Posts Tagged ‘sport’
This morning, just after 10 o’clock, Cricinfo reported that the start of the LVCC Division 2 match between Surrey and Derbyshire had been delayed due to crowd congestion. I rubbed my knuckles into my eyes sockets, looked sceptically at the bottle of scotch I keep on my desk to intoxicate me through the day, and gazed at my monitor for a minute.
Could this be true? Perhaps the phenomenal recent accomplishment of the international side had caused a tsunami of interest to wash at the gates of the Oval. Or the tantalising prospect of promotion dangling down like a moist grape had enticed the ‘Rey followers in their thousands.
No. I spoke to my friend Bonald in his Oval office. He reported that there was around a hundred people at the ground. Unless the arena was only accessible through a small skylight in the pavilion roof then congestion seemed unlikely. He also added that the game started in disappointingly punctual fashion.
It seems that there was a miscommunication on the part of Cricinfo. Either that or a sick satirical joke on county cricket’s perennial inability to attract an audience even for its most arresting fixtures. Invariably the domestic season works as a crescendo towards a finale in which literally zillions of permutations are thrillingly possible, as potentially crucial points are made available at every turn like blackberries on an autumnal bush. Unlike in football, in which the last game of the season is mainly just a parade of expensive new kits and self-congratulation, domestic cricket often comes to an exhilarating conclusion. Just in front of 0.01% of the crowd.
I’m not massively comfortable with the use of superlatives. They’re a bit flash and unnecessary, like diamond dental crowns. It does tend to dilute the vocabulary when describing England this summer though, hence why I’ve been less than prolific recently. But now England are officially
the best very good, and deserved holders of the Giant Shiny Chupa-Chup, I should pass some form of comment.
Watching the highlights today, I spied something in one fleeting frame of action. Chris Schofield had appeared on the pitch. A gormless ghostly figure from the past, from a much shitter era of English cricket. Normally the management let enthusiastic spaniel pups come bounding onto the field when a substitute is required, like that boy from One Direction who was pressed into service at the weekend.
Perhaps Schofield was introduced as a reminder of what once was. A gawky chinless reminiscence of where it all began, being one of the first signatories on a ECB central contract. So here’s to you Schoey, they couldn’t have done it without you.
I was invited to write a piece on my favourite cricketer for World Cricket Watch and Balanced Sports websites. Other bloggers have also contributed to this series, using it as an opportunity to lyricize about iconic and celebrated figures of the game. I wrote about Ed Giddins. He took drugs and was a bit crap. Seminally crap as it turns out.
For those of you edified by the spectacle of top-level sportsmen being a bit crap you might be advised to tune into the Open at Royal St.Georges this week. Last time round at Sandwich Tiger Woods hit his first shot of the championship into the clag and lost his ball, wading into the jungle like a Sunday hacker and suffering multiple shin lacerations from the nasty thistles.
The word on the Kent street is that the course has been softened up for tomorrow, the committee mindful of the public desire for a noted champion rather than the vaguely bewildered journeyman that was Ben Curtis in 2003. Some major tournament administrators labour under the misapprehension that creating a tougher test sorts the men from boys. It does the opposite. It invites men and boys to play together as equal, if that doesn’t sound like a homosexual golf orgy.
But there is still this:
This is the bunker on the fourth hole at Royal St Georges. It’s the deepest bunker on the major circuit. It’s so massive you could ski down it. It might have a second use as an eco-home for a family of ethno-sloanes. There used to be a thriving medieval village at top but it has been long since laid waste to by voracious erosion. Look closely at the foot of this vast granulated mountain and there are the antique skulls of the poor souls who ventured in there with a sand wedge and never came out again.
Let’s hope at least one unfortunate wanders in there, there’ll be more hacking than a red-top newspaper (ooh topical).
I bowled two overs yesterday. I conceded 37 runs. My team lost by two runs. It has led me to appraise my skills as a cricketer, assess my strengths and weaknesses.
My weaknesses as a bowler is probably my bowling. My bowling is quite weak. I’m not great at fielding either.
