Showing posts with label pete hayman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pete hayman. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Ain’t Over…

William and Kate at Wimbledon
“One does not move during overs…”
I know what you’re thinking. It must have taken something deeply significant for my column to spring back into life after nearly a year with seemingly nothing to say for myself, right? Well, no – not quite. For six of you who read this, it might seem like a pretty small issue. For the remaining three of you, it may strike a chord – a C# Minor in fact – and we may be in agreement. Who knows! I certainly don’t… that’s quite evident!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Only Way Is Up

The only way is up for Glamorgan. We could split hairs and admit that, actually, the Dragons aren’t bottom of the table in the embryonic stages of the campaign. But based on three results alone, Things Can Only Get Better – and if you can’t hear D:Ream playing at the back of your mind right now, you’re not trying…
The margins of defeat have been 52 runs, 130 runs and two wickets in that order. It’s tempting to jump in with an ill-conceived rant when things aren’t going well, but you can end up looking stupid. Just ask Tottenham fans when the gap between them and Arsenal was 10 points in their favour not so long ago.
But enough about football. It’s the cricket season, right?
A recurring theme so far this season for Glamorgan has been the inability to put runs on the board. Marcus North is currently the most anticipated Welsh arrival since Brunel brought the railway to town. And I’m pretty sure no-one was saying that as Australia came to the SWALEC Stadium for the 1st Ashes Test in 2009.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

CricLit – The Sum-erset Of All Fears

SCCC-IA agent Alfonso Thomas
Tom Clanc-ingdownthewicket comes to the fore in this CricLit entry, lending his pen to a thriller that would put the world on a precipice. Perhaps one from which it might not recover as a new world order threatened to break into existence…
Chapter 17
The days were shorter now back home, Alfonso told himself. It wasn’t that the season had gone on late in India, just that days were shortening back in England. The earth’s orbit around the sun, and the way the axis of rotation was not perpendicular with the plane of the… ecliptic? Something like that.
The team coach dropped them off in front of the Chennai stadium, and he walked in, wondering when the last cup had been, aside from the 2005 Twenty20 Cup, when Graeme Smith was in flight and outlined by the Oval floodlights. Blackbirds.
About the only good news was that he didn’t bring the video of the CB40 final or the Friends Life T20 Finals Day – but that wasn’t quite true either, was it. He brought no videos home, but it was less easy to clear out the mind than to clear out the dressing room at Lord’s or the Rose Bowl or wherever…
Alfonso heard the sounds of the Chennai crowd, the TV was tuned to ESPN Star. The Mumbai dressing room was making noises. Toshiba Power Sixes. He walked into the Somerset dressing room to announce the team.
“Alfonso!” Kieswetter ran over to deliver his bat, followed by a plaintive appeal. “Alfonso, you promise we can win this tournament?”
Oh, shit… the kids were back in school and there was the matter of the other game up in Bangalore. Somerset had to, had to, had to… when! When could the run break loose. The semi finals were now half-done, and Somerset were currently his baby and the England players had come out a week behind, and he had to get them over the line if it was going to end this trophy-less run.
“I’m going to try, Craig,” Alfonso promised his wicketkeeper, who was too young to understand about any obligation beyond Somerset’s promise.
“Alfonso, you promise?”
“I don’t know.”
“Game time,” Trego announced. ” And tomorrow’s the Final day.”
