Archive for Sophia Gardens

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.

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 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!

Glamorgan v. Middlesex

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket with tags , , , , on May 23, 2018 by telescoper

I took today off on annual leave (as I have to use all my allowance before I depart my job at Cardiff University). My intention was to make the best of the good weather to watch some cricket.

And so it came to pass that this morning I wandered down to Sophia Gardens for the start of the Royal London One-Day Cup (50-over) match between Glamorgan and Middlesex. It also came to pass that about fifteen minutes later I wandered back home again. I hadn’t checked the start time, which was actually 2pm…

The later start screwed up my plans as I had something to do in the evening but I thought I’d at least watch the first team bat (which turned out to be Middlesex).

(I’m not sure what caused the weird stripes on the picture.. .)

It was a lovely afternoon for cricket, and Middlesex got off to a good start in excellent batting conditions. Gradually though Glamorgan’s bowlers established some measure of control. After a mini-collapse of three wickets in three overs (to Ingram’s legspin) it looked like Middlesex might not make 300 (which seems to be the par score in this competition). Unfortunately for Glamorgan, however, de Lange and Wagg were expensive at the death and a flurry of boundaries took Middlesex to 304 for 6 off their 50 overs.

At that point I left Sophia Gardens to get ready to go out.

I’ve just got back to discover that Glamorgan lost by just 2 runs, ending on 302 for 9. It must have been a tense finish, and was a good game overall, but Glamorgan have now lost all three games they have played in this competition..

A Day of Sports in Cardiff

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket, Football with tags , , on May 6, 2018 by telescoper

Today I saw my first day of County Cricket this season at Sophia Gardens. It was actually the 3rd day of Glamorgan against Kent, which also turned out to be the last, as Kent won by six wickets.

Defeat for Glamorgan looked pretty inevitable after a horrendous first innings batting collapse from 57-0 to 94 all out. Although they dismissed Kent for 174 and scored 274 in their second innings, the lead of 194 never looked like being enough. On the other hand Yorkshire won their latest match against Essex despite being all out for 50 in their first innings!

As it turned out, in the warm sunshine and good batting conditions, Glamorgan’s bowlers tried hard but didn’t have much luck and never really looked like precipitating the sort of collapse that they needed to win the game.

Today’s play began with a farcical delay caused by a leak in the underground drainage system beneath the square which caused a wet patch. Play was delayed until 12.40 and the players had an early lunch while the sun did its work drying out the square. I’m not sure how this happened but it didn’t affect the game, which was always going to finish today given that there was no chance of the weather intervening. .

A very disappointing result for Glamorgan, but hopefully they can rebound in their next game.

Anyway, just before 2.30pm those of us inside Sophia Gardens (only abiut 250) could hear the sound of fireworks from the Cardiff City Stadium (which is about 20 minutes walk away). Despite only drawing today’s match against Reading, Cardiff City are promoted to the Premiership for next season in second place. They have Birmingham City to thank for that, who beat Fulham 3-1 to secure their Championship survival and prevent Fulham from finishing ahead of Cardiff. Miss Lemon will be pleased.

At the other end of the table, Barnsley, Burton Albion join already relegated Sunderland in League One. The three relegated clubs, once again, are all from the Midlands. It’s strange how often that happens..

The Autumnal Equinox

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2017 by telescoper

So here we are then. The Autumnal Equinox (in the Northern hemisphere) takes place this evening, at 21.02 BST (20.02 GMT) at which point the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the Sun’s disk. This is traditionally taken to be the end of summer. It was a lovely morning in Cardiff, sunny and warm. Looking back over the posts I’ve written at this time of year since I started blogging in 2008, it’s notable how many times we’ve had a period of good weather around the autumnal equinox. The local traditional name for this is the `Little Summer of St Michael’. Anyway, here’s am excerpt from the post I wrote in 2008 on this:

The weather is unsettling. It’s warm, but somehow the warmth doesn’t quite fill the air; somewhere inside it there’s a chill that reminds you that autumn is not far away.

I find this kind of weather a bit spooky because it always takes me back to the time when I left home to go to University, as thousands of fledgling students are about to do this year in their turn.

This morning I had some business to attend to near my home. In fact it was in an office in Temple Court on Cathedral Road. I hadn’t been there before and it was only when I got there that I realised that the building used to be a synagogue. Opened in 1897 this was built at the same time as the grand houses on Cathedral Road. It hasn’t been used as a synagogue for some time, and the building has been substantially extended at the rear, but it is still a Grade II listed building.

My little errand completed I decided to make the most of the weather by watching the morning’s play on the last day of the County Championship match between Glamorgan and Gloucestershire at the SSE Swalec Stadium in Sophia Gardens. Some playing was lost yesterday because of rain; the forecast had suggested a complete washout, but the rain cleared much earlier than predicted. Glamorgan had been all out for 442 in their first innings. Gloucestershire found batting pretty comfortable but lost a flurry of wickets on Thursday afternoon and ended up declaring on 399 for 8 after 110 overs to have a go at Glamorgan for 15 overs late on. They had an early success with the ball, removing Brown for 13, with the score on 15, but opener Nick Selman and Andrew Salter, promoted to No. 3, took them to the close. I watched them bat together all the way to lunch, as Glamorgan proceeded serenely to 154 for 1.

Here are the players going off for lunch:

The game seems to be drifting to a draw, the likelihood of which is increased even further by the fact that rain is forecast this afternoon, so it wasn’t the most exciting cricket I’ve ever watched, but it’s good to end the season with Glamorgan doing well. A sudden declaration with 40-50 overs left might give Glamorgan the chance of a win, but the pitch is very flat and I can’t see a result being forced. I’m pretty sure the plan is to give Glamorgan’s batsmen a chance to build up a bit of confidence for next season. I just checked the score, in fact, to find that Nick Selman has scored a century, which will do him a power of good!

Our new students arrive for `induction’ next week – including the new PhD students involved with our Centre for Doctoral Training who will be attending a Launch Event that starts on Sunday afternoon. I have a few last-minute jobs to do connected with that this afternoon so I’d better get on with them if I want to get finished so I can enjoy the first Amser Jazz Time of the new season!