Sunday, 26 April 2015

2nd Test, Grenada

England won the toss and asked West Indies to bat in overcast conditions.  With a century from Samuels WI made 299 but most observers thought England could have done better and the score was about 60 runs more than they should have scored.  Broad took four good wickets and the rest were shared.  In reply England had a solid start with Cook and Trott both passing 50.  Ballance also made a half century but the stand out batsman was Joe Root with an unbeaten 182 leading England to 464.  Anderson struck early but West Indies battled hard with Brathwaite making a ton and by the end of day four the score was 202-2 and another draw looked certain.  There were grumblings about the lifeless pitch and no one expected anything other than a dull fifth day and a match that went nowhere.
Enter Jimmy Anderson with the new bowl and an inspired spell sparked a collapse from West Indies.  Jimmy also held two catches and ran out Holder with a direct hit, (England fielding was superb throughout).  Moeen took 3 wickets and WI were all out for 307 and the match was there for the taking.  Trotty was out for a three ball duck then Cook and Balance both scored their second fifties of the match and England had won by nine wickets. 

This was a really good performance from England who worked hard in tough conditions to record a really good win.  Despite this I really think England need to make a few changes.  As much as I like Trott I think Adam Lyth deserves a chance to show what he can do opening the innings.  Also our attack looks too similar.  Jordan and Stokes both offer pretty much the same thing and England don’t need both in the same side.  I’d leave out Stokes and give either Plunkett or Wood a chance.  The England management like Moeen Ali but Root can give us a bit of off spin so why not give Adil Rashid a chance?

West Indies always look like they are on the verge of being competitive, when they play England at least and they do have some promising players.  All of them lack consistency and as a batting line up are prone to collapse which has been their downfall again and again in recent times.

The pitch in Barbados is likely to be the most sporting we’ve seen in this series but I still expect it to favour the batsmen.  I also expect England to win, no matter which XI they put on the field.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A cynics guide to the General Election.

The Conservatives are led by the Eton educated twat David Cameron.  He is more interested in feathering the nests of his cronies in big business than looking after the normal British people.  Traditionally the party favoured by the well to do with their “I’m all right Jack” attitudes.  Think Thatcher, nothing more needs to be said.  Their record over the last four years (some sources say it is actually worse than the witch’s when it comes to an assault on the welfare state), should ensure they don’t get re-elected but sadly they probably will, due to the lack of any real alternative.

Labour was once the party of the working man but sold out to big business under the war mongering liar Tony Blair.  Nowadays led by Ed Milliband who is an unelectable moron and like the rest of the party seems to have an identity crisis.  I am a labour supporter by nature but haven’t allowed myself to vote for them since Blair said “Yes George, anything you say” and took us to war in Iraq.  Like many I hoped things really would get better when “New Labour” was elected in 1997.  Like many I felt betrayed within a few short years.  If only John Smith had lived, the best PM we never had?

The Liberal party (or whatever they are known as nowadays) haven’t had a chance of real power in my lifetime and have even less this time around thanks to their leader Nick Clegg selling out (like the gutless shit he is) after the last election.  I should identify with the libs but all I see nowadays is a bunch of limp wristed sell-outs hanging onto coattails in a desperate attempt to gain some kind of ‘power’.

All of these three so called main parties are basically the same thing only discernible by the different colour ties they wear.  90% of these parties MP’s are hypocritical liars with no principles and are mostly interested in furthering their own selfish interests.  They really don’t deserve our votes. ‘MP’ looks good on a CV when you want to move onto the board of a multinational after a career in politics.  It shows the candidate has experience in arse licking, lying and shafting the ‘consumer’.

UKIP are the new kids on the block (no relation to the terrible 90’s boy band), led by fag smoking, beer swilling Nigel Farage (which apparently doesn’t rhyme with garage).  This lot are playing to the racist fears of the ignorant but will tell us they aren’t really bigots.  One good thing about UKIP is they appeal to the kind of moron who might once have voted BNP and have been the final nail in the coffin of that vile bunch.  I expect them to do pretty well in this election but have no chance of gaining power and wouldn’t know what to do if they did.

