Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Year in Review

2014 was overshadowed for me by the death of Philip Hughes. It was a shocking year to be a cricketer, and especially an English one at that. The form of our national team mirrored that of our captain, and despite a few bright lights such as the emergence of Moeen Ali, or that amazing hundred by Alex Hales in yet another dismal tournament, the year was about as much fun as sitting next to Grandad on Christmas afternoon after he had been at the sprouts. Here, let's look at ten things that encapsulated 2014 for me.

Mo...a great year

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Happy Christmas

On behalf of everyone who has written for us this year, may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas whether you a friend, enemy or even Jonathan Agnew. May you have a lovely, peaceful time and may your glass be full. 2014 was a cracking year for the Stump with our twitter following at nearly 10,000. 2015 promises to be a good 'un too with the book Characters of Cricket out in just over two months time.

May you and your loved ones have a great seasonal holiday...

Friday, 19 December 2014

The Down Turn

Paul Downton's comments this week unequivocally backing Alastair Cook were eye opening to many English cricket fans. It seems that when Paul opens his mouth these days all that comes out seems to be a huge faux pas and we are turning into the butt of jokes worldwide. The Aussies, Indians and every other country seem to find the state of English cricket hilarious, and for me, I don't like it. With the season to be jolly upon us, most of us just feel downright miserable at England's one day form and I personally feel it is time for change. Do we change Cook, Moores or Downturn? Or all three?

Down turn in England's fortunes?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bogan Aussie Commentates Cricket NSFW

This is not ideal if you are listening in front of your boss but it amused us greatly. Credit goes to Aussie comedian Alex Williamson aka The Loosest Aussie Bloke Ever. We don't condone some of what goes on, but we do hope it gives you a chuckle.



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Captain Cook?

|Tom Huelin is back and looks at the under pressure England skipper...

ECB, Please don't blindly back our failing skipper.England are a rudderless ship and unless Captain Cook walks the plank – or is thrown overboard – they are drifting towards a big storm at next year’s World Cup.

Cook....under pressure

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pup

Michael Clarke has been inspirational in the last week. In a week that has been truly horrendous for cricket fans worldwide, he has shone like a beacon of light and has gone from being merely a cricket captain to being an inspirational leader. As a friend of mine said, he didn't hide behind a Press Officer or a Communications bod, he came right out there and said it. And for that, he deserves credit.

A true leader

Thursday, 27 November 2014

RIP Phil Hughes

Today the cricket world mourns one of our own. The Australian opening batsman Phil Hughes, sadly lost his battle after being hit by a short pitched delivery on Tuesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Many tributes have come pouring in from all over the world, but it has struck a chord with anyone who has played the game. It shows how fragile life is, and the feelings of shock and sadness are felt worldwide.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Get Well Soon Hughesey

The scenes being flashed around the world from Sydney yesterday showing a stricken Phil Hughes struck a cord with every cricket fan around the world. Anyone who has played the game will have been hit at some point, to varying degrees and a cricket ball hurts. As Hughes fights for his life, we can only pray and hope that he pulls through. A popular player amongst team mates and opposition alike Hughes' stints here at Middlesex and Worcestershire make him known on a global level and the support coming from all over the world from the #cricketfamily shows how much the Aussie is respected.

Hughes...in the thoughts of cricket fans worldwide

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Banging the same old drum

This week the ECB produced alarming figures regarding the drop in the amount of people playing cricket at club level. Grass roots cricket is taking a hiding, so they say. The amount of people donning the whites for their local club has gone down quicker than Victor Moses.We have been banging this drum on these pages ever since we started this blog, but now something surely has to be done about it? Sport in general has become all about money as opposed to pure competition, and it has to stop before the goose that has laid the golden egg, breathes no more.

