Friday, 20 December 2013

The Middle Stump meets Eggsy


John Rutledge aka Eggsy from the band Goldie Lookin Chain is a talented man. Not only a leading MC in the Newport based rap group, he writes comedy, works for MTV and likes his cricket. Having caused controversy a few years ago when GLC played before a Wales versus England football game and dedicating their hit, Your Missus is a Nutter to Victoria Beckham, the band have just finished a UK tour to celebrate their tenth year together as well as having a new album out called The Kings of Carleon. We caught up with Eggsy and discussed Monty Panesar's toilet habits, what doing the Gladstone Small means to all kids in South Wales, Viv Richards haemmorhoids and much more in this interview. Read on for some comedy gold...

CD cover MASTER.jpg
Goldie Lookin Chain

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The T20 long shots

T20 cricket has taken a back seat as attention has switched to losing the Ashes and an otherwise welcome diet of test cricket which will take us through the festive period. After that, it’s back to hit and giggle with a surfeit of the shortest form of the game, starting with the Australians who will be Big Bashing through January.

Chris Gayle...a star of T20

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rantview of the 3rd Ashes Test in Australia

We knew it was coming. For days the English jumbuck has been circled by a pack of success starved dingoes, and in the Perth heat they finally wilted as the Australians feasted on the spoils of the mother country carcass. Like a drawn out kill, we have known this was coming since the second day at Adelaide, and our senior players who have been the fulcrum of recent English success, have been thoroughly outplayed by their Antipodean counterparts. The Baggy Greens have pulled our pants down, had their fun and no Pom likes it. The Ashes are Aussie once more for the first time since 2009.

The WACA

Monday, 16 December 2013

Going Viral


Neil Watts is a gentleman who I have played cricket with since 1984. A decent club player at Southgate Adelaide Cricket Club, he still plays in our first team at the age of 47. I have played numerous games of cricket with him, and he would be described as being one of the senior statesmen within our cricketing mates. A conservative chap, he is the club treasurer and despite being fairly well known on the North London and Hertfordshire club circuit, Neil did something on Sunday morning which inadvertently took him all around the cricketing world. You probably didn't realise but if you are reading this, the chances are that Neil was on your phone, laptop or ipad yesterday. Here's what happened...

That tweet...with Neil's reflection!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Advances in Cricket Coaching

Cricket is an ever changing game. With the updates in styles and techniques moving on from even ten or twenty years ago it is important that coaches and young players keep up to date with the advances in the game, both on and off the pitch. So when we heard about a brand new cricket app we were interested to see how things have moved on, and iCrick formed by Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale along with his team mate, the England all rounder Tim Bresnan, is most definitely the way forward.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Review of the 2nd Test in Australia

Waking up in December in Britain at 7.30am, when the light is still dark in the northern hemisphere, to discover England have been beaten by 218 runs in the second Test at Adelaide is a sombre experience. Morrissey is no doubt, in a better mood than you or I today and heaven knows all English cricket fans are miserable now. The match finished in a similar gloom to my current mood, although I think all of us knew what the funereal outcome would be after the first day. Having been spanked in Brisbane and in Adelaide, England need to have a serious look at themselves and much has been made of the old guard of this successful side nearing the autumn (or for some the winter) of their careers. We apologise for our downbeat mood as we dissect the second Test match.

Mitchell Johnson...7-40

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Win a pair of Affinity Cricket Batting Gloves

Cricket has had a lot of dodgy press recently. Whether it is sledging in the Ashes, match fixing in New Zealand or the ire of the UK's journalists versus our national teams performance, it has had a bit of a kicking. So it is pleasing to hear of some great guys who are mates of ours on Twitter who have put something back into the game. Read on and discover how you could win a pair of Affinity Cricket gloves which are retailing at £70 at present.

Win a pair of these!

Friday, 6 December 2013

End of ECB Premier Leagues?

In a small county to the north of London, a breakaway from one of the ECB Premier Leagues has sent ripples not just through national club cricket, but actually within the county. The Middle Stump look at whether it is the start of a nationwide trend to include a better standard of player.

