Monday, 9 September 2019

Review of the 4th Test v Australia

“Oh Manchester, so much to answer for” lamented the Smiths back in 1984 but it was a couple of other Smiths who grabbed the headlines during this absorbing contest at Old Trafford. Steven for Australia scored a double hundred, Ed for England, picked the same batting line up. This was where England lost the Ashes in Manchester but the reality is that they were lost from the moment that England persisted with a side, that was as fragile as the cotton that gave this city its Victorian wealth. It was a selection that showed myopia, that culminated in this loss down the road from Longsight. Our Prime Minister had less of a humbling defeat in the Commons this week. This is the review of those bloody Australians beating us again…

Cold Trafford...

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Papering Over The Cracks

On the eve of the Old Trafford test match, England are expected to announce a change in positions to their top order but with the same players who have struggled this summer. Ed Smith must feel like a croupier as he shuffles the pack yet again, in order to accommodate those he has selected recently. But are England papering over the cracks? Is the reshuffle the right way to go? Is the selection totally wrong? After all we were only a bit of Ben Stokes magic away from the Aussies retaining the Ashes. We were only a Nathan Lyon misfield from having more inquests than Quincy.

Ed Smith

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Small Guys

"The Grabbing Hands, Grab all they can" sang Depeche Mode back in the early 80's, in the days when commercialism in sport stretched to a Hitachi or a JVC spread across the shirts of the odd football kit. Fast forward thirty six years or so and today sees two very proud football clubs about to go out of business. Clubs are at the heart of their communities and leave a huge hole, as sadly, the residents of Bolton and Bury could be about to find out. But is the same scenario happening in cricket? Despite the wealth of neighbours, are some of the smaller counties being squeezed out by their bosses?

Made in Somerset and Durham

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Review of the best Test Match of all time

"Don't talk to me about culture, ah've been to Leeds", said Harry Enfield's Yorkshireman. Well this was cultural, this was oustanding and no amount of adjectives will do this match report justice. If Test match cricket is dying, this was Lazarus. English fortunes, along with Joe Root's chances of keeping his job, oscillated as they went from bleaker than an Alan Bennett play to jumping around my living room paying homage to Sir Benjamin Stokes. You get some classic Tests. Edgbaston 2005, Melbourne 1982, Headingley 1981, this pipped it. This is a review of the finest Test match that I have ever witnessed.

Handsome Headingley

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Short Stuff

There's been a lot of talk around this week about short pitched bowling. Steve Smith was hit at Lord's and missed the Headingley Test, Jason Roy got hit in the neck off a dog thrower practicing - we even saw Mark Cosgrove flick one off his head on to the slips, reminiscent of Neil Ruddock in weight and heading ability. Batsmen getting pinned isn't a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. However, are they playing the quicks differently in the modern age?


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Review of the 2nd AshesTest v Australia

Lord's. Genteel, lovely Lord's. This was anything but. The 2nd Test was an absorbing contest, with the players on and off the pitch as the St John's Wood drainage system was put to use regularly. Ashes series never fail to disappoint and despite the match ending with honours even, this was an all time classic. It had skill, courage, more medical staff than an episode of Casualty, drama, excitement and a host of other adjectives mixed into a pot pourri of red ball cricket. Some draws have been tedious. Some draws at Lord's have been tedious. This was no dull stalemate in NW8. This will be remembered for a Sussex based Archer causing more havoc than any other since King Harold fancied a rumble with William the Conqueror down at Hastings. This is a review of the Lord's Test...

The Home of Cricket...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Blundred...

Regular readers of these pages know that I'm not a fan of the Hundred. To me, it's fast food, Carling Black Label, Love Island; the out of town retail park of cricket, bound to have the same effect on certain counties as many of our High Streets in the UK. The more I read about it, the less keen I am, although apparently it isn't aimed at me anyway but rather this new generation that will suddenly fall in love with the game. It's due to start next summer and I can't wait to take my holiday during it, even if there are two pounds to the Euro by then. In fact a cruise gutting kelp in the North Sea on a Grimsby trawler boat will do me just fine, just to get away. Here's my view...

Friday, 26 July 2019

England v Ireland - The Quickie

So Ireland played their inaugural Test at Lord’s. England turned up the temperature as London basked in 38 degrees, playing havoc with the plethora of gingers on the pitch. Ben Stokes was rested, left to cultivate freckles in his back garden. If Test cricket was sex, a five dayer would be would be slow, gentle love making – foreplay with a candlelit dinner, maybe some wooing with a theatre ticket. This was a quickie in a back alley. This four day test, was curtailed prematurely, much to the chagrin of many a North Londoner – not the first time in my life this has happened but let’s keep this at professional level, hey? Could Boris get off to a winning start as Prime Minister? Or would he lead us blindly into the Ashes with no future ahead of us? This was a review of the Lord’s Test….


Monday, 15 July 2019

Cricket's Come Home

Finally, it’s over. After 48 matches, over 22,000 runs and nearly 700 wickets, it came down to a Super Over that ended with the scores level, England winning on more boundaries scored. Wider chasms have been known between Rahul Dravid’s bat and pad than these two sides who put on a marvellous spectacle. This had everything – it had drama, it had tension, it had controversy, it had us hiding behind the sofa, it had us turning to Category A drugs and it had me needing to change my boxer shorts at least three times during that wonderful Skittish Sunday in St. John’s Wood. Sponsored by the refreshing London Fields Brewery and their marvellous Hackney Hopster, this is a review of quite possibly the finest game of cricket ever played…


Sunday, 16 June 2019

My World Cup so far...

Just over half way through the group stages and the 2019 Cricket World Cup is starting to take shape. Or it would have taken more shape if it hadn't pissed down with rain all week. The UK has been wetter than a mermaid's gusset this last week, which has kept the group tighter than Phil Tufnell at the bar. There have been empty seats, Channel 4 has decided to show games at times that an insomniac would baulk at and the weather in June, has been about as much fun as watching an episode of Terry and June. Despite this, we have had some brilliant moments so far...Here, in association with The London Fields Brewery is The Middle Stump Guide to the World Cup so far.