The amount of people playing club cricket has taken a dive

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Apologies

I would like to apologise for not writing for a while. This has been down to one or two health problems currently being experienced which hasn't left me in the mood for having a laugh. The Middle Stump will be back up and running as soon as possible though and thank you for your continued support.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Mavericks

Maverick is by definition 'an independent minded person' so in advance of a book that comes out next spring where you can read all about the mavericks, the guys who emptied bars, the characters of the game along with the good, the bad and the downright ugly, we decided to look at a few of the mavericks that have graced our cricket pitches in recent years. Amazon describes the book as,  

"Cricket is a game that has always attracted mavericks and characters. Cantankerous batsman, lethal bowlers, criminal wicket keepers and philandering fielders feature as The Middle Stump looks at the good, the bad and the potentially dangerous of the cricket world. Dan has interviewed some of the biggest names in the game and those sitting on the knolls in the sun, and has spoken to everyone who is anyone in the cricket world. Now, based on years of cricket fandom and limited ability, he has collected the portraits of the most interesting players from recent years. Written in the same tongue-in-cheek and honest style that we have all come to love from The Middle Stump."



Thursday, 9 October 2014

The English Civil War

Kevin Pietersen's book has only been released this morning. So much has happened in the last few days that I am sure many of us can't keep up with what's what, who's who, where's where, who lied, who didn't, who has written what, which journalist has then back tracked and the whole thing is a huge mess. How messy? Think letting your kids play with paint, the architecture of Dresden after the Second World War, that upskirt photo of Britney Spears or the economics of Greece; that is what has been created. The whole thing is an ugly indictment on English cricket.

Pitched battle

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The dossier that's not a dossier

Guest blogger Tom Huelin wrote for the Middle Stump a couple of years ago, when these pages first arrived on your phone, tablet or laptop. Since then he has gone on to far finer things, but has always been an avid fan of the Stump. So it gives me great pleasure to welcome Tom's words of wisdom back on to the pages, as he looks at THAT book, the dossier that's errrr not a dossier and some David Brent style management gobble-de-gook from the ECB. Read on...

KP in text mode

Monday, 6 October 2014

What the Papers say...

The Twitter timeline today has been awash with cricketing revelations about Kevin Pietersen's new book titled KP: The Autobiography. In a book which will rock the cricketing world, we have already read today about Andy Flower ruling the dressing room with a culture of fear, Prior shouting at players, the bowlers ruling the changing room and England being despised throughout the cricketing world due to these individuals. The rumour mill, social media and the boozers are awash with talk about Kevin. This one just refuses to go away.

KP in full flamingo mode

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Leeds, Leeds, Leeds

Apologies for lack of writing for a couple of weeks. This was because I had to research, write and prepare a show called Pushing the Boundaries that was unveiled to the general public at the Premier Suite, Headingley Stadium last Thursday, all in aid of Melanoma UK. Pushing the Boundaries featured some comedy, followed by interviews with Yorkshire and England cricketers live on stage. The feedback seems to have been extremely positive, and if it can raise a few quid for a worthwhile cause, then it can't be a bad thing, can it? The Yorkshire public certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, and with the show lasting for two and a half hours in total, they certainly got value for money; something important to Yorkshiremen.

Monday, 15 September 2014

A day at wonderful Wormsley

Yesterday The Middle Stump was off duty savouring the sites and sounds of Sir Paul Getty’s fabulous Wormsley Cricket ground. As we mingled in with the crowd, watching the likes of Nick Knight swanning around, Matthew Hoggard's dog and a couple of thousand other people, we had a fantastic day and I am sure that everyone who attended would agree.

The Lara XI v Warwickshire XI at Wormsley

Friday, 12 September 2014

Congratulations Yorkshire

Yorkshire have today become the LV County Champions for the 2014 season and it was well deserved. As predicted on these pages back in March, Yorkshire have won the title with a game to spare and they were by far the best side in the country this year, capturing their first title since 2001. Batting, bowling, coaching, and fielding, there were no weak links in their armoury, and they sealed the title in spectacular style as they thrashed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. In a week where a certain gentleman in South Africa has been found not guilty of murder, it was the Yorkshire lads who had a spring in their step, and now they can go out and get legless. There was nobody culpable in Humberside. With a game to go against Somerset left, they can even put their feet up.



