England Find Secret Weapon


Those England cricketers who’d had the decency to see out the whole tour received a boost yesterday. Spied amongst the MCG crowd were some of the traveling supporters sporting new {and extremely reasonably priced) garb to cheer on their boys.

“Those shirts definitely made a difference to the way we played to” Said Alastair Cook, a part time estate agent from Rhyl (no relation).

Swanny fvcks off. New T-shirts arrive. England have best day of tour. Coincidence ? You be the judge. Shirts (available in the foyer and from all good stockists.)

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Plucky England Show Signs of Steady Improvement


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Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad, March 29 1994.

England should take great pride in their batting over the past few days. It wasn’t that long ago (19 years ago in fact) when they were skittled by West Indies’ Curtley Ambrose for 46 in their second innings in Trinidad. Ambrose (who took 11 for 94 in the game) was one of the greats of the game. But he needn’t had been. This was an age when they were regularly getting routed by all and sundry, good, the bad and the distinctly average of world cricket.

Nowadays, England can be content that they give a good account of themselves against some of the world’s fifth best test sides — often making three figures in the process! On taking up his position as..er…wait a minute, I have it here…er…yes, here it is: COACH of the English team, Andy Flower was quoted as saying “My Goal is to get this side to a level when they can play out a whole spell by Nathan Lyon without losing any more than two or three wickets. Also I’d like to turn Mitchell Johnson from the Sunday Morning Lummox he currently is, into someone who can run through our upper and middle order like Jimmy Savile in a Children’s Ward, no matter how many times he telegraphs his short balls (Johnson, not Savile, that is).” Only Mr Fowlers’ strongest critic would accuse him of failing to achieve his goals.

DECEMBER’S “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” COMPETITION ANSWERS:

The Answer to last time’s SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Competition:                                                          The 2013/14 side has a Different Photographer.
Winner: Mr D Pringle or SW1 who wins a Poacher-turned-Gamekeeper outfit.

That 1994 Match Summary:

West Indies 252 (Richie Richardson 63, Brian Lara 43; Angus Fraser 4 for 49, Chris Lewis 4 for 51) and 269 (Keith Arthurton 42, Jimmy Adams 43, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 50; Andy Caddick 6 for 65) beat England 328 (Mike Atherton 48, Graeme Hick 40, Graham Thorpe 86; Curtly Ambrose 5 for 70) and 46 (Curtly Ambrose 6 for 24) by 147 runs.

…and by 2013 England have improved to this:

Australia 570-9 dec & 132-3 dec beat England 172 & 312 by 218 runs

Andy Fowlup calculates that, at this rate of progress, by the year 2030, England can expect to rack up scores of well in excess of 500 against a Bangladeshi Presidents XI, and even offer Holland a Five Test series.

Have a Go Ya Mug


When I were a lad, fearsome fast bowlers who came over here used to look like this…

92711or occasionally like this…

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They used to have odd actions…

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…and even odder facial hair…

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…and they always smiled, even (or especially) when they were about to knock your block off…

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…and if they couldn’t bowl you out, they’d punch you out…

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…(no changes there, then, I suppose ?)…

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…but the old bowlers would set fields like this…main-qimg-03aa4b03ad7f42586966f46d9cf48df2

…and they were all very scary indeed.

Nowadays, if someone scary turns up to bowl…

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…the image men get hold of him and make him look like a nice boy. They don’t scare anybody.

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…I mean really ! who’d be scared of these two ?

It wouldn’t have happened back then, they didn’t care about coming across as nice blokes…

dennis_lillee_6_600_400-600x400…but sometimes nowadays you tend to think that some boards regard the image of their attack bowlers above their substance or ability — like these guys  Sidders, Starckers, Patters and Rolfy…

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There are always those who tend to go a little over board, of course, even for the marketing men…

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SO C’MON, AUSSIE, FOR CHRIST SAKE. LET’S SHOW A BIT OF GRIT.  MAKE  A GAME OF IT — OR YOU MAY AS WELL HAVE BOUGHT THAT OTHER MITCHELL WITH YOU (STARKERS OR NOT).

HAVE A GO YA MUG !

Retreat Australia Fair


Bloody Christmas. It’ll be the death of me. Even allowing for the size of me in the run-up, following a week of a pretty-much non-stop eating and drinking fest I am – if I do say so myself- a big unit. It’s not that I’ve been painting the town red – or any other colour come to think of it.  I’ve been confined to barracks for the duration, with only occasional trips to Sainsbury’s to break up the monotony of yet another tin of Roses washed down with a nice peppery Shiraz.

