Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Great Cricket World Cup Swindle

I fancied buying a ticket for one of the London matches in next year's World Cup. Having attended my first World Cup match at Lord's for the Prudential World Cup in 1979, it would be nice to see a game forty years later. Or so I thought? Today, I looked into buying a couple of tickets for England v South Africa at the Oval. What I found horrified me. The Cricket World Cup has become just like any other major event here in the UK and it is you and me, the average fan who is being ripped off. I realised that without admin fees or delivery charges, a pair of tickets would set me back £450. Ticketing for anything within the entertainment industry, cricket included, needs looking at. And fast.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Cricket Utopia

I saw a tweet in the week where someone was trying to argue the point that the streaming of games, as most counties now do on their website, is affecting the amount of people that go through the gates. For me, it is the opposite. The counties do a great job, it enhances interest in the sport and it is the way forward. Cricket and television should work side by side and here is what would happen in the ideal world; my county cricket utopia...

Peter West and chums...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat. These are just a handful of sites that sports teams are using these days to interact with the fans. A link between clubs and their communities has now gone from the odd hospital visit at Christmas time, to a full on integration with the fans, showing everything from the inner sanctum of the dressing room to what is in a player's kit bag. But is it a good thing? And have now fans taken it too far showing a disregard for the player, due to their accessibility?

Worcestershire...success

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Review of the 5th Test v India

So it was the farewell match for The Chef. South London, the home of the Richardsons, the gangsters and not Richie of the West Indies and his family, turned out to witness not only an adios but a thrilling Test match. It may have been a dead rubber but it was a fantastic game of proper old fashioned, Test match cricket. Credit to India for their part in a wonderful series, played the right way - hard but fair. This was Test cricket at its very best...

The Oval

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Farewell, Chef....

So it's the end of an era then? Alastair, not Alistair or Alisdair as I have seen written recently, Cook this week announced that this Test at the Oval would be his last for England. Just as he dispatched a leg stump half volley, or nailed a short, wide one through point, his timing was perfect. He leaves us as our country's highest run scorer, our record Test capped player and a place in the heart of all cricket fans. We'll still see him, playing for his beloved Essex, where he came through club cricket at Maldon CC but we won't see him as an ever present Three Lions wearing legend, serving his country by dodging the bullets of the quicks, like a modern day Nelson. As Lord Nelson said, "England expects that every man will do his duty". Cook has certainly done his...

The Chef

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Schedulefreude

County members are revolting. There, I've said it. I'm not talking about that 'oh so eligible' overweight bachelor, perennially in the same seat, who sprays peanuts and other remnants of his packed lunch at you as he discusses the merits of his county, although he is indeed, fairly revolting. I'm talking about county members who are giving up their memberships. And in droves. The scheduling of the ECB has got under the skin of many cricket fans up and down the country and people are starting to vote with their wallet. The game in the UK is on a knife edge.


The oldest festival in cricket at Cheltenham...but for how long?

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Review of the 3rd Test v India

So the series is alive. India bounced back here after their appalling display at Lord’s and it was left for England to lament by the Trent. An intriguing Test match which just about went into the fifth day, was on offer for those in the East Midlands but India showed character and heart at this famous old venue. This was a review of the Third Test Match between England and India from Trent Bridge…

Trent Bridge

Monday, 13 August 2018

Review of the 2nd Test v India

A good game is a quick game, so the saying goes. This was a wham, bam, thank you ma’am. It was a quickie, after the foreplay of rain washing out the first day. This one was over before St John’s Wood resident, Vanessa Feltz had even warmed up her vocal chords. England steam rollered the shocking Indian batting as they took a 2-0 lead in the series. It makes a series win for the visitors as likely as Thomas Markle being invited for Christmas dinner at Sandringham this year. This was a review of the Lord’s Test...

HQ

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Review of 1st Test England v India

So the main course of the summer was brought to the table. The waiting staff of Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Sam Curran served up a treat here as a small crowd of Brummies feasted on an absolute brilliant, engaging Test match. Forget the Aussie one day series, forget the endless mistakes made by the ECB, forget the scheduling, this was one to behold, as often matches where the ball has dominance over the bat. As for the Hundred? A Virat Kohli hundred is the only thing I'm interested in talking about on here. After the fast food burgers served up by T20 cricket, it was good to dine on the lobster thermidor of the five day cuisine. This is a review of the brilliant first Test...