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Death of Sunday Cricket

I don't know about you, but in my opinion, and most definitely in the South East, there is something facing extinction. The World Wildlife Fund might go on about elephants, tigers or even pandas, although the only thing in England to be found in the undergrowth that eats, shoots and leaves is Paul Ross. One thing that is dying on its arse though is Sunday cricket, and that is a very sad thing for club cricketers across the land.

Village green Sunday cricket must not die!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Pushing the Boundaries

Our show Pushing the Boundaries is live at the Premier Suite at Headingley on Thursday 25th September at 7.30pm. Come and watch as The Middle Stump meet four real characters of Yorkshire cricket, past and present. Come and see Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks, Jonny Bairstow and Steve Kirby talk about their experiences in the game over the years, and field questions that aren't the usual ones that they get asked.



Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Is cricket the new football?

It's been a funny old summer. You have a team who produces their own stars, has a great academy, holds their own at a certain standard and then gets them all nicked. To be fair to the people of Southampton, many of our readership have been robbed by Liverpudlians over the years, but is the same happening in the cricketing world? Watching Nottinghamshire yesterday made me think that this is possibly the case. Is there now a widening gap between the haves and the have nots in the English county game?

Taylor...quality player

Monday, 11 August 2014

Review of the 4th Test v India

The 4th Test from Old Trafford was a bit like watching a highlights package. If Trent Bridge in the first match of this series was like watching cricket from a bygone era, the only thing remotely about the Seventies in this game was seeing a pair of grinning lips surrounded by a big bush. I will cover Moeen Ali's bowling later in the game, but this was a game on fast forward. There was nothing slow about anything in this two and a half day Test including the track, as Stuart Broad found out, much to his chagrin. England won easily and went 2-1 up in the series.

Broad...slightly less good looking

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A great night out in Leeds...

Tickets are going fast for our hilarious show Pushing the Boundaries, live at Headingley on Thursday 25th September. With the capacity at 200, there are not many tickets left so I would recommend you reserving yours asap by calling 07530 986477 and speaking to Gill Nuttall. All cricket fans, especially Yorkshire ones will love the stories as we chuckle with Jack Brooks, Jonny Bairstow, Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Kirby. Find out what Kirbs did last time he was on stage in Leeds, along with loads of fantastic anecdotes as there will be some brilliant laughs, jokes and japes while we listen to stories from the world of cricket, both past and present. All proceeds from the gig go to Melanoma UK. Don't miss out, order your ticket today. £15 including food...


Friday, 1 August 2014

On the Edge

James Anderson is up before the beak today. He is up before the ICC Diciplinary Panel on a Level Three offence, having allegedly shoved Ravindra Jadeja during the first Test at Trent Bridge. Jadeja also has his appeal against his Level One offence at the same time. Yes, it is unedifying for the game of cricket, but is it really a massive thing? It's been going on for years, hasn't it?

Lillee and Miandad discuss their differences

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review of the 3rd Test v India

Moeen Ali started this test on a mission to save Gaza. He ended it by smashing up India. England finally won a Test match by 266 runs and the cricketing folk of England, are even smiling. Cook returned to form, Jimmy bowled well and let the ball do the talking, Cook captained imaginitively, utilising his spinners effectively and England played a different brand of cricket. Why, they even looked like they were enjoying themselves at one point? How dare they! Southampton may be famed for the port in which the Titanic sailed out of, but it was India who had the sinking feeling during the third Test. England, after a 350 odd day drought, are drinking from the goblet of victory once more. The AEGEAS Bowl may no longer be the Rose Bowl, but it is through rose tinted glasses that I am writing this.

Packing them in at the AEGEAS Bowl

Friday, 25 July 2014

Pushing the Boundaries

Pushing the Boundaries, a live show which will feature Question and Answer sessions with the following cricketers;

RYAN SIDEBOTTOM - England, Nottinghamshire CCC and Yorkshire CCC

JONNY BAIRSTOW - England and Yorkshire CCC

JACK BROOKS - England Lions, Northamptonshire CCC and Yorkshire CCC

STEVE KIRBY - England Lions, Yorkshire CCC, Gloucestershire CCC and Somerset CCC

Tickets available here

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Time to point the finger elsewhere?

