Archive for the Sport Category

Glamorgan v Durham: Day 3

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , , on August 21, 2018 by telescoper

I flew back this morning from Dublin to Cardiff and, since Sophia Gardens is on the way to my Pontcanna residence from the bus stop, I popped in to watch the last rites of the County Championship match between Glamorgan and Durham.

I got there just in time to see the start of play, with Glamorgan resuming on 79 for 7. Just over half an hour later they were all out for 111 and had list the match by an innings and 30 runs. That despite the fact that Durham only scored 295 in their first innings.

You can’t really blame the tailenders this morning. Glamorgan’s higher-order batsmen folded twice in the match. Their line-up looked weak on paper and so it proved.

Glamorgan have five remaining County Championship matches to play with no overseas batsmen (Smith & Khawaja having returned to Australian duties). The loss of fast bowler Marchant De Lange for the whole season with a hamstring injury hasn’t helped either. To make matters worse, yesterday Aneurin Donald announced he was leaving the club for Hampshire with immediate effect.

Glamorgan are clearly going to finish bottom of Division 2 of the County Championship. The club having gambled all on success in the Twenty20 format, and lost, they’re now adrift, going nowhere, and with morale at a low ebb. I wouldn’t be surprised if other players joined Donald in seeking pastures new.

The only thing that can turn Glamorgan round is a complete overhaul of its strategy and coaching staff. I’m not sure however whether the club management will do the necessary though.

Anyway, I may get to see some more cricket at Sophia Gardens on my season ticket next month, but I won’t be renewing my membership. Living in Ireland would make it impossible to see enough to justify the expense, even if there were a decent team to watch.

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All-Ireland Hurling Finals Day

Posted in Sport with tags , , on August 19, 2018 by telescoper

Just a quick post to note that today is a huge day on the sporting calendar here in Ireland. It’s the final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, which will be between holders Galway and Limerick, in front of 80,000 at Croke Park in Dublin.

It will take some doing for this match to be as exciting as the Semi-Final I watched a few weeks ago in a pub in Maynooth, but you never know. That game ended in a draw, and Galway won the Replay. The other semifinal was also a cracker, with Limerick winning in extra time. Galway are favourites to win the game, but there seems to be more support around these parts for the green of Limerick than the maroon of Galway.

Anyway, if you’re bored this afternoon, and have access to cable or satellite TV, then I suggest having a look. If you’ve never seen hurling before then the first thing that strikes you is the phenomenal speed at which the game is played. The sliotar (ball) can travel from one end of the pitch to the other in a second and the players have to be extremely fit. Brave too. This is definitely not a game for faint hearts!

There was heavy rain last night but it has passed over and it should be a good game. I’m sure the atmosphere will be brilliant in the stadium, but Ill be happy to watch in the pub (although it’s sure to be crowded).

UPDATE: Half-time Galway 0-9 Limerick 1-10, the underdogs ahead by 4 points. Frenetic and rather scrappy game with lots of wides. Exciting to watch though. I’m up by two pints of Guinness.

UPDATE: Full-time Galway 2-18 Limerick 3-16. Most of the second half was rather one-sided. When Limerick scored their third goal and went 8 points clear I thought it was all over, but suddenly Galway scored two goals and were right back in it. Nerves jangling, Limerick managef to survive eight minutes of stoppage time. Galway had a free at the end that could have tied the scores but it fell short. Exciting finish but Limerick worthy winners, if only by a single point!

D.G. Bradman b Hollies 0

Posted in Cricket, History with tags , , on August 14, 2018 by telescoper

It was on this day 70 years ago (i.e. on 14th August 1948) that the great Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman played his last Test innings, against England at the Oval. He didn’t know it would be his last knock but Australia won the match by an innings so he never got to bat again in the match, which was the last in the five-match Ashes series that Australia won 4-0.

Bradman needed only to score four runs to finish with a Test batting average of 100, but he was out second ball to the legspinner Eric Hollies, for a duck, and his average was stuck on 99.94.

