Archive for the Cricket Category

End of Summer in Wales

Posted in Biographical, Cricket on September 11, 2018 by telescoper

Well, with the Last Night of the Proms over and done with on Saturday, and the last day of the Fifth Test between England and India just finished at the Oval, that’s the end of the summer as far as I’m concerned.

I thought for a while earlier today that India might just pull off a remarkable victory. Needing 464 to win they were going well as Rahul and Pant put on a 200 partnership. I saw that BetFair were offering 16/1 on an India victory so put a tenner on. That had the desired effect and India were all out for 345. Good effort though by India. Especially well, played by Pant, on his maiden century!

Oh, and Jimmy Anderson took the last wicket, his 564th in Test cricket, and thereby beat Glenn McGrath’s record as leading pace bowling wicket-taker of all time in Test matches.

The 4-1 margin of victory in this series rather flatters England and is correspondingly harsh on India. The big worry for England is that with Cook now in retirement they now have to find two reliable opening batsmen when so far they’ve failed to find one.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I’m back to Maynooth. I have a paper and a book manuscript to submit before getting my lectures ready for the new term.

After receiving some very good news today, there is also a big event to prepare for on October 9th of which more anon..

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Glamorgan v Gloucestershire: Day 1

Posted in Cricket on September 10, 2018 by telescoper

Back in Cardiff for a short visit, I thought I’d make the most of what remains of my season ticket to watch the morning’s play at Sophia Gardens between Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.

It being September, play commenced at 10.30 after an uncontested toss. Gloucestershire invited Glamorgan to bat first. In humid conditions, under overcast skies, and against a team lacking confidence, it was a predictable decision.

Connor Brown was the first Glamorgan batsman to go, lbw playing back to one that might have kept low. A few overs later Tom Cullen inexplicably shouldered arms to a straight delivery that hit the top of middle stump. Kieran Carlson went first ball to a very good delivery from Payne, and then Stephen Cook was caught behind down the leg side off one that bounced sharply and took the glove. That made it 17 for 4, which became 21 for 5 when David Lloyd was lbw to Payne.

To be fair to the batsmen the ball was darting around a bit, and batting didn’t look at all easy. All the same it looked like another sorry capitulation.

Wicketkeeper Chris Cooke had other ideas, however, and he and Graham Wagg out together a good counterattack. Cooke reached 50 having hit 11 fours, and their partnership was worth 83 valuable runs. Cooke was out before lunch for 60, caught behind off the bowling of Payne.

Glamorgan went into lunch at 109 for 6, having recovered somewhat from 21 for 5. I left at lunchtime to take care of some personal things. When I checked just now, Glamorgan were all out for 137, heading for their 9th consecutive defeat.

Meanwhile, at the Oval, Alastair Cook has scored a century in his final Test Match. Well played sir!

UPDATE: I went back to the ground after the tea interval, and saw Gloucestershire progress to 133 for 5. It never looked easy batting, and there were quite a few edges that fell safe and quite a lot of playing and missing, but no great collapse by the visitors. The weather forecast for tomorrow is a bit grim so that is probably the last cricket I’ll see at Sophia Gardens as a Glamorgan member. Best wishes to the players and all the staff at the ground.

Cricket Comments

Posted in Biographical, Cricket on September 9, 2018 by telescoper

As the Test cricket season in England draws to a close I thought I might do a post summarising my extensive contributions to the comments section of the BBC Test Match Special website.

Here they both are:

The first was posted just before the start of play on the first day of the 4th Test between England and India. It turned out to be rather prescient. The second appeared earlier today, during the third day of the Fifth Test.

I think it was Andy Warhol who said that one day everyone will have a comment on the TMS web page. At any rate, that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to 15 minutes of fame..

Lines composed upon Hearing News of the Retirement of Mr Alastair Cook from International Cricket

Posted in Cricket, Poetry on September 3, 2018 by telescoper

So.
Farewell then,
Alastair
Cook.

I hear that
You are going
To retire from
Test Match
Cricket.

Does that mean
You will go
Back
To doing
Letter from
America?

by Peter Coles (aged 55 ¼)

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 (Marsh & 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.

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.