Guest blogger Greg Mackett writes a great piece here about whether it is time to look elsewhere at the reasons behind the long, winless run that our national side are currently suffering with. Greg wrote this the day before the side was picked for the Rose Bowl and it makes interesting reading. Do you agree with him? Let us know your views on Twitter @themiddlestump...

McCague...displaying what fans thought watching him bowl

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Review of the 2nd Test v India

Ok, I had to let twenty four hours pass before I wrote as I wanted to write as impartial and constructive a piece as I possibly could. My ire and rage has still not subsided in that time, so I am just going to let this flow, no matter what. Having been bounced out by Indian bowling on the last morning, it was quite apt that a farcical run out should clinch a ninety five run win for the visitors, in a performance that could only be described as brain dead. An amoeba has more brain cells than the English batsmen put together at present. In a performance that could only be described as heartless, brainless and spineless, we review the Lord's Test match.

Lord's

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Middle Stump commentates

Tune into www.guerillacricket.com from 10.45am on Thursday 17th July where I will be talking general bollocks with Hendo and the gang, whilst watching the odd bit of cricket. Live commentary of England versus India from Lord's in what promises to be a pulsating, edge of your seats, second Test at Headquarters. Tune in...


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Review of the 1st Test v India

It's been a strange old week. A drawn Test with no rain delays, Cook looked a more adventurous skipper than his counterpart, the batsmen got wickets, the bowlers got runs, Jimmy Anderson even cracked a smile on a cricket pitch and Brazil leaked seven. Normally when I watch a Brazilian getting a pounding like that I have the volume on lower, but it has been a weird old week. Most of England has even been supporting Germany in the football this week. That is how weird a week we have had. Last year produced a thriller at Trent Bridge whilst this year, errr didn't. Here is a look at five days of my life that I will never, ever get back.

Trent Bridge

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Brown Stuff

So we have a side over from the sub-continent, we have them in our very own back yard, we have them at a venue which has traditionally suited the English bowlers and what do we do? We go and prepare a surface which in my mind was an absolute disgrace. Cricket should be a game that offers an equal contest between bat and ball. The pitch that we saw today at Trent Bridge wasn't and yet again, it looks like administrators putting money before the good will of the national side.

Trent Bridge

Friday, 4 July 2014

Stalemate?

The England versus India series is about to start and there is an easy way to make yourself a few quid if you are a savvy cricket follower. With odds on the 0-0 draw at 250-1 yesterday, although they have come in to 150-1 on Skybet, we can show you a licence to print money. Forget taking the missus out to a Berni Inn, read further on and you will be buying champagne at the bar, taking her out for lobster thermidor or for those who prefer to bet big, maybe some quail, larks tongues in aspic and finished off with a large courvoisier. Remember to gamble responsibly, but also remember the more that you bet, the more that you win. The smoke rings that you blow out of your havana in September will be courtesy of The Middle Stump.

Your wallet in September?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Middle Stump Guide to India

India have arrived and are already playing warm up games before the Test series versus England starts soon. The last two have gone England's way, although I expect this one to be far closer. India is a beautiful and diverse country, full of history and culture. So when you go to the Test match this summer, note down a few of these phrases and no doubt, some of your Indian chums will be impressed, as we give you the Middle Stump guide to India.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

A new England?

On this site in recent weeks, I have been particularly scathing about the England side. Not everyone agreed with me, so I have asked people to feel free to e mail me with their views. This succinct and intelligent piece came all the way from Uganda by guest blogger Tim Grover and throws up an alternative view. However, it is well worth a read and a good review of the whole series and where we are as a team. Have a read on as Tim, like Billy Bragg doesn't want to change the world, he's just looking at the new England...

The crowd at Headingley

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Review of the 2nd Test v Sri Lanka

So England managed to contrive to lose the second Test in Headingley by a stunning margin of exactly one hundred runs from a position where they should have won. Despite the efforts of Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson was bounced out to the penultimate ball, and with it Sri Lanka took the series. The 'new era' promised to us by Paul Downturn and Peter Less, imploded here in Leeds almost as fast as the one by a certain Brian Clough in this city in 1974. At least Cloughie lasted for forty four days. This was an absolute bloodbath in many ways. Surely it is not a kneejerk reaction to ask Alastair Cook to stand down? His captaincy was shockingly bad, England are in the abyss, and Headingley was the nadir hopefully. Surely it can't get any worse can it?