Here’s a short video of Bradman’s last Test innings, featuring commentary by John Arlott:

Two things struck me when I watched this just now. One is that Norman Yardley’s decision to give Bradman three cheers at the start of his innings may have seemed very sporting at the time, but I’m sure it put the batsman off and I wonder if that was Yardley’s calculated intent?

The second striking thing is the poor state of the pitch, with huge footmarks clearly visible. Although Hollies was bowling round the wicket presumably to exploit them, it’s not clear these played a role in Bradman’s dismissal. It looks to me that he played a loose shot at a full delivery, probably a googly that turned a little. Nevertheless it is worth remembering that batsmen of Bradman’s era had to play on uncovered wickets. I won’t dwell on this point for fear of starting to sound like Geoffrey Boycott, but it does reinforce just how remarkable Bradman’s average really was. Add to that the fact that England had been bowled out on that strip in their first innings for just 52!

Eric Hollies may have been a good bowler, but his record with the bat was at the opposite extreme to Bradman, scoring a total of 37 runs in 13 Test matches, at an average of 5.28. His total of 1,673 runs in first-class matches was 650 fewer than his haul of wickets, and only once (in 1954) did he reach 30 in an innings. In fact, he did not reach 20 in any innings between 1946 and 1953, and equalled an all-time first-class record, between July 1948 and August 1950, of seventy-one consecutive innings without reaching double figures.

Although Australia won the Ashes convincingly in 1948, the Australian camp was not entirely harmonious. The tension therein largely originated in the fact that Bradman was a Protestant and there was a Catholic faction in the touring party that didn’t like him for essentially tribal reasons. Indeed, I’m told that some former Australian players in the Press Box burst out laughing when `The Don’ was out for a duck that day.

Glamorgan versus Hampshire: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , on August 10, 2018 by telescoper

After indifferent weather all day it turned out nice for this evening’s Twenty20 match at Sophia Gardens between Glamorgan and Hampshire. It was a good night for Glamorgan too, as they won by 8 wickets, making it a run of five victories in a row.

Glamorgan won the toss asked Hampshire to bat. Openers Vince and Roussow got the visitors off to a flying start, putting on 58 in less than five overs, before Vince was well caught by David Lloyd (returning to the side after injury) off Hogan.

Glamorgan’s quicker bowlers were expensive but spinners Salter (2 for 16 off 4) and Ingram (1-10 off 2) and medium-pacer Meschede (3 for 21 off 4) established control after the power play, and wickets fell as the Hampshire batsmen struggled to accelerate from their good base and frustration set in. From 90 for 1 in the 8th over they could only manage 151 off their 20. Graham Wagg bowled the last three overs from the Cathedral Road end for just 16. When everyone had expected Hampshire to accelerate, they slowed down dramatically thanks to fine bowling and fielding. The catching, in particular, was outstanding: wickets resulted from mistimed slogs, some of which went very high indeed. No chances went down.

With a target of 152 to win, Glamorgan were favourites, the only real worry being complacency. Donald fell early, run out by a direct hit while clearly not paying attention. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and he immediately started to play his shots. There were one or two near misses early on, lofted shots just clearing the infield, but when he got into his stride the match was never in doubt. He finished on 71 not out, including four huge sixes and six fours.

Meschede fell with the score on 101, but Kieran Carlson played confidently to finish unbeaten on 31.

Needing a miracle with the score on 146 for 2, Hampshire brought Dale Steyn back on the 16th over. After a single from Carlson, Ingram clouted one to the fine leg boundary for four. The scores were level. Two dot balls followed, then Steyn bowled a bouncer that took off, Ingram ducked and the ball went through the wicketkeepers gloves for four byes. Game over.

Glamorgan versus Essex: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2018 by telescoper

I’m back in Cardiff for a few days sorting out some logistics, and also to make the most of what remains on my season ticket for Glamorgan cricket club, where I spent this evening.

While my late supper warms in the oven I just have time to post a quick item about this evening’s events at Sophia Gardens.

I don’t normally do selfies unless they’re of other people but I’m posting the above one because it made it via Twitter onto the big screen during the match. Fame at last!