A regular Sunday morning scene for many a cricketer!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Look-a-likes

Here The Middle Stump look at those who may find an alternative career once their cricketing one is over. We look at a few that have made us chuckle in recent times, and don't forget to keep sending us yours on Twitter to @themiddlestump. Happy Doppleganging boys and girls... 
  
       Uncle Boof asks the Addams Family to abuse Stuart Broad.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Howzat? The Six Sixes Ball Mystery

Every so often, a cricket book passes us by that makes us sit up and take notice and if you want a bit of intrigue, mystery, shenanigans and chicanery over the festive period, then there is no need to spend lunch with Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi. Instead grab a copy of Howzat? The Six Sixes Ball Mystery by Grahame Lloyd and you won’t go far wrong.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dear Jon....

Yesterday Jonathan Liew wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph sports section reporting on sledging and boorish behaviour, citing the recent poor form of Clarke in the Test match at Brisbane and linked our book Cricket Banter to a slip in the standards of behaviour. You can find a link to the article here:
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/theashes/10471449/Ashes-2013-14-Vicious-banter-has-rebranded-Test-cricket-and-is-an-excuse-for-witless-abuse.html

We, here at the Middle Stump have fallen out of love so here we respond with our very own Dear Jon break up letter.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Review of the First Test in Australia

England have lost by 381 runs in an absolute thumping in Brisbane. Their recent track record of poor starts in series away from home continued as Mitchell Johnson tore them apart in a display of outstanding fast bowling. If you thought last year in India was Ahmedabad, this was carnage at the Gabbatoir. England have some thinking to do, and fast, amidst a fairly tasteless media campaign from the Aussies. Fair play to Australia, who have won their first Test match since January, and completely deserved their victory.

Johnson...a fine game

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Middle Stump's Ashes preview

In a matter of hours, England and Australia go head to head in Brisbane, and having heard everyone give their opinion on the series, we thought we would chip in with ours. The build up has been immense with Shane Warne being the most vociferous in his critical views of Alastair Cook's captaincy. Already the Aussies are crowing and we are anticipating a closely fought series, with England retaining the Ashes.

Clarke...winless in 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

England's Ashes Warm Up

England, coming off the back of a very wet and cold ‘warm up’ game against Australia ‘A’, travel to Sydney and hopefully warmer surroundings today in the last tour match before the first Test next week. Cricket Australia Invitational XI are the opponents who are led by Peter Nevill and feature a number of New South Wales players.

Captain Cook

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Springing Kangaroo

I hear that Andy Coulson is a big cricket fan. After all, during their face off regarding his alleged affair with the editor of The Spectator, David Blunkett, the philandering former Home Secretary struggled to pick the spin doctors googlies and grubbed around trying to visualise the source of his information. So when the now disgraced former tabloid editor first listened to the voicemail left on Michael Carberry's mobile, by the England selectors, informing him of his call up for the Ashes tour, what did he think?

Carbs

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Speaking with Spider

Ex Leicestershire, Hampshire and England left armer, Alan "Spider" Mullally is about to venture out on a Big Bike Ride from Chester le Street to Lord's over the next few days, and joined by the likes of Darren Gough, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Maynard and Marcus Trescothick, he aims to raise a few quid for the PCA Benevolent Fund and The Tom Maynard Trust. We caught up with the man who played nearly 70 international games for England as he was undergoing erm, rigorous preparations for the ride, and discussed David Lloyd's tightness, general banter from the Australian team of the nineties and quite possibly the finest comeback to a sledge ever, delivered by Alan himself. If any of our notoriously tight readership would like to sponsor Alan (and yes that includes you Bumble), then feel free to do so here

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/alanmullally1

Alan Mullally

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Adam Shantry swimming the English Channel