Headingley...empty seats a plenty

Friday, 20 June 2014

Banter with Butch

Alan Butcher is a top bloke. Not only that, he was one of the finest players of quick bowling in an era when some of the best exponents of the art, plied their trade. In a career which spanned over twenty years, he was unlucky not to play more than just the once for his country, and was one of the most popular performers during his time and both Surrey and Glamorgan. In later years he has become one of the most respected coaches around and has just finished up a stint with Zimbabwe. We caught up with him recently and discussed all things from his son Mark's guitar playing, Sylvester Clarke and his legendary drinking ability along with many other amusing stories. Read on for some brilliant, hilarious cricket anecdotes...

SURREY - Alan Butcher #183 PANINI "World of Cricket 83" 1983 Cricket Sticker

Monday, 16 June 2014

Review of the 1st Test v Sri Lanka

Despite an epic finish, the First Test at Lord's ended up in a draw as a combination of too good a pitch, a lack of a proper spinner and the same old 'safety first' tactics from Alastair Cook, denied them a victory. In a game played in scorching June weather for the first two days, the home of cricket looked sensational but the track was as bland as the commentary of Andy Townsend for the first three days. The lack of a decent spinner made about as much sense as Andy's pearls of wisdom on ITV too, and even though Alastair Cook's lads gave it a real go at the end, it wasn't quite good enough. On the positive side, at least our cricketers were the only ones out of our national teams not to lose, on a weekend when the rugby lads went down unluckily to New Zealand.
Lord's on the first morning

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Glovemen

Jos Buttler's innings last week and subsequent comments from Alastair Cook that he wasn't ready for Test cricket, have made the country scratch their collective heads. With Matt Prior having an Achilles problem, and being a doubt for the first Test at Lord's, it looks as if the selectors may well go for a genuine glove man in James Foster. Described as the best in the country, and possibly the world in his art, Foster takes us back to an age when keepers were picked for their keeping alone, although he is no fool with the bat. We look at who there is in England. Who are the genuine stumpers, as opposed to batsmen who can keep a bit? And trust me, there is a huge difference.

Foster...a genuine gloveman

Monday, 2 June 2014

On the Box

Having read the headline above, most of you are probably thinking that this is another article about getting hit in the balls from a seamer nipping one back on the wet pitches that no doubt, you have played on this weekend. Alas, it is not. This is something far more serious than that. This is about cricket being played by less people and the fact that we are losing youngsters to cricket. The decision to sell the crown jewels (no I am not talking about bollocks again, although some say I do talk bollocks), to Sky is backfiring and the kids of today cannot identify many of the current crop. Something needs to be done before it is too late, and this means getting cricket back on terrestrial television.

For anyone under the age of 15, this is the legend Richie Benaud

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Downton Shabby

The ECB Managing Director, Paul Downton has apologised for making comments about Kevin Pietersen on the BBC Test Match Special, after describing the batsman as "disinterested and distracted". It follows a long line of appalling handling of the media by the ECB, and something which needs to be looked at. Downton may have apologised for breaking his side of the confidentiality agreement, but in my mind the damage has been done.

Downton...dropped a clanger?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Questions for Middlesex

Standing nineteen points clear at the top of the LV County Championship Division One, Middlesex fans are in dreamland at present. Despite the fact that they have played a game more than second placed Yorkshire, and things are looking rosy in St. John’s Wood, the supporters of Middlesex still have plenty of questions as to whether they can remain there by September. The 150th year looks as if it could be a memorable one, and here we look at the questions that need answering.