Alfonso hugged each of his team mates, but the exercise in affection merely left a nervy spot on his conscience. What sort of a captain was he turning into? The start of the 2012 season was next April or May, and who could say if Somerset might have a trophy, finally, to their name for that? Better find out
Better find out the date of the Friends Life T20 and CB40 finals so that he could schedule it now. Try to schedule it now. Alfonso reminded himself that little things like promises to his team mates on the matter of trophies were – little things!
God, how did this ever happen. He watched the players talk in their dressing room, then himself headed out to the umpire. The toss was won. He elected to bat, before walking back to his team. He was banking on Trego and Kieswetter now. It was much more likely they’d get a good start, and his other batsmen were also more selective in their shots of late. The cool boxes held a bag full of – Red Bull, wasn’t it.
About where Lucozade Sport had been twenty years earlier. The taste in question was very fruity, to mask the amount of sugar it had, and lack of alcohol content, which wouldn’t have done any favours.
Alfonso looked at the scoreboard. If he were very lucky, Somerset might get 140/150 on the board before the Mumbai Indians chased. He needed those runs. At the ground, he lived on the hope that Somerset might win and his system was becoming saturated with expectation. Once he’d been able to nap in the dug-out, but no longer. By the start of play, his system was wired, and by late afternoon his body played a strange melody of fatigue and nerves that sometimes left him wondering if he were going a little bid mad.
Well. As long as he asked himself that question… A few minutes later, a wicket had fallen. Pity the sun had dried out the pitch. Trego had beaten himself for pace – he’d planned to be there for at least an hour, but… it was always something for Somerset, wasn’t it?
When he walked, there was that look of discomfort from the dug-out. On the way into the dressing room, he opened the locker door to pull a Jelly Bean from his kit bag. These he chewed and washed down with an energy drink, starting off his third bottle in less than 13 overs.
Trego was no longer there, though he’d left some foundation on which for Somerset to push on in the powerplay. Alfonso watched and saw some good running between the wicket. It was fine. He took the team sheet and flipped the batting order around, making the power-hitters his priority. Jos Buttler was now coming in next.
Alfonso settled back into his chair and allowed himself a smile. It was working. Going hard at the start would be the resurgence of Somerset’s trophy hopes. Shop owners in Chennai were loading up Scrumpy in anticipation of the extended stay of their English tourists. The team, explained Tresco who’d opted to stay in the town of Taunton, was after all of fairly decent potential with good players. The Champions League was a tour that would prove this. Champions League? Alfonso thought. Well, why not?
It’s worth it, Alfonso told himself. You helped bring that about. You helped make that happen. You took tickets, and if nobody else knows it, the hell with it. You know. God knows. Isn’t that enough? No, Alfonso told himself in a quiet flash of honesty.
So what if the idea of Somerset winning a trophy had not been completely original? What idea ever was? It had been his thought that would make it happen in Chennai, his captaincy had gotten the team through this far, his… he deserved something for it, some recognition, enough for a little footnote in Somerset’s history book, but would he get it?
Alfonso snorted into his Red Bull. No chance. Kieron Pollard, that clever chap, would be hitting everybody to all parts when Franklin, Symonds, Kanwar were all done with it. If Alfonso ever tried to get his bowlers to get them to play straight, it’d look like a poor line, bowling either to leg or off side – and not a good length.
Cheer up Alfonso. You’re still alive. You have the CB40, you have the Friends Life T20. You have the County Championship.
Pete Hayman for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Pete on Twitter @petehayman