Among my strengths is the fact that I am not bad in the clubhouse. When batting, I am pretty good at the leave. The leave is my best shot. I’m better at not hitting the ball than hitting it. I am also very good at under-arming the ball to the bowler when standing at mid-on. I am so accurate that often the bowler doesn’t even need to break stride as he walks back to his mark.
My genuine skill in the game is scoring. I am very handy with a pencil in my hands. I know when to erase and not to erase. I can count to six.
Which is why I love the below clip of one of my brethren, Keith Booth, in action at in the score box at the Oval. Action is probably the wrong word. There is a long section at the end in which the most interesting thing to happen is Keith clearing his throat. My favourite quote is when Keith explains that his Tipp-ex is the second most important tool of his trade, behind only his laptop. Obviously no-one has shown him where the delete button is.
This is how Surrey promoted their last Twenty20 game against Essex. A picture of a lady with a snake. The snake is called Baz. It was a visual element of an initiative that attempted to attract punters to the match by throwing a “singles party”. This is not a party to celebrate a bunt down to long-on and a trot through for one, although obviously that is a good reason to have a party. This was to encourage single people to come to the Oval to potentially meet other single people and then snog or something. The evening was called “the Joy of Six”. It sounds a bit like The Joy of Sex, which was an illustrated sex manual published in 1972.
This misguided venture overlooks the fact cricket is not a sexy game and it is predominately followed by sexless men in slacks who smell of scotch eggs. Many of this ilk make up the membership of Surrey Cricket Club and they strenuously objected to the dancing girls who were booked as part of the shenanigans.
They may also have been responsible for the half-time entertainment on the night, which could have been engineered as the least sexy possible alternative to counter the singles night.
He waddled onto the pitch for a darts challenge. He threw three darts and scored 35. Which was one less than the lady who was plucked from the crowd whose first dart missed the board entirely.
At least Surrey won.
Rhythmic gymnastics is one of only five Olympic sports that has sold out all its sessions in the first ticket drive for the 2012 Games in London. Far be it from me to question one of the events under the great Olympian umbrella, but really? I like ribbon as much as the next person, but really really? Isn’t it just women dancing with stuff?
Perhaps Britain is home to a covert community of rhythmic gymnastic enthusiasts. People who gather cravenly in underground car parks to throw a ball in the air, do a roly-poly, and then catch the ball again.
See. It’s easy.
We all like songs about golf tournaments and here’s a particularly timely one, even though it appears to be about a course called Argasta National and somewhere called Amen’s Corner.
Technology can discombobulate. There were real concerns that the passengers of the early steam train journeys would be so unnerved by the motion that their heads would explode. When the Lumiere brothers showed the first moving images in a Parisian cinema the audience were so terrified they stampeded out onto the street.
I wonder if the elders at Sky Sports considered these dangers when they decided not only to premiere their 3-D Masters coverage but also to roll out the powerful sexual entity that is Colin Montgomerie. Not literally roll out, although that would be an operation rendered facile by the epic undulations on the Augusta course. It’s these vast green slopes that Montgomerie seems completely fixated on and are of course only revealed in their proper glory in the 3-D format.
Montgomerie himself has a mesmeric quality. It’s mainly his chops, which have the same elastic potential as a Creature Comforts tortoise. It’s also what comes out of his mouth: the strange burbles, whispery coughs, the giggles at nothing, and the odd mid-sentence boggle in which the same word will be repeated three or four times like a skipping CD. It’s like he’s become lost in his own huge jowls. 3-D jowls. There’s a head-exploding thought.
Whenever I see the England cricket team come together in a huddle I always picture Tredwell running around the perimeter seeking a way in, leaping up on someone’s shoulders to try and get himself involved in the discussion. He appears to have been the victim of a malicious practical joke, invited to a party only to be kept out on the pavement watching the festivities longingly through a window.
In his few international appearances so far Tredwell has maintained the craven demeanour of a man who knows he doesn’t belong, like a player who knows he’s only selected as the result of a series of administrative blunders. Perhaps he’s been found out after all.