Middlesex in their 150th season

Monday, 26 May 2014

Chucking it

The degree of a bowlers arm seems to be very much en vogue amongst the twitterati at present with Andrew Flintoff posting a photo of an unnamed bowler's arm last week, and Michael Vaughan and Stuart Broad questioning the legitimacy of Saeed Ajmal's action. With Sri Lanka touring, and Senanayake's arm being questioned up and down the land by cricketers, is it time for the ICC to toughen up on the law? Or at least have some sort of uniformity where by all countries have to adhere to the same process?


Ajmal...15 degrees?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Magic Mike Procter

Mike Procter was one of the finest all rounders of all time. He finished with a Test bowling average of just over fifteen, scored 30,000 first class runs and picked up nearly 2000 wickets. A legend not only in his native South Africa but also at Gloucestershire, a county he represented for sixteen years, he is one of the most popular players of all time. He even caused the treasurer of my own cricket club (and a Gloucestershire nut) to bunk off school to watch the televised semi final versus Hampshire, as he picked up six wickets including that famous hat trick. If Mike had not played during a time when South Africa were banned from Test cricket, there is no doubt he would have amassed over a hundred caps for South Africa. Recently we caught up with Proccie and he told us about the excellent work he is doing now with his foundation, cricket under apartheid rule and that famous game where the South African cricketers made a stand against the government. Read on, as we interview one of the finest the game has ever seen...

Proccie in 1971

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Vile Vincent

Revelations and confessions this week from Lou Vincent have left a sour taste in the mouth, and I am not talking about Tulisa here. The ICC also need to have a serious look at themselves, and the laws need changing where it becomes a criminal offence. Match fixing, spot fixing, corruption, greed and the like are a pariah of our game and need stamping out. Here we have a look at the week that shamed cricket.

Lou-ser

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hwyl Fawr

After two amazing years the time has come to move on and leave The Middle Stump.

It will however fall in to good hands. Dan will take over the sole running of the site.

Back in 2012 when we decided to set up this blog for a laugh we thought we would get a handful of views and be done in a few months, ruffling a few feathers on the way.

I leave today with 343,000 hits, a radio podcast and a published book. 

Dan, I'm sure, will continue this success and I wish him the very best not only with the blog but with his new book: "Characters of Cricket" which will no doubt be another rib tickler.

I'd like to thank everyone that has helped along the way. I may see you all with another venture soon.

Stay loose,

Liam.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Middle Stump guide to Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankans have arrived for a short series and kicked their tour off against Essex last night. Being the cultural bastards that we are here at The Middle Stump, we give you the guide that you will need to refer to over the next month or so, as you share an arrack with your new found friends at the Test match. Seriously it is a wonderful, beautiful place and our cultural guide will give you a far better understanding of all things Sri Lankan. However we wish to point out that we take absolutely no responsibility should the following end up in a good hiding for you or your friends;

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Forgotten Generation

The other day I was having a chat over a Guinness or twelve with my mate Ishy, who is South African. We started discussing the brilliant players who were lost to world cricket in the seventies and eighties, and I'm not talking those who were lost to Packer. This is about the brilliant South African players who were lost to Test cricket, and all because they happened to be born in a country isolated from world sport. They were cricket's forgotten generation.

Barry Richards...batting far more stylish than his hair

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Getting Boxed

It is the start of the season and on Saturday during my first time out in the middle, I heard a sound that you often hear at this time of year. No, not bat on ball and not the clatter of stumps although I did hear those dulcet sounds. Think of a medium pace seamer nibbling it back in late to the batsman on a green wicket and the early season thud of a ball into a batsman's box. When some people think of the sounds of an English spring they think of lambs bleating, maybe a cuckoo, but not for me? Nothing more exemplifies this time of year than that unmistakeable cadence of cork on cock.

This chap has already had 'no ball' problems

Saturday, 3 May 2014

#CricketSongs

Hi, I’m Liam and I’m a lazy bastard!

I’ve not written anything for a while, what I thought was a few weeks turns out to have been five months. Nobody wants the Fleetwood Mac, so I am back and have a ruddy good one for you all.

I had two ideas in my head: a detailed account of the last round of the County and Championship and the pros and cons on playing the on-drive on a sticky wicket. I decided to run a competition instead.