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

End of Term

Sixth Place None The Richer
Promotion to Division One? A first County Championship title since 1934? No… the ultimate accolade won on the last day of the 2011 season went to Glamorgan, defeating Kent in the Canterbury twilight with a pink ball. There are no trophies, but the honour of finishing sixth in Division Two. You can’t buy that kinda glory…
It concluded a disappointing campaign on a high note, that much is true. Gareth Griffiths has already provided a very astute post mortem for Wales on Sunday – the link can be found here. And naturally, the first thought that springs to mind is whether the winter upheaval was worth the public fall-out.
Glamorgan finish the season and start the pre-season break, effectively, with just one of the senior personnel still in his original role – chief executive Alan Hamer. Captain, coach, president and chairman have all altered in the past year, with the latter arguably being the odd one out and not related to the others.
Congratulations to Middlesex CCC
For two successive seasons, Glamorgan narrowly missed out on promotion to the first division of the LV County Championship. Any ambition of “third time lucky” was unceremoniously neutered more than a month before the last day. It was the ungratifying price to pay for the changes designed to improve the Dragons’ limited overs form.
There was a little encouragement in the CB40, with an increase in the number of games won. But only slightly, with a defeat to the Unicorns and another unhappy showing in the Friends Life T20 making you ask if Glamorgan had only served to throw the baby out with the bathwater as the club’s landscape changed last year?
Where did it go wrong?
Before the season, I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough quality with the bat and that runs would not be easily acquired – due mainly to Mark Cosgrove being ousted as overseas player. However, I was much more confident about the ability of the bowlers to take 20 wickets in a four-day context.
Well, the final table makes me look a bit of a chump there. Glamorgan scored the third highest tally of batting points (44, behind Northants and Middlesex), while only bottom side Leicestershire scored less bowling points. I’m not sure that I’m altogether in the wrong though…
Hover Bowling. Not such a success
Glamorgan’s bowling attack was beset by injuries throughout the campaign. Not just front-line bowlers like James Harris and Graham Wagg (particularly early in the season), but able deputies such as Jim Allenby. And not forgetting that Adam Shantry and David Harrison both called time on their careers in 2011.
Dean Cosker fell one wicket short of 50 for the season, but times must have been tough if Gareth Rees was seen to open the bowling during the Friends Life T20.
With the bat, three scored more than 1,000 runs: skipper Alviro Petersen, young ‘un William Bragg and captain-elect Mark Wallace. Stewart Walters was the only to average more than 50, but he featured in half the number of innings than each of the three to pass 1,000. Gareth Rees was next nearest to 1,000 with 954 runs.
Statistically, the batting in County Championship games was fairly good, but the totals scored in limited overs games wasn’t quite enough on many occasions. The result would be, aside from a defeat, the wonder of what might had been if 10/20 more had been scored. (See also: Hampshire away, Friends Life T20)
Anyway, we’re seven months away from the start of the 2012 season and it’s time in which Matthew Mott can firmly shape the team in his image – you might call it an improvement on the limited time he had before the 2011 season. And already there have been announcements regarding personnel.
Marcus North comes in on a two-year deal, while a number of players have been retained. Nick James and Stewart Walters are two that can surely count on more game time next season after impressing in the opportunities that came their way – particularly during the latter stages of the 2011 campaign.
Simon Jones has been touted for a return, with his loan spell earlier this summer showing that the paceman still had much to offer the Dragons. Particularly when you consider how experience can rub off on the new generation of seamers. Mark Cosgrove’s return for the T20s wouldn’t go amiss either.
Walking out to bat...
He’d be playing for a newly-branded team, however, with Glamorgan Dragons to make way for the Welsh Dragons. Cricketing gods reacted to this change of name by requiring the Dragons to beat 2011?s CB40 champions, runners-up and one of the two other semi-finalists to qualify from the group stage of next year’s event.
Not that I probably have much cause for complaint. I’m not Welsh – those of you who are might like the change. But if we’re talking name changes, why not chase some insurance sponsorship and change the four-day name to Gla-morethan? I jest, of course… and a rose by another name still smells like a daffodil, right?
I mean, I still call it Sophia Gardens… (who doesn’t?)
Pete Hayman for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Pete on Twitter @petehayman

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ireland v England – The Alternative View