Edgbaston...up there with my favourite Test grounds

Monday, 28 May 2018

Review of England v Pakistan 1st Test

So this was England's homecoming after the nightmare in the southern hemisphere. This was Pakistan in May, a time when we are traditionally strong. This was green pitches and time for Jimmy to show what he can do on pitches that do a little. It was a time for Trevor Baseless to show that England aren't the shambles that they were Down Under against a young, inexperienced Pakistan side. What we got served up was the same old crap that we have had for two years. Actually, no...we're getting worse. This was the review of the Lord's Test.

Lord's...

Monday, 7 May 2018

The Subs Dodger

I am delighted to announce that I am half way through writing my next book. After the success of The Definitive Guide to Club Cricket, there was so much that I missed out that I had to write a Part Two. Therefore I am hoping that The Exhaustive Guide to Club Cricket will be out in the autumn of this year. With an excellent foreword written by Middlesex wicket keeper, John Simpson the book will take a closer look at the ins and outs of the 900,000 people who play club cricket in the UK. Here we have a leaked chapter from the book and I know that every cricket club in the country will nod their heads and agree with this chapter. Enjoy...

Proactive Treasurers will come and do this...

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Law Changes

Alright, so you've played cricket all of your life. You know the ins and outs but this year there are big changes afoot. If like me, you are a qualified umpire you need to get your head around this as it is a game changer. I can see some people struggling to adapt to the new laws and I can see some erm, 'teething troubles', should overly officious umpires start to get involved.

Friday, 13 April 2018

County Championship Div 1 preview

So after yesterday's Division Two, we now come to the big boys. This is the top standard of English cricket, the creme de la menthe as Del Boy would say. So many questions and permutations with a league that is tighter than Phil Tufnell at the bar. So therefore, you know what to do. Re-mortgage your property and take this guide as gospel, visit your local turf accountant on the basis of what is written below and come September, you'll be thanking me. Erm, hopefully....

Champo to Chelmsford?

Thursday, 12 April 2018

County Championship Div 2 preview

So it's that time of year again. The sound of lambs bleating, of the cuckoo in the distance and it is pissing down with rain. Therefore it can only mean one thing - that the County Championship is amongst us. Here we have a look, in Grand National week, at all the runners and riders in Division Two. And remember folks, the more you bet, the more you win...

Dizzy...fired up

Monday, 26 March 2018

Review of the 1st Test in New Zealand

Who said this leg of the tour would be easy? After the pummelling in Australia, England’s cricketers crossed the Tasman Sea for more of the same medicine. Plenty of questions were raised before the series. Could Trevor Baseless improve his shocking Test record abroad? Could England batsmen stop losing wickets on the stroke of an interval? Could the top order batsmen get any more than 50? Like a petty criminal in a police interview, England ‘no commented’. Naturally in no way is the previous sentence of any correlation (for any lawyers reading) but this was also the return of Ben Stokes to the side. Could England finally kick start their winter?

Eden Park

Cricket Hospitality

Lord’s changes every year. A new stand here, a new stand there – expect more to change in the coming years as the Nursery End of the ground gets redeveloped. A number of things never change though. The Pavilion, the immaculate grass which could easily replicate the surface of the baize at the Crucible, the electric sound of the crowd from outside, as an English boundary crashes over the rope but one thing you can't hear, see or touch, is the buzz, the anticipation of the first morning of a Test at Lord’s...

The Home of Cricket

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Overkill?

For those of you who are regular readers, I have recent been writing about the problems that face club cricket at present and an article in The Cricket Paper recently has drawn much debate regarding the number of juniors who are turning their back on the game. The following, thought provoking article was sent to me by a chap called Adrian Butters who plays his cricket up in sunny Staffordshire. Adrian wonders if we are playing too much cricket at a junior level and it is an interesting point. It's definitely worth a read...

Lloyd...trading blows

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Clear Blue Sky - Book Review

Twenty years ago yesterday, an eight year old boy came home from school with his sister Becky and found that the man he looked up to, adored and even idolised had committed suicide. That boy is now playing his 50th Test match for England, the pinnacle of his dreams and his career. So it is only fitting that I review the brilliant new book by Jonny Bairstow and Duncan Hamilton called A Clear Blue Sky. I have to say it is one of the most moving and honest books that I have ever had the fortune of picking up.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Ones to watch in 2018

So we do this every year. We have a look at who will be the names to look out for in 2018. We look into the magical crystal ball we have here at Stump Towers (not Trump Towers) - sort of like Doris Stokes to pick out the next Ben Stokes. Sometimes we get it right - Haseeb Hamed, Toby Roland Jones and many others who have represented their country. Other times we get numerous names such as "that Joe Root at Yorkshire has got a good chance of making it in 2018". These are the guys who are on the fringes of their county sides, the ones that you will hear more about and these are our ones to look out for in 2018.

Tector...quality