Adam Shantry is showing some 'Dunkirk Spirit'. He is swimming across the English Channel dodging jellyfish, driftwood, basking sharks and the odd ferry all in the name of the Tom Maynard Trust and the PCA Benevolent Fund, today. We interviewed him earlier this year, and decided to reprint this hilarious interview and hope that some of our notoriously tight readership will donate. Adam played in the same Glamorgan team as Tom before a knee injury finished his career in 2011, and the all rounder whose journey in the professional game also took him via Northamptonshire and Warwickshire is now doing this madcap swim, with the help of a couple of his mates. If you read this hilarious chat regarding Tino Best, dodging the Bristol Rovers Gas Hit Squad or the Graham Wagg masterclass in how to distract a well set batsmen, and it gives you the odd chuckle please, please support Adam in his cause. Even if it just a quid or two, and you'd like to see him swim in just a posing pouch in the shape of a horse, give here; www.justgiving.com/swimmingthechannelfortom

Adam Shantry

Friday, 20 September 2013

Defiant Durham

Durham lifted the LVCC title yesterday after a long, hard season. The tip for many to go down, ourselves included, they triumphed against the odds. We gave them as much chance of staying up as an erection of Susan Boyle's boyfriend after eight pints following their pre season, and now in their twenty first year they have lifted their third title.

Durham...2013 Champions

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Glamorous Glammy?

The international break is a week where we all come together - forgetting all club rivalry - and cheer on our nation whether it be a World Cup qualifier or European Championship quarter final. Hopes are raised and far too often false dawns leave many exasperated. Or, like me, you could be Welsh.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Barmy Bill

Billy Cooper has been spoken about a lot in this Ashes summer. The Barmy Army man on the trumpet was banned from Trent Bridge and received a wealth of exposure in the national press. Having followed the England team around the world for nearly twenty years, we caught up with him and waxed lyrical about David Warner, toilets in the subcontinent and getting arrested in Australia.

Barmy Bill

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Review of the 5th farce v Australia

"Let there be light", said some dude in the Bible once, but the cricketing Gods weren't smiling in SE11 as the 5th Ashes Test finished with boos from those who had had too much booze, whistles from the suits and everyone moaning as the players left the field for bad light. On the ground where the most theatrical of umpires, a certain William Bowden from New Zealand lifted the bails back in 2005 to return the urn after sixteen years, the umpires ended the game in a series dominated by those in the white coats as they had to follow the law written by those at the ICC, who no doubt need to visit the medical men in the white coats. Cricket, most definitely was not the winner.

England win the Ashes 3-0

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Uncapped XI

With the final Ashes clash of summer 2013 imminent, Andy Flower and Darren Lehmann put the animosity aside to share a few pints at a local watering hole.

There are no Warner-esque punch-ups but one too many drinks are had and a wager is placed: The Aussie coach challenges Flower to complete a 4-0 series win by fielding a side entirely devoid of a test cap.

His forfeit, should England triumph (AKA ‘Lehmann’s terms’ – get it?) is to repeat the favour at the SCG when the two sides meet in January.

A few of these were no doubt sunk.

With his confidence high and judgment impaired Flower agrees and, with the help of a cider-fuelled brainstorm, scribbles his inexperienced XI on a alcohol-stained beer mat (with this year’s first-class averages in accompaniment):


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Who is going to win Division One?

Whilst the country has been focussed on The Ashes, and the rest of you have been fitting in the odd game of T20, Division One of the LV County Championship is turning into a potential thriller with no fewer than six sides battling it out for the title, and three sides looking to be the one who avoids the drop. Here we look at their chances in the run in to what promises to be one of the most exciting seasons ever.
LVCC coming to Headingley this year?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review of the 4th Test v Australia

"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more" was written by some Warwickshire fan once about a tour to France which got a bit lively, and England roll onto the Oval with an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Broad...quality spell

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A physio's guide to watching the Ashes

This was sent in to us recently by guest blogger Jon Ryan. It is the complete and ultimate guide to keeping yourself in shape during the summer. Read on and before Mitchell Starc comes in to bat, you'll have yourself a six pack!