As an aside, over the years I have worked with people of all nationalities; Australians, Antiguans, Bajans, Croatians, Greeks, Jamaicans, Americans, Trinidadians, Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Serbs, Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians, Italians, Chileans, Nigerians, South Africans, Dutch, Germans, Iranians, Spaniards, and Turks to name those I can remember off the top of my head.  In my opinion the most miserable, laziest people of all have been we Brits with our “world owes me something” attitude.  While UKIP and others bang on about immigration, asylum seekers, benefit cheats etc. they deflect attention from the real issues like bankers ripping us off and getting away with it!!!

The SNP will be popular north of the border and good luck to them.  I kind of like having the Scots as our naughty neighbours and I hope they remain part of the UK because I think we will be stronger together.  In fact I’d say we should go the other way, drop our silly borders and all of us identify ourselves as British.  Oh yeah, Happy St. George’s day.  (That was irony if you didn’t recognise it).

Finally the Green party deserve a mention.  They have no chance of getting anywhere near power but I actually believe they are genuine in their beliefs.  They are led by a nice lady called Caroline Lucas and suffer from the ridicule of a media that sucks up to the traditional parties.

Now here’s the problem.  It doesn’t matter who we vote for because it won’t change a damn thing.  Whichever party gets in it will be the same people in charge, different sides of the same coin.  You see, I don’t actually believe in democracy.  No that doesn’t mean I’m a communist, (although that is a pretty good idea gone bad, just like our own political system).  Democracy is a very noble idea in principle but in reality it doesn’t actually work!  Not on a large scale like government, nor on a small scale like some of the fishing clubs I’ve been a member of over the years.  As for the USA, “land of the free” banging on about democracy; Don’t make me laugh!!  Theirs is worse than ours!!  In both cases democracy is a myth and the media, controlled by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, is used to brain wash the masses! 

For the last few elections I have gone to the polling station but after looking at the choices available have concluded that none of the candidates deserve my vote.  I have cast my ballot with the words “None of the above” written on it.  Some people say this is a wasted vote, I argue it is an expression of protest.  This year I may do the same or I may actually vote.  If I do then my X will be put alongside the Green party’s candidate.  It may be a protest vote or it may be because I believe the people are genuine and I can’t say that about any of the others.

Here is a picture of our latest lodger.  Traditionally it’s a sign of peace, the “Dove from above” has built its nest on the satellite dish Murdoch flogged us.  I like the thought of it crapping all over it and it hasn’t prevented me watching the cricket for a second.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

First test

Day four was all England.  First came the accumulation of runs, Gary Ballance hit a century and shared a century stand with Joe Root who hit his second fifty of the match.  Ben Stokes selflessly hit quick runs then Joss Buttler came in with a great platform to do what he does best finishing on 59*. 

England declared with a lead of over 430.  West Indies second innings got off to a shocker with Brathwaite bounced out by Broad but the second wicket partnership showed this game would not be a formality.  At close WI were 98-2, England would require 8 wickets to win while West Indies needed to survive for three sessions.

Day five saw a great rear-guard action by WI.  The young Jason Holder showed what a talent he is by saving the game with a maiden first class century.  Smith and Ramdin also passed fifty and Kemar Roach done really well for a number nine to survive 55 balls.  There were times during the day when an England win looked likely but WI hung in there.

The big headline was made by the great James Anderson who overhauled Botham’s long held record for test wickets by an Englishman.  It was a pleasure to watch that moment on TV and Jimmy is a truly great player, although arguably passed his best?  Whatever, he’s been an ever present throughout a pretty good decade of English cricket.

There will be some who will criticise England for not winning this match and perhaps if we had someone with express pace or a world class spinner the wickets would have fallen.  But credit must be given to the West Indies who were outplayed in this match but never folded.  It was always going to be hard to force a result on such a lifeless pitch.  Despite the pitch it was still a really good test match, much better than all the ODI nonsense we’ve had to put up with for the last six months.

