From the archives…

While looking through our blog history, we came across a couple of draft posts that, for some reason, never made it to press. Dusting them off (figuratively – it’s on a computer, duh) we actually thought a couple of them should see the light of day, even in their unfinished state, now that we’ve reached our hundred. Apart from anything else, it gives us a chance to look back at what we were thinking at the time (it was usually bonkers).

The first, which I found fascinating to read back, is an extremely depressed take on the start of last season, which, as some of you may recall, was about as wet as living in the Mariana Trench. I (being testmatchspecialist) wrote a piece bemoaning this from a club cricketer’s point of view. And here it is:

The Life of a Club Cricketer – April

I play for a large north London cricket club (who compete in the Middlesex league). I’m not a first team player, obviously, but I while away my days playing a decent standard of cricket.

Indoor nets started on 15th February this year. I’ve never liked them – there’s too many aches and pains after a long winter, they’re always stiflingly hot and humid and my footwork is always like a newborn calf for the first few weeks. Finally, it gets to early April, the doors are opened and we step out blinkingly into the warm sunsh… oh, wait, no it’s raining.
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100 Not Out…

With a standing ovation and a raise of the bat to all parts, we have reached our one hundredth post. The helmet comes off and we kiss the badge (a motif of Two Grumpy Englishmen rampant, brandishing cricket bats, standing on Mitchell Johnson). But this is just the start of an epic innings. We readjust our gloves, then, with Jonathan Trott-like OCD-ness, remark our trench, sorry, guard and settle once more over our bat. This knock has lasted very nearly a year and shows no signs of ending soon.

To be honest, reaching 100 posts took us by surprise. We have so much fun writing this blog that it doesn’t feel like we’ve got anywhere near that. We’re going to try to get back to our roots over the next few weeks, as we approach the one year mark, and give you some more witty banter, which has been a little lacking of late, although there will still be, interspersed in among it, the odd featurette, some more stats-based observations and just a sprinkle of Ricky Ponting bashing. blockeverythingmolesworth – that post on Douglas Jardine has been in the pipeline for about six months – get on with it!

Keep reading, folks! We’ll keep writing if you keep reading (mind you, we’ll probably carry on anyway).

“The next ball is solidly blocked back to the bowler as TGECF once again settles in for the long-haul…”

A Passage to India (Part 2)

This just in from our man aboard the SS Ranjitsinhji steaming back from Calcutta:

HAD REACHED MEDITERRANEAN RETURNING FROM INDIA WITH MCC TOURING SIDE WHEN URGENT CABLE ARRIVED INFORMING THAT TOUR WAS NOT FINISHED STOP MCC STILL HAVE FIVE MORE MATCHES TO PLAY STOP WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME STOP HAVE RUN OUT OF GOOD BOOKS AND TOBACCO STOP GRAEME SWANNS PRACTICAL JOKES RUNNING EXTREMELY THIN STOP TELL MY WIFE TO FORWARD ALL IMPORTANT POST TO NEW ZEALAND AS WILL HAVE TO STEAM STRAIGHT THERE FROM INDIA STOP

Oh well, that’s the toll of being a modern sports journalist, old chap. At least you don’t have to wait a week for the results to appear in The Times.

Trouble in Middle Earth

One of the bonuses about not having to go back to work until next week (apologies to all those that already have) is that I get to watch some day-time Test cricket. This has brought the New Zealand cricket team back into my consciousness. Watching them tamely subside to an admittedly pretty awesome Saffer side has piqued my interest. After all, England are due to play this lot in back-to-back series shortly. Now I will have to defer to our New Zealand readership for the on-the-ground reality, but sitting here many many thousands of miles from Middle Earth (yes, that’s what New Zealand actually want us to call them), it appears that all is not well. Let’s look at the facts, shall we? If you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin:

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The TGECF Awards 2012 (Part 2)

A few days ago, we brought you the first part of our awards for the year. However, there’s still a few humdingers to come, so we hope you will enjoy our entirely subjective look at the year past.

Unpleasant noise of the year – Adnan Akmal (award presented by Kamran Akmal)

We’re guessing that, somewhere in the mists of time, the Akmals had an ancestor who was a large-lunged opera singer. Either that or they were the secret love-children of a Stuka and a vuvuzela. In one of our very first posts we wrote about the horrible noise emanating from the latest Akmal’s larynx and the experience has stayed with us for nearly a year. It probably didn’t help that England were getting soundly thrashed at the time by Saeed Ajmal et al but Akmal’s wailing really did get on our nerves. Our greatest wish for 2013 is that someone discovers a TV technology that can filter out the sound of his voice. Failing that, we’re starting up an earplug factory.

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Cricket world mourns the loss of two of its most respected broadcasters

It would be remiss of us, in our position as (albeit very amateur) cricket writers, to ignore a difficult week for those who pursue cricket journalism as their occupation. We learned today of the death of Christopher Martin-Jenkins, one of the great modern radio commentators and a highly respected print journalist and authority on the game. This followed all too soon after the death of former England captain Tony Greig last Saturday.

Greig has rightly been praised in all parts for his pioneering attitude in the late 1970s and for being an integral part of shaping the modern game of cricket. There are those who still regard his actions then with disdain; we here do not count ourselves among them. He was, amidst everything, a very fine Test cricketer as well. In addition, he was a successful commentator. We have written in the past on this blog about his commentary style, which we freely admit was not to our taste, but that did not make him any less popular with fans of his adopted home nation of Australia. Like so many, Greig died too young at only 66. Similarly, Martin-Jenkins was only 67.

As English cricket fans, CMJ was an ever-present part of our upbringing. We’ve written before about the comforting blanket of listening to TMS in the early hours as, somewhere around the world, England took on a foreign foe and CMJ was central to that experience. The prevailing sentiment that has come out following his death is that it was a testament to his knowledge and love of the game that he became such a successful journalist despite having not played at first class level. As pretty hopeless sportsmen ourselves, he has certainly been influential in developing our love of writing about the game.

Both men will be sadly missed; following on from the premature death of Peter Roebuck in late 2011, the world of cricket journalism and broadcasting has lost some of its foremost exponents in little over a year. A sad start to 2013.

Happy New Year!

We’ve got a couple more posts to come shortly, but we just wanted to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. Thanks to all of the regular and irregular readers who read the drivel we write