This is how you should have looked after the Aussie batting display at Lord's

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Monty Panesar's Top Ten

Monty has been a naughty boy. Kicked out of a Brighton gay bar at just gone four in the morning for hassling women, he then went upstairs and retaliated by urinating on the bouncers from the promenade above. Having been fined £90 for his troubles, we thought we'd cheer up the Luton based spinner with our Monty Panesar Top Ten.

Monty is worried the bouncers might get their own back

Monday, 5 August 2013

Review of the 3rd Test v Australia

"Oh Manchester, so much to answer for," lamented Morrissey back in the 80's and the third Test from Old Trafford threw loads of questions and moot points out amongst the twitterati. Slow over rates, bad light, are England a good side or are certain things holding them back from being a great one, Michael Clarke's Nureyev like footwork against the spinners, pantomime villain Davey (as Michael Clarke calls him) Warner, were all discussed at length within 140 characters over the weekend, as this Test ended up in a draw.

Davey...is it wrong to start to like him?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

How Clarke would love Warne!

Michael Clarke must wish he had a Shane Warne up his sleeve with the Test delicately poised at Old Trafford. With England's Graeme Swann having picked up eighteen wickets so far in the series, compared to a measly six from the Australian spinners, Clarke would sell his soul to the devil to have a spinner of such a calibre.

Celebrating another Ashes win in 2001

Friday, 26 July 2013

Thorpster's Ashes Nostalgia

Thorpster is back with a bang and here our bud looks back on the last time the Aussies were such a poor side back in the eighties. He talks Berni Inns, Trevor Brooking, Prawn Cocktail and Graham Yallop in this look back at how cricket was thirty years ago.

Old Trafford with the footballing namesake in the background

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Talking with Trout

We spoke recently with John Barclay, the ex Sussex batsman, captain and England Tour Manager in the 90's. A lovely chap, he was named in our Poshest Named XI recently for having the name Troutbeck, and was feted as one of the finest captains in county cricket back in the 1980's. The Old Etonian and ex President of the MCC took time out of his hectic schedule whilst commentating on Test Match Sofa to have a chat with us, and waxed lyrical about smuggling champagne, Imran Khan and his cunning tactics to stop Viv Richards and Ian Botham scoring runs!

Barclay in his Sussex days

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Australia's batting woes

A couple of days have past since England thrashed Australia in the second Test and things have become quite bizarre and I'm not talking about the future King of England getting out and Shane Watson not reviewing it...

Usman Khawaja: him that did no homework, has put the poor batting displays of the Australian top order down to the badly prepared pitches in the Sheffield Shield.

It is no secret that pitches in Australia are now fine tuned to suit fast bowling but is that the reason for a top order including Michael Clarke- for me the best player in the world- to be consistently under performing?

Flat pitches can help a batsman to get in and stay in, go on to get a big score and gain confidence. Cricket is like riding a bike. If you get a big score, you know you can go and do it again. It may not make for the best entertainment but it can produce fine batsmen. Bowlers are also helped as they have to find a way of getting a bat out. Bowling in pairs, having a plan.

Bowler friendly pitches and general bad ones can also help develop batsmen as the cream rises to the top. The best techniques will show through and players temperaments are examined. If you can go and score on a raging Bunsen then you can go big on a road.

The Australian batsmen have been out played by a better team so far in this series and some have got themselves out. Having such an attacking top seven and trying to hit themselves out of trouble is not the answer.

The question is: is there too many limited over and t20 cricket? Players are coming into Test cricket almost straight from the Big Bash without spending time in the Shield. 

This is where the problem lies: players are coming in with t20 mentalities with flawed techniques, big pay packets and even bigger egos. It is not the bowler friendly pitches that are their downfall. It is themselves.

If Australian state sides are being rolled. Batsmen have even more chances to score runs. 15 years ago someone would dig in, show some bollocks and go and score a big hundred. So far in this series, nobody has.

On to Old Trafford...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Review of the 2nd Test v Australia

So England won the second Test at Lord's in four days to put themselves 2-0 up in the series. To have any chance of regaining the urn, the Aussies need a win now at Manchester where they have as much chance of winning as the Royal Baby about to be born has of being called Wayne, Darren or Charmaine. At Lord's they were an embarrassment and their batting was pea hearted.

