championship innings have been 136, 105, 114, 120 and 200.

Today’s double hundred came in a team total of just 369.

And he wasn’t even put off by snapping his bat in half.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that he’s playing completely the wrong standard of cricket.

We know it’s only mid-season and there are plenty of matches to come, but form like this demands only one thing: that Kumar Sangakkara’s dad get him a Transformer as a reward.

But will he get him one? We doubt it.

Kshema Sangakkara described his son’s four hundreds in four matches at the World Cup as “a good achievement” and went on to outline the yardstick against which he is measured.

“For me, Don Bradman was the ultimate batsman. He scored a century once in every three innings. If you truly consider yourself to be a world-class batsman, you should be able to do that. Kumar did well, don’t get me wrong. But did he achieve his true potential? I don’t think so.”

Tough crowd.

But on the off chance that Kshema’s softening in the twilight days of his son’s playing career, we’re going to recommend that he invest in Ultramagnus as a gift for him.

In vehicle form, Ultramagnus is capable of carrying his mates, so he seems an appropriate choice.

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 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.

South Africa have already choked


We were quite keen to be first off the mark in using the word “choked” to mean “lost a cricket match” in reference to South Africa this summer.

Hopefully we have achieved our aim. When you see the term deployed by others in the weeks to come, be sure to let them know that we were there first.

England’s victory again hinged on their conviction that they should be trying to take wickets throughout the innings.

Chris Woakes was the most wicket-takery bowler on the day, as he quite often is these days. He deserves it for his bowling action alone.

A lot of people coo over the aesthetics of a perfectly executed cover drive. These people have clearly never seen Chris Woakes bowl. He’s like one of those finely calibrated production line robots, only made out of honey.

South Africa choked on honey. It can happen.

Laurence Elderbrook fights and defeats nerves

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

I have concluded that it is irresponsible to open the batting. I am a gifted, match-winning batsman and to expose myself to the vagaries of the new ball is to introduce an element of chance to proceedings when a fair fight would always see me prevail.

This is why, on my next outing as a cricketer errant, I inform the captain that I will be batting at five. By side-stepping unpredictable early movement, I give myself the best possible chance of delivering for a team in need.

Ironically, today’s pitch is a flat one and the team quickly advances to fifty without losing a wicket. They are building a good platform for me; I mustn’t begrudge them that. However, my appearance at the crease may be some way off, so I instruct my squire, Darron-with-an-O, to purchase me a small glass of gin such that I might while away my time until I am needed.

The score grows. The wickets do not fall. I savour a couple more gins lest this interminable wait have some fraying effect on my nerves. Anxiety has met its match in Laurence Elderbrook and I conquer it easily.

At the fall of the third wicket, an onlooker has the temerity to ask whether I am able to bat. Does he not know who I am? I take the only option available to me in such a situation. I let fly a huge bestial roar and strike him on the side of the head with my gin glass.

One of the great challenges of being a cricketer errant is that in many ways one is always an outsider. Over the years I have grown used to members of the opposition taking against me for spurious reasons, but my fleeting appearances as the star player on a team can on occasion breed resentment among even my own team-mates.

That is what happens here as one of the dismissed batsmen – doubtless ashamed and suffering some sort of inferiority complex – sides with my foe and attempts to strike me. With cat-like reflexes I feint to the left, deftly upending a table in the process so as to distract him. Grasping a glass from another table, I instruct Darron to warm-up the motorcar and inform the room that they have forfeited their right to my presence with their boorish behaviour. To drive home the message, I launch the glass at my foe and exit the room.

Later in the week, I return to the ground. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I urinate on the clubhouse door with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

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A featherbed of Roses – The County Championship round-up

They bothered playing some of the County Championship this week. Need they have?

The Roses match

After little more than a day, Jimmy Anderson had succumbed to groin knackage, Jack Brooks had made a hundred and this match already seemed like it was no longer a going concern. All that was really left was for the liquidator to confirm it and Shivnarine Chanderpaul duly obliged. He took what runs he could and the fixture folded. It will be revived next week in a different location.

Middlesex v Surrey

Usually when someone’s got something to prove, it’s a big deal to them; a real “See! I can DO this,” kind of thing. For Kumar Sangakkara it’s more of a gentle little hobby; a few little details he’d still like to fill in around the edges of a large unarguable point made long ago. Kumar made a hundred in each Surrey innings of this match and maybe someone somewhere thought fractionally more of him as a result. Match drawn.

The other match

Jonathan Trott went big for Warwickshire and despite Marcus Trescothick leaving his counter-hundred for Somerset undaddified they ran out of time for anything else to happen.

The other other match

Now this one went somewhere. An Alastair Cook fuelled Essex made a moderately good score and then Jamie Porter took five Hampshire wickets for spit. They won by an innings. We may have to stop thinking of Essex as being inked in for relegation what with their currently being top of the table and all. Surrey are a full point behind.

Which cricket mobile apps do you use (if any)?

ICC mobile app

As the Champions Trophy rolls towards us like the wooden wheel that we made each week in Craft, Design and Technology at school (having always lost the previous week’s wheel at some point in the interim) it seems a decent enough time to pay a visit to the subject of cricket apps on smartphones.

We’ve always maintained our distance from these things up until now, generally having found them to offer much the same information as the internet only in a much less accessible form. However, we’re giving the ICC one a go at the minute and at first glance it seems okay. It’s not too massive and the scorecards feature a little more information than we see on the BBC site.

But what do we know? Nothing, give or take. Do you use a non-rubbish cricket app? What do you get out of it? Leave a comment on the site and let’s see if a consensus magically emerges.

Laurence Elderbrook benefits from the gift of time

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

For once the normally laborious aspect of cricketer errantry was swift. My squire, Darron-with-an-O, secured a slot for me with a local club within minutes of our setting off in my motorcar. I had anticipated a long morning roaming from club to club and so this development was most welcome.

An added advantage was that early arrival gave me more time to properly prepare. I asked the captain to give me ten minutes’ notice of when the match was about to start. This would give me enough time to complete my exercise regimen, allowing me to be perfectly prepared for my innings. With everything in place, I now spent my spare time relaxing with a small glass of gin.

At the appointed hour, the captain gave me the nod and I moved into the car park where I embarked upon my standard routine.

As I was essaying my twenty to thirty mad gambols, a small crowd formed, doubtless keen to pick up some tips. They seemed a band of merry souls, but their mood unexpectedly turned when I made to embark on a series of naked frisks.

Several of their number appeared to take issue with my approach and when I attempted to explain that it was impossible to satisfactorily complete frisks without exposing one’s rarities, they refused to believe me.

A somewhat fractious debate then took place after which I took it upon myself to depart, for the good of all involved. After instructing Darron to deliver my immaculate cream flannels to the motorcar, I headed inside to claim some victuals before exiting the scene with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.

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