Archive for the Cricket Category

Glamorgan versus Somerset: Vitality Blast Twenty20

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

After a very nice 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.

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Glamorgan v Northants: Day 4

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on June 28, 2018 by telescoper

This morning I made my way again to Sophia Gardens for the final day of the County Championship Division 2 match between Glamorgan and Northamptonshire. I wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm, so didn’t get to the ground for the start of today’s play, but I thought I’d observe the last rites.

When I got to the ground, night watchman Tim van der Gugten had already been dismissed, but there was some reasonably bright batting by Chris Cooke and Kieran Carlson. Coincidentally, I took the above picture just as Brett Hutton was about to bowl the delivery that accounted for Carlson, who nicked it into the slips for 32. Hutton also accounted for Cooke, who got one that seemed to keep low and knocked his leg stump out of the ground. Glamorgan reached 199 for 8 when Smith was lbw to Nathan Buck for 4. In came the youngster Prem Sisodiya who survived the rest of Buck’s over. Salter got off the legspinner Prasanna at the other end to bring up the 200 and bring Sisodiya on strike. A few balls later he pushed too hard at a good length ball and it went straight into the midriff of silly mid-off, who held on. That was a bit unfortunate for Sisodiya, who thereby bagged a pair in this match.

Prem Sisodiya’s dismissal made it 200 for 9 and, with Mike Hogan being unable to bat owing to injury, that was the innings closed and the end of the match. As I predicted, it was all over before lunch. Northamptonshire won by 233 runs. Congratulations to them on a well-deserved victory: they were clearly the stronger team.

I always thought Glamorgan would struggle with the bat on the last day on this pitch. The variable bounce that has been there throughout the match seemed to get worse. The wrist spinner Prasanna extracted appreciable bounce and turn throughout the morning, to the extent of making life very difficult for his own wicket-keeper. One delivery from Prasanna leapt up so alarmingly that it went over the keeper’s head for four byes. I must admit, though, that I enjoyed watching the legspinner in action with fielders around the bat. As someone who tried to bowl wrist-spin when I was younger, I always enjoy seeing it done properly.

Other amusement was provided by a seagull who took it upon himself to patrol the area around mid on while the rest of the fielders were in attacking positions…

I think it is important to look on the bright side of disappointments like this. After all, in an uncertain and at times frightening world one can take comfort in the reassuring familiarity of a defeat for Glamorgan. Moreover, having already finished bottom of the table in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and looking likely to do the same in Division 2 of the County Championship, there will be a lot riding on this year’s Twenty20 competition: can Glamorgan pull off the treble?

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 3

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket with tags , , , on June 27, 2018 by telescoper

For the record, I thought I’d post a short update on today’s play at Sophia Gardens.

I only attended the morning session today. I forgot to take my phone so there’s no picture. It was a good morning’s play actually, with Glamorgan’s bowlers doing better. The huge opening partnership of 208 was eventually broken when Procter fell, soon followed by Duckett. How often it happens that both batsmen involved in a big stand get out in quick succession. Another three wickets fell for the addition of 90 runs. However at 259 for 5, with the Northants lead at 289, at lunch I reckoned the game was already beyond Glamorgan, and instead of returning to the ground after lunch I took a stroll around sunny Bute Park and went into the Data Innovation Research Institute office to attend to a few things.

Northamptonshire progressed to a total of 406 and declared when their 9th wicket fell. Tea was taken at that point. In the last session, Glamorgan slumped to 121 for 4, the first innings hero Khawaja among the fallen.

Glamorgan need to score 313 tomorrow to win. More relevantly, Northants need to take 6 wickets. I wouldn’t bet against the game finishing before lunch, actually.

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 2

Posted in Cricket on June 26, 2018 by telescoper

As I settled into my seat, checked the scorecard, and applied yet more sun lotion before today’s play I was as struck by the weakness of Glamorgan’s batting order, especially the very long tail, as I was by the lack of a quality third seamer in the bowling attack yesterday. A lot would depend on Khawaja, Carlson and Cooke, I thought. As it turned out, only one of those three made a decent contribution, Usman Khawaja, who was last man out, for 103, with the Glamorgan total 254. He had got Glamorgan within 27 runs of Northamptonshire when that looked very unlikely. He also became the first player ever to score hundreds in each of his first three County games for Glamorgan.

Earlier on, Glamorgan’s top three batsmen got into the twenties and then got out, taking them to lunch at 115 for 3. I went home for lunch again and, as it was so hot, I had a siesta. Returning to the ground, I found Carlson, Cooke and Salter had all fallen, and saw Smith and Sisodiya follow them. At this point Khawaja was on 67 and, sensing he was about to run out of partners he decided to go up a gear. A flurry of sixes and fours followed to take him to his hundred. He was out the next ball.