Root, Root, Root!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Middle Stump guide to Australians

The Aussies are over here to make the English cricket team look good and with them, comes their fans. Here the Middle Stump gives you a guide on how to speak Australian, and being an educational and informative website, we give you every bit of Australian terminology needed to be a cultural ambassador for the UK. Read on and find out when not to use a Durex when chatting up a Sheila...

Down Under

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The rise of online cricket info...

Guest blogger and good friend of the Middle Stump, James Castle has a look at how cricket coverage used to be in the old days of when the internet first started and the rise of online media covering the game. I would say things have taken a turn for the better, but here James looks through retro rose tinted specs at what it was like trying to find out how quickly Glenn McGrath would go through the English batting order.

No need for the radio Glenn, get on the World Wide Web!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The cultural guide to Glamorgan and Somerset

Last weekend the Middle Stump boys went westwards to sign copies of our book Cricket Banter. Having been the top selling cricket kindle on Amazon throughout the month of June, we went to promote the book, to do a signing and to meet a few of our followers on Twitter. What ensued was fifty odd hours of pure chaos!

Cwrw...a fine beer

Monday, 15 July 2013

Review of the 1st test v Australia

This Test was a classic. If you thought 2005 and 2009 could not be beaten then 2013 has already started off in more of an explosive fashion than the toilet of a Cardiff hotel shared by the Middle Stump lads, the morning after twelve pints of Cwrw and a kebab from Caroline Street on Friday. Let's say the pan was in the same sort of state as Jonathan Trott's stumps after he had dragged one on in the first knock.

This man knew all about a Hot Spot

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

#Ashes Day One

The wait is over; the greatest match in cricket (outside of India of course) is underway. 'The biggest game for the smallest trophy' as it is billed on that annoying advert that comes on the radio more often than Stuart Broad's physio. Australia are here and they will do whatever they can to take that little urn home on the boat come the end of August.



Thursday, 4 July 2013

Will Smith

Recently we caught up with ex Nottinghamshire and now Durham batsman, Will Smith. Will has been an integral part of the county game over his career which has seen him named as Durham's Player of the Year when they won the title in 2008, before he skippered the side that retained their crown in 2009. Already with a ton under his belt this year, Smith tells us in this hilarious interview all about his team mates, and no doubt a media career beckons when he finishes in the game.

Will Smith

Friday, 28 June 2013

Cricket's Coaching Carousel Part 2

Thorpster is back and having questioned a few week's back whether cricket coaches now are under intense scrutiny, now looks at the recent sackings of Mickey Arthur of Australia and Chris Adams at Sussex. Is cricket becoming like football, as Michael Vaughan suggested on Twitter recently? Let us know what you think either below or @themiddlestump on Twitter.

Arthur...a victim of the tin tack

Thursday, 27 June 2013

T20 Preview


The Friends Life T20 is underway and the good people of The Middle Stump bring you their preview. For the fourth year of their sponsorship, 18 teams battle it out for a place in finals day at Edgbaston in August. This year sees the competition stick with the format of three groups of six (North, South and Midlands) with the top two from each progressing to the quarter finals along with the two best third placed teams. Who will be celebrating come August 17th?
Hampshire win the 2012 Friends Life T20

Sunday, 16 June 2013

To Walk or not to Walk?

A sunny summer’s afternoon in June and two sides containing good standard Saturday league players, hungover Saturday league players, ex players and even a taxi driver - selected whilst giving the home team skipper a ride home at 4am – are playing in a Sunday league 40over competition.

On a green top, the bowlers are nipping it about and the openers are dropped in the slips no less than five times until a wicket finally falls. This young Middle Stumper is in at first drop...