Nothing like playing up to a stereotype
“I’m supporting my two home teams” chirped one South African-come-Irishman as Craig Kieswetter and Jonathan Trott strolled out to bat at Clontarf. Very good, I thought. You can’t fault him for accuracy, although some questions remain over his relationship with his Irish chum next to him with a Leprechaun on his head.
Next to me is another local who appears to know his stuff; at least as far as being able to identify the counties to which some of England’s debutants are from. But there is little shrift for the notion that the visitors’ two South African openers are being skippered by a Dublin lad… “farce” I believe is a term I heard being used.
A braver soul than I might’ve raised Boyd Rankin’s exploits with England Lions, but let’s roll this back to the beginning. To Stansted Airport. And to a lovely pint of Magners enjoyed in the Wetherspoons. It is quite a shock how quiet Ryanair’s holding pen is during normal hours. Everyone else left at 5am for Malaga I guess.
By using the toilet on the flight over, I appeared to have sold my soul to Satan. Or Merv Hughes. My punishment was to think nothing ill of visiting the Temple Bar and being a tourist. If Ireland says it has paid back the UK’s loans in full, the pint and a half of Guinness in Temple Bar will tell you where those funds came from.
I had looked to @tomdotcom1 for some restraint, but I think he considers a man who, by 11pm, had been wearing flip-flops and a straw hat for approx 20 hours to be beyond such help. Fortunately, sleepytime called. I wouldn’t have let a lack of sleep ruin the following day’s play; we had the rain for that…
For the past fortnight, the forecast had been a changeable-yet-complete arse. The only constant was rain. This is Ireland, after all. But we had sunshine to start and threatening clouds were skirting the ground as we arrived. My aims were clear – get a free t-shirt, a free poncho and something with 4/6 on it to wave maniacally.
The rain did come before the start of play, but I was prepared. With the flip-flops on, I would avoid the annoyance of having wet shoes and socks. Meanwhile, with the poncho deployed to cover my seat, I wouldn’t get a wet that way. The hat can do the rest… it’s a hat, it has magic powers like that.
Rankin? Number One Test Team apparently
After the rain, play starts more or less on time. And Ireland – with something of a point to prove after the World Cup – begin well on a greeeeeeeeen surface. Yep, that’s how green it is. Rankin seems to me to have a tendency to stray onto leg a little too often, but Trott and Kieswetter aren’t setting the world alight with false shots and tickles.
By the time of the next rain interruption, England are two down and going along at a less-than-brisk 3-point-something an over. Eoin Morgan is, however, at the crease and you already sense there’s a key wicket here. But we’ll have to wait and see, because my feet are getting wet and the bar’s now open for Beamish. Nice.
The break gives one a chance to reflect; mainly at how many spectators were up in arms for catches taken off one bounce. This is serious cricket, not one bounce one hand rules. But with the unpredictability of the ICC, perhaps such a format is but months away from being introduced to keep the Associates off their case.
And it also at this point you get to admire the torrent of purple that has washed in over each of the stands at Clontarf CC. It’s very much Poncho o’Clock and the speed at which some have gone from ‘bagged poncho’ to ‘bagged in a poncho’ is amazing. The €5 cost of Beamish, meanwhile, is almost welcome after last night.
See. Blue sky. Just over there...
The restart is preceded by a crackly PA announcement about England going to a 4-4-f**king-2 formation, or something. I knew Andy Flower was absent, but did he have to send Mike Bassett? Turns out I was wrong anyway…. the game had been reduced to 42 overs. And Morgan was off, swinging momentum to the Englishsouthafricanirishmen.
Ireland’s policy of containment throughout the innings and into the sunshine at the latter stages almost kept England to under 200. Tail end bat throwing helped the visitors cause, but it had left Ireland with a challenging enough chase on that surface. But you would probably argue that the hosts had done their job.
The interval brought with it kids onto the pitch with a Kwik Cricket set and a desire to bump off a few people in the stands. Some of the batting on display would put my best efforts to shame; two shots cleared the stand and a third spent the rest of the day bouncing along the top of the Portaloos in the corner where fancy dress lived.
Did I mention the kid bowling off a full run up? One for England to nick perhaps.
After the fun in the sun came the pain in the rain. Ireland’s start mirrored that of their guests – slow scoring and two early wickets. In fact, the Irish became rather bogged down (no pun intended) before the rain break. But they were on an equal footing going into the rain delay. If clouds could talk, these ones were swearing.
The rainbow. It's holding up the sky!
It was a much-longer rain delay and the wind whipped up to create an autumnal feel to the afternoon. The flip flops suddenly seemed a bit foolish. There were at least some moments of sunshine, but ICC rules categorically state that you have to wait for more rain to come after a rain break before you can attempt to get the action re-started.
A revised target of quite a lot from not very many left Ireland with a tough task to pull off the victory. I retain the opinion that Jack Duckworth has done nothing to help the game of cricket with the method he devised with Morse’s sidekick. Yes, I know Eoin Morgan transformed England’s innings, but duh, Kevin O’Brien?!
Wickets started falling, Ireland started getting behind the required rate. Kev got two meaty sixes away but eventually yorked himself against Dernbach… and the earlier rain had pretty much washed away any lingering hopes. There was some defiant resistance down the order, but six-an-over ain’t enough when needing 12.
The final margin of victory was 11 runs and Eoin Morgan was named Man Of The Match… it was cricket’s way of telling Ireland “let’s see what you could have won” and gave England newbies a nice champagne spraying session to enjoy. It didn’t rain again that day, y’know…
That night, the flip-flops were dispensed with. Sleeping aside, they’d seen around 30 hours of action in two days – that’s 1,797 minutes more than Ravi Bopara had batted and 1,800 more than Tom Cleverley has managed for the England football team. I don’t think any winners have come out of that particular perspective.
Lost in Dublin...
As an addendum, you can rest assured that the flip-flops were given the Friday to recuperate as the Guinness Storehouse became the “place to be”. It slightly irks a former barman of little repute like me that any old fecker can get a certificate for pulling a pint there, but I suppose we’re all equals in the eyes of dear old Arthur.
Then again, maybe it was my shamrock that set me apart from the rest. Certainly apart from Tommy, who was too busy making a mess by leaving the tap running. But he’s from Barnet and has flippers for hands. I know my triumphs. And now I have a certificate to prove one of ‘em… some things transcend cricket, y’know.
Pete Hayman for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Pete on Twitter @petehayman