Still, with a deficit of only 27, some quick wickets would swing the balance in Glamorgan’s favour. Sadly for them, that emphatically did not happen. Northants openers Procter and Duckett had started the first innings very cautiously but, with the wicket still offering quite a lot to the bowlers they decided to be more aggressive and try put the pressure on the bowlers. It worked.

Glamorgan’s bowling attack became ragged as Duckett in particular took the bull by the horns. The lack of a decent third seamer was again exposed. Marchant De Lange is missing with a hamstring injury and Lucas Carey wasn’t picked, leaving Ruaidhri Smith to do the honours as first change. He bowled poorly, as did the more experienced off-spinner Andrew Salter.

As the runs piled on, the body language of the fielding team showed they knew the game was slipping away.

At stumps, Northamptonshire were 169 without loss, a lead of 196, with Duckett not out on 111 and Procter not out 50. I have to say that Glamorgan bowled too many bad balls at this pair, but you still have to take advantage of your opportunitues as a batsman, and they did so very well indeed.

Northants are well ahead with two days remaining. The likeliest scenario now is that they will amass a huge total tomorrow, bat Glamorgan out of the game, and wrap up victory on the last day.

It’s hard to tell if the pitch is getting easier or harder. After two full days under the grill you might expect it to wear, but there was no sign of that in the batting this evening. On the other hand, the umpires did have a look at the pitch a couple of times, as if they were worried by its state. Whatever happens to the pitch, it certainly doesn’t look like the weather will save Glamorgan!

Now, I need a drink.

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 1

Posted in Biographical, Cardiff, Cricket, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 25, 2018 by telescoper

Here I am, back in Cardiff and officially still employed at Cardiff University, but now taking up the annual leave I am owed before I depart.

The plan for this week’s leave, or at least four days of it, is to watch Glamorgan play Northamptonshire in Division Two of the County Championship at Sophia Gardens.

I arrived at the ground just before the start of play, with hardly a cloud in the sky. It was already hot at 11am so I covered myself liberally in sun lotion, which I clearly managed to get on the camera lens:

Here’s another one I took in the afternoon after I realised what had happened:

It proved to be an absorbing day’s cricket. Northants won the toss and, unsurprisingly, decided to bat first.

Glamorgan had an early breakthrough from Hogan and Smith but Northamptonshire reached lunch at 87 for 2, with Wakely and Vasconcelos looking settled. The latter fell soon after lunch, but Wakely and Levi then took Northants to tea without further loss.

The pair went on to share a stand of 118 until Smith (who was expensive but troubled all the batsmen) got Wakely caught in the slips by Khawaja for a fine 82.

Soon Northants were five down for 231 after Rossington departed for 7, but Crook and the combative but slightly portly figure of Levi took the score on to 275 for 5. At that point a decent score for Northants still looked likely.

Then Glamorgan took the new ball and Tim van der Gugten steamed in. Levi had an awful waft at the first ball and was caught: 275 for 6.

At that point all the wickets to fall had been caught behind the wicket, either by the wicket-keeper or in the slip cordon. What had troubled the batsmen had been bounce rather than lateral movement, which is a fairly typical Sophia Gardens wicket.

Anyway, two balls after Levi departed new batsman Prasanna tried to play some kind of shot (I know not what shot) and succeeded only in spooning up a dolly catch to mid on: 275 for 7.

Next over Hogan brought one back into Crook who was adjudged lbw (though if truth be told it looked a little high to me): 279 for 8.

Then it was van der Gugten’s turn again, getting one to lift at Hutton (no, not Len). The ball flashed into the slips and looked to have gone past Khawaja but somehow he plucked it out of the air for one of the best catches I have ever seen: 281 for 9.

Last man for Northants, Sanderson, walked to the wicket in the manner of a condemned man approaching the scaffold and when he got there he was clean bowled first ball by van der Gugten. Northants all out for 281, their last five wickets falling in the space of three overs. Quite a turnaround in the final session: Northants were 199 for 3 at tea.

Northamptonshire’s rapid demise left Glamorgan seven overs to bat before the close; openers Selman and Murphy negotiated them safely to end the day on 21 without loss.

It was a very absorbing day’s cricket on a very warm day indeed. I’m glad I had plenty of suncream on, as there were many in the crowd looking distinctly frazzled.