Village Cricket

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Warner XI

Yesterday we ran a competition on Twitter to find out which cricketers you would put in your David Warner XI. The standard of entries was extremely high and we were pissing ourselves laughing as over 300 entries came in, all trying to win a copy of our book Cricket Banter, currently the number one cricket kindle at present on Amazon. Read on and we have some of the best ones here:

Did you spill my pint?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Another warning for Warner

David Warner was sensationally axed from the Aussies one day side after a  fracas in a Birmingham bar on Sunday night, apparently after glancing a blow to the jaw of an unnamed player, but believed to be Joe Root. I'm sure it won't be the only time he nicks an Englishman this summer, but here guest blogger Michael Fisher has a look at the man who problems seem to be mounting up for, both on and off the pitch.

How we love seeing the Australians self-destruct, and what a pleasure it is, for me anyway, seeing David Warner at the heart of it. I have never been a fan of him and have always thought that he, for an international cricketer, was distinctly average..

Warner...not the first man to visit a nightclub looking for a Root

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Win a copy of Cricket Banter

Not got a present yet for Father's Day? Fear not, as you can win the ideal gift here by tweeting us your best cricketers you would put in a Drinks XI. Cricket Banter is the number one best selling cricket kindle on Amazon at present and you get your hands on a hard copy of the book by sending us a simple tweet.

We have kicked you off with Will Beer of Sussex. Remember to add the hashtag #cricketbanter and those nice blokes at our publishers The History Press will get a copy to you. The best one wins, the competition closes at 12.00pm tomorrow lunchtime, and we will judge the winning entry. Bring it on...


Friday, 7 June 2013

Show us your Banter

Our book Cricket Banter is hitting some unusual places. Currently number one in cricket kindles in the UK, it is now number one on cricket books at Amazon on a worldwide level. Unusual for a couple of fuckwits like us it has to be said. Here are a few pics of strange places it has turned up. Send us your copy on twitter @themiddlestump or on our Facebook page. We'll print the strangest and wildest ones...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Champions Trophy Preview

Tomorrow sees the start of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy with India and South Africa kicking us off at Cardiff. Here we give you a straight talking team by team definition of who is who, what is what and we promise not to DEAL in any cheap puns at our good friend Tulisa! There will be no Dutch, Irish, Scots, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, just the top eight sides trading it toe to toe (apart from in Martin Guptill’s case). The format will be three group games with the top two reaching the semi finals from each group. With the final at Edgbaston on June 23rd this will be a top month cricket wise, and there will be no better place to follow the action than here at www.themiddlestump.co.uk

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

US Cricket Guy

If there is one thing I enjoy more than reverse sweeping medium paced bowlers it is taking the piss. I can quite easily wind you up and annoy you within a minute of meeting you. I also enjoy acting stupid – something that comes quite natural to me – a personal favourite of mine is getting a name wrong on Facebook or Twitter and watching the bites come in...


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Review of the 2nd Test v New Zealand

The second Test match v New Zealand was a strange one and provided many talking points amongst the games scribes. Were we right to not to enforce the follow on? Did we bat too slowly? Is Compton the right man to open against the Aussies? If only we were discussing the great batting of Joe Root, or the fine bowling of Graeme Swann who picked up his first ten wicket haul in a Test match, but instead we are all talking about the conservative captaincy of Alastair Cook, almost so conservative he could be UKIP!

Alastair Cook

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The day Viv got a golden duck

A few months back we wrote in these pages about when the professionals play against the clubbies and generally take the pee. Stories of the likes of John Inverarity smashing double hundreds against Kent club sides, and our followers on Twitter gave us many instances of their own. Here is a story from the 1970's, of when Vivian Richards played a benefit game in Somerset, and got a first baller against the might of Cheddar CC.

King Vivi

Friday, 24 May 2013

Discourse with Dobell

George Dobell is the Senior Correspondent at ESPN Cricinfo and one of our favourite journalists. Along with Steve James, Mike Selvey and Derek Pringle, his is one of the columns we always look out for, and he hits the mark from a different angle from most cricket writers. It's not all one way traffic either and we caught up with the man recently and waxed lyrical about all things from keying up cars, to drinking rum, to what really goes on in the press box as well as Jennifer Lopez' culinary skills. Have a chuckle with the banter from one of the funniest people out there covering the game of cricket. Just don't get into a car with him!

George Dobell