A Christmas at home can in certain circumstances, I am almost sure, be fun. But the lurgy put paid to most of our plans, with several members of my nearest and dearest (including my most dearest: me) coming down with the latest bout of cold/flu which has been doing the rounds. The Incumbent and I have had to introduce a strict latrine rota, lest we bump into each other in the smallest room in the house, both of my daughters were laid low for the majority of the festivities and the rest of us have been giving everyone who is a potential carrier a wide berth.

None of this, of course has affected my appetite. I find shite tv schedules the perfect solution to a rumbly in my tumbly. Pringles, peanuts, After Eights, pickled eggs, mince pies, christmas cake, Quality Street and more peanuts have been shoved down my gullet as I gorge myself on re-runs, repeats and rank tv shows in the the name of Happy Birthday Jesus.

Moving is becoming a problem. Thank god for the elasticated waistband on my new pyjamas. My ankles still haven’t healed from last season and it takes a good ten minutes for me to loosen up before I can waddle around the house in comfort. As the days pass, getting up the stairs is becoming more and more exhausting, to such an extent that I may have to consider using the sink in emergencies.

Thankfully I don’t have to get myself fit for next cricket season. I fear it would be a pointless task. In the state I’m in I’d struggle to put on my jockstrap, let alone bowl anything like a straight ball in the vague direction of a batsman. On the other hand, watching the shocking display by the Aussie bowlers in Melbourne gives me pause to think that maybe, just maybe, my chance of an international career is not quite over. Dare I consider applying for Oz Citizenship ? Surely I’m better that Mitchell Johnson ? – even in my shape !

Lucky for the Australian cricketers few of their countrymen witnessed how bloody awful they really were. Aussie fans tend to bugger off home if there’s the slightest chance of their team not winning. I never thought I’d feel sorry for Ricky Ponting, but it must be tough playing on your home turf, against stronger opposition, when your own personal form is shot to pieces and your home supporters won’t even hang around to shout for you. What a bunch of wankers.

The Barmy Army may be full of fat, annoying, boring, neanderthal racists (it is, believe me) but at least they stick behind the team through thick and thin. This bunch of fair-weather Ozzie ‘fans’ head for the beaches or the barbies the minute their opening pair are back in the hutch (or after the opening 12 balls, if that makes it simpler for you). And this from the country that brought the world the phrase “whingeing poms”. WHINGEING ?!?! How would we ever know if you lot are whinging? You’ve all fucked off !

Of course, you all stayed put when we took our eyes off the prize and you won in Perth. OF COURSE YOU DID. WATCHING A WINNING TEAM IS GREAT. But a few days later and your batsmen couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo or your bowlers couldn’t hit 12 stumps and you lot are no-where to be seen after the opening exchanges. Why not stick around and cheer on your team in the hour of their greatest need ? No ? Only sing when you’re winning ? Sports fans my big fat 46 year old arse. Enjoying winning and enduring losing (in our case a LOT of losing) are all part of being a fan. Some of us are fans of both English Cricket AND Charlton Athletic Football Club. We know a little bit about losing.

If you can’t take losing, don’t buy a ticket to the raffle. But having watched first your rugby union side and now your cricket team under-perform this winter can I suggest that you’d better start getting used to watching your sides take a drubbing?  It won’t hurt you, we’ve been doing it for years, and after this little blip this winter we’ll doubtless be doing it for years to come too.

You could do worse than read Peter Lalor, below, in The Australian. He’s wittier and immeasurably less one-eyed then his boss, Malcom Conn, and he might just teach you how to take losing with a tad more humour and a shed-load more dignity.

Peter Lalor in The Australian (27.12.10)

HOW many of the new toys of Christmas morn lie motionless and broken within 24 hours? Their shiny promise a forlorn memory recorded only in the improbable picture on the package?

A wheel gone here, a switch broken there, a light that flashed for a moment and dimmed, a leg detached or a circuit shortened. Australia’s performance in Perth was the cheap Chinese gift that never made it to Boxing Day. A glittering, but poorly engineered work that shone for a moment.

The minute the Christmas paper was off the MCG pitch things began to fall apart. There were tears by lunch (4-58) and despair by tea (10-98). You can fish around all sorts of ways to paint the picture.
The scorer announced they had lost 6-40 from 18.2 overs, somebody else pointed out they had lost 9-61 after Shane Watson departed and so on and so forth….

…If you were out Christmas night in Melbourne, you could have been forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in the UK. Those pubs and takeaway places that were open in the otherwise deserted streets were lousy with English accents and song.

While the locals were at home trying to piece together broken toys, the visitors – and there are thousands upon thousands of them – were out in force. At 2.37pm yesterday, as the centre wicket began to take the appearance of a mass grave, a song rose from the Southern Stand.

It was as loud and as rousing an anthem as you have ever heard at this proud sporting stadium.
It was the Barmy Army singing “God save your gracious Queen”.