It wasn’t even my idea. Ever the man to cut a corner, I enlisted the help of a Twitter follower: Paul Mokler, someone who lives and breathes cricket and word play. I’m sure he would be happy living in a lighthouse if it had wifi. It was decided that we would run #cricketsongs.

We had some good ones and we had some absolute brain farts but here are the top 10 along with their Twitter handles. The winner gets a Pushing the Boundaries t-shirt and will become the envy of both their pals.



10: @MatchPint - Stairway to Devon (Malcolm)

9: @DJF2682 - Daniel Vettori’s Bowling (His Name is Italian)

8: @mjs1979 - Sharma Chameleon

7: @lunndog74 - Kervezee For You

6: @superbendy24  - Wharf Becomes of a Broken Heart

5: @Ross_C_Carter  - Sitting on the Dock Tsotsbe

4: @CKM_Broni  - He Aint Heavy, He’s Philander

3: @yorks_dpressed  - The Gower of Love

2: @mjs1979 - Take me Home, Jonty Rhodes

1: @Rackelle_H79F1 - Duminy Broken Hearts

So there we have it. Congratulations to Matt Stewart for having two entries in the top 10 and a big well done to Rachel Hack who has a nice new garment along with arguably the worst Twitter handle in history. Did you fall on your keyboard?

See you all in another few months!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Strong Unit?

On these pages a few weeks ago we tipped Yorkshire County Cricket Club to win the LV County Championship. Having seen regular tweets signed off with the words #strongunit by their coach Jason Gillespie, I wanted to see if the Tykes were as strong as everyone was saying. Having seen them close up and personal, they don't have any weaknesses and England should have a look at a couple of them. An impressive side, brilliantly led by Gillespie and with teamwork coursing through their veins, I have to agree that they are indeed a strong unit.

Plunkett...serious wheels

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Premature Pitches?

Many a Middle Stump article has been accused of being immature in the last two years since we have been writing. Not only immature, but many a Middle Stump reader has no doubt been premature as well according to the legions of ladies who follow us on Twitter. However judging by the amount of wickets falling across the country at present, nothing has been as premature as playing a sixth of the LV County Championship by the end of April. Wickets are falling left, right and centre and low scores around the country are becoming the norm. Who said it was a batsmen's game?

The openers stride out to bat at Worcester

Friday, 25 April 2014

Speaking with Stevo

Darren Stevens has been around the professional cricket circuit for nearly twenty years. A career that saw the Leicester lad start off with his home town county, has now burgeoned since he moved to Kent. Close to an England call up a few years ago, he is one of the best all rounders in the country and the longevity of his career is a testament to what a fine servant he has been to English cricket. One of the nicest blokes around, Stevo is known for his chat, laughs and general bonhomie, although not sure Sam Northeast will think so after reading this. After a tough winter where he thought he might never play cricket again, Darren was cleared of any wrong doing and is now looking forward to a bright future. We caught up with him recently where he told us about Stuart Broad and Luke Wright's party trick, who is the serial killer down at Kent CCC and which umpires dish out the best chat. Read on in this hilarious interview with the Benjamin Button of English cricket...

Stevo

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Top Ten Most Famous Deliveries

You know how we all love a list here at The Middle Stump. Nick Hornby and High Fidelity has nothing on us, and here we have a look at the most famous balls of all time. No, I'm not talking about Ron Jeremy, Peter North or John Holmes but the most famous cricketing deliveries of my lifetime. I'm sure you have your own, and please feel free to send us yours on Twitter/Facebook or in the comments section below, but here are my top ten of my lifetime.

Gatt...bemused

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Middle Stump Easter XI

Here we compile a list of our Middle Stump Easter XI...

Arul "Last" Suppiah

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Strongest League in the World?


The County season has started and the LVCC or the County Championship in pounds, shillings and pence has thrown up some cracking games already. One gentleman on social media this week described it as 'the strongest league in the world' and with us chaps at the Middle Stump not being the type to sit on the fence, I'd have to agree with him. The IPL may have started in other regions, but the corruption, Srini and that envelope have turned off a large number of cricket fans. For the longer form of the game, it is happening right here and right now.

A county game at beautiful Worcester