Essex won the toss and out Glamorgan into bat. Glamorgan got off to a poor start, losing both openers cheaply. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and the scoring accelerated, especially when he took apart the hapless Quinn for 30 off one over.

Glamorgan reached 110 for 3 off 11 overs, of which Ingram had scored 85, but they then faltered against good bowling. Ingram fell with the score on 135 for 7, at the start of the 17th over. Essex were on top.

Graham Wagg and Ruaidhri Smith then launched a stunning counter-attack and in the blink of an eye and a flurry of boundaries, Glamorgan were suddenly 198 for 7 off their 20 overs.

It was a good score in the end, but Essex started well with the bat and Glamorgan’s bowlers at first struggled to contain them. Gradually however Glamorgan began to exert some control. Wagg was outstanding in the crucial middle overs.

Pressure built, some wickets fell, but Essex didn’t collapse and kept more or less in touch with wickets in hand and the experienced Bopara at the crease and looking in good form.

The crowd waited anxiously for the climax. Essex needed 48 off the last 3 overs. Then 32 off 2. Then, after an excellent penultimate over from Wagg, 24 from the last. With Ravi Bopara on strike.

Michael Hogan ran into bowl. His first two balls conceded two fours, one a very difficult dropped catch that might have gone for six if the fielder hadn’t got a hand to it. Now it was 16 off 4 balls. The next ball was skied but fell safe for 2 runs. That meant 14 from 3; at least one six needed. Hogan bowled and Bopara obliged, slogging one into the Grandstand.

Eight now needed off two balls. Possible. Nerves jangling around the ground, Hogan bowled again, a very good one. Bopara was beaten and the ball went through to the keeper. A dot ball. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. That was effectively that. An inconsequential single off the last ball meant that Glamorgan won by six runs.

That makes it four wins out of four for Glamorgan, who go 3rd in the table. They now have a good chance of a semifinal place that looked beyond their reach four games ago. Poor old Essex are bottom of the table, with only one win from ten matches.

Walking home just know it occurred to me that as well as ones for fours and sixes they should give out cards to wave when a dot ball is bowled. It’s often those that win matches!

A Tribute to Fanny Blankers-Koen

Posted in Sport with tags , on July 30, 2018 by telescoper

I was reminded yesterday that it was on 29th July 1948 that the Olympic Games began in London after a gap of 12 years since the previous Olympics owing to the Second World War. That gives me the excuse to do a little post in tribute to one of the greatest athletes of all time.

The London games saw the emergence of legendary Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won no less than four gold medals: 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and 4 ×100m relay. She probably would have won the Long Jump too, as she held the World Record in that event at the time, but was only allowed to compete in four events. Her achievements are made all the more remarkable by the fact that she was 30 years old – an age many would have thought was past the prime for an athlete – and she was also the mother of two children.

Fanny Blankers-Koen became a household name to my parents’ generation, and the inspiration to countless aspiring athletes. I remember my Mum talking about her when I was little, and what I remember from that is that she was regarded as exceptionally tall – in fact she was 5′ 9″ – which helped reinforce the impression among many British people that Dutch people were all giants!

Anyway, here is a little video with some clips of her in action. She won the 200m by miles!

Fanny Blankers-Koen passed away in 2004, at the age of 85, but her legend will live on.

 

Glamorgan versus Somerset: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket, Uncategorized on July 20, 2018 by telescoper

After a little drinks reception in the School of Physics and Astronomy (at which I was given a very nice gift of wine) I joined the staff outing to Sophia Gardens to watch this evening’s Twenty20 cruise cricket between Glamorgan and Somerset.

The start was delayed by rain so we lingered in a pub on the way only to be caught on the hop when play actually started and missing the first few overs. Somerset batted well to reach 190 off their 20 overs, with Anderson hitting four big sixes in his 59.

Without Shaun Marsh, who will miss the rest of the season, the Glamorgan batting lineup seemed to have a very long tail and a lot rested on Khawaja and Ingram. Both scored runs quickly while they were in but neither could build a big score. Once those two were out, the Glamorgan innings faltered and they never looked like reaching Somerset’s total. The finished on 160 for 9, losing by 30 runs.