There must be loads for England’s selectors to think about.  Cook still hasn’t made any runs and Trotty didn’t fare well as opener.  I can’t help thinking form is temporary but class is permanent in both cases.  I’m still not convinced by Moeen Ali but he comes back into the squad and the selectors seem keen to get him involved. Presumably Treadwell will be the unlucky one to miss out?  The question is how are England going to fit another all-rounder into this team?  Will Stokes end up batting down at eight?

The next test starts on Tuesday so we’ll soon find out.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

England vs West Indies, First test

Day one of the first test started with an uncomfortably familiar morning session for England.  Put into bat they limped to 49-3 at lunch with Trott, Cook and Ballance all recording low scores.  From this position you would expect one of the top teams to tighten the screws on England but West Indies aren’t in this league.  Bell and Root put together a partnership approaching 200 and England recovered.  Root was out for 83 which brought Stokes to the wicket and he scored 71* at nearly a run a ball.  Bell was out just before the close for a brilliant 143 and England finished the day on 341-5.

Day two started with another poor morning.  With a good platform to build from England should have pushed on to 450+ but were bowled out before lunch for 399.  This was a decent score but at this stage it didn’t look like a match winning one.  In reply West Indies never really got going and England chipped away with wickets at regular intervals.  Throughout the day England bowled very well and kept things tight.  The day ended with WI 155-4 but they still had the youngster Blackwood and the veteran Chanderpaul at the crease.

Day three continued in the same vein, West Indies occupied the crease and England picked up the odd wicket here and there.  Blackwood went on to make his maiden test century and finished unbeaten on 112 but no one else passed 50 and the innings ended in a hurry, all out for 295. 
England had a healthy lead of 104 but West Indies started well with a brilliant opening spell from Taylor who removed both openers, failures for Trott and Cook again.  After that they steadily built the lead, Bell was run out cheaply but Ballance and Root put a decent unbeaten partnership of 64 to push England’s lead to 220.

After three days this has been a good test match.  England are well on top and a couple of decent partnerships should put us in a winning position.  However West Indies have proved hard to dislodge with the bat and have bowled very well in spells.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Six month wait is nearly over...

A few days ago I was surrounded by Chinese food and beer as well as a group of my oldest, dearest friends.  We had a great night chatting about all the things we love and find interesting.  Despite being just a month away from a general election, not a single word was spoken about politics.  I expect this would be unusual in a gathering of ten people in their forties but I’m proud that my friends don’t buy into the charade.  

Elly Griffiths’  “The House at Sea’s end” is another in the Ruth Galloway series with all the familiar characters pooping up in another murder mystery set in north Norfolk.  I’m beginning to think this rural idyll is actually a dangerous place to live!  The stories are well told and the cast is easy to warm to.  This one isn’t the best of the bunch but its still a good read.

Here we are on the eve of a Test match series at long last.  It starts tomorrow in Antigua and England have to start as favourites but West Indies are always unpredictable these days.  Sitting here tonight eight England players look sure to play if fit but there are question marks on a few others.Of the eleven that lined up against India last August, Robson has been dropped and his replacement looks likely to be good old Trotty.  Moeen and Woakes are both injured so will England replace them with two all-rounders in Stokes and Rashid?  Will Tredwell play as spinner?  Will Jordan hang on to his place?  Back here in England Paul Downton has been sacked from whatever his job was and the path for the KPego’s return is getting clearer.

As for WI I haven’t a clue.  Like many English fans I grew to love the great players of the Lloyd/Richards era and admired the cricket they played.  I’d love to see a competitive West Indies side and with a new coach in Phil Simmons they have something to prove.  Gayle is injured and there will probably be a few new faces amongst the experienced Samuels, Ramdin and Chanderpaul.  

I reckon the pitches for this series will be prepared to last five days so the local economy can milk as much revenue from the test matches as possible.  I think England should be good enough to bowl WI out twice and win 2-0.  England  must hit the ground running ahead of two tough home series this summer.