I don’t normally criticise umpires because they do a very hard job, but I feel I should mention one major lapse. Fortunately I don’t which it was so I can’t mention him by name. During the Northants innings, a batsman (Kevin, I think) played a shot to the mid-off area and set off for a quick single. The fielder threw and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end with the batsman apparently short of his ground. Unfortunately the umpire, who was moving to get out of the way, had turned his back to the action and couldn’t give the decision. There being no third umpire in County Cricket, that meant it was ‘not out’. I thought that was poor: umpires should keep their eyes on the play all the time. I would have thought a first class umpire would have done so.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the second day to see if Glamorgan can capitalise on Northamptonshire’s collapse. I’ve followed Glamorgan long enough to know not to take anything for granted!

Not Bad Godesberg

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2018 by telescoper

Well, dear Readers, at this time I was supposed to be in Bad Godesberg, a municipal district of Bonn, in southern North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany for the 2018 Euclid Consortium Meeting which starts there tomorrow morning. To make sure I didn’t miss the opening sessions I booked a flight to Bonn/Cologne Airport from Heathrow at 8.50am today, and took the National Express Coach from Cardiff at 3.15am in order to make sure I arrived in good time for the flight.

Unfortunately, only 15 minutes after the Coach started on its way I got a text from the airline (a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa called `Eurowings’) had been cancelled. This was either to do with a strike of French Air Traffic Controllers or Thunderstorms; they never really got their story right. After a number of abortive attempts to rebook my flight using the coach’s wifi (e.g. to Frankfurt, whence by train to Bonn). I was advised that the system was overloaded and I should rebook at the airport.

Arriving at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 6.30, there was already a long line at the ticketing desk for Lufthansa/Eurowings. It got longer and longer as people arrived to find other flights had been cancelled too. When, after about 90 minutes in a queue, I finally got to a desk very few rebooking opportuninities were available, all of them involving silly routes (e.g. flying to Berlin, followed by a four and a half hour train trip to Bonn).

Exasperated, I suggested I could fly tomorrow instead if they offered to put me up in a hotel overnight. I didn’t fancy going back to Cardiff just so I could get up at stupid o’clock tomorrow to repeat the exercise. I’ll miss the first session of the meeting, but that’s not the end of the world.

So here I am, not in Bad Godesberg, but in the Holiday Inn at Heathrow Airport. I was booked in, given vouchers for lunch, dinner and breakfast tomorrow morning, and given two vouchers for the shuttle bus to and from Terminal 2. The hotel is characterless, but clean and the food is OK. I arrived about 10am and the room was available for me straight away, so I was able to catch up on a bit of sleep before watching most of Scotland’s memorable victory over England in today’s One Day International.

Now that I’ve had my free dinner (grilled Sea Bass) I am going to get some kip before getting up for my free breakfast and free trip back to the airport. The only question remains: will tomorrow’s flight be cancelled too?

The Lord’s Day

Posted in Cricket on May 27, 2018 by telescoper

Yesterday I travelled to London (on a very slow train, diverted because of engineering work) in order to watch the third day’s play of the First Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s.

The above picture was taken from my seat on the top level of the recently refurbished Warner Stand, looking towards the Mound Stand.

Pakistan were well on top going into the third day, having dismissed England for just 184 in their first innings. They started Day 3 on 350 for 8 and added just 13 to their overnight score before Mohammad Abbas was out, at which point the innings closed; Babar Azam had retired hurt the previous day, struck on the arm, and was unable to resume.

England came out to vat, and their performance mirrored the first innings – wickets fell to a mixture of good deliveries and poor shots. Bairstow, for example, was bowled by a beautiful delivery from Amir that nipped back off the seam and Stoneman got one from the legspinner Shadab Khan that turned and kept low. Stokes on the other hand played a weak shot to a nothing ball and was caught at short midwicket.

When Root was out for 68, with the score on 110 for 6, an innings defeat looked inevitable but there then followed a fine century partnership between Jos Buttler and Debutant spinner Dom Bess. I don’t rate Buttler as a Test player and his selection (as a batsman to play at No. 7) was an admission that the higher order was likely to fail, which of course it did. However to give credit where it is due he and Bess played very well, taking England to 235 for 6, adding 125 between them, avoiding an innings defeat and giving England a lead of 56.

It was a good performance from the 7th wicket pair, but England would need at least another 100 runs to have any chance of winning.

England’s batting frailties and later recovery notwithstanding, it was a fine performance in the field from Pakistan who I thought were very impressive.

On Day 4 the England batting collapsed as it had in the first innings: the last four wickets fell for just 7 runs, leaving Pakistan a target 64 to win, which they duly rattled off on less than an hour for the loss of just one wicket.

Well played Pakistan, and congratulations on a thoroughly well deserved victory!

England’s poor performance against this Pakistan team certainly puts that of Ireland a couple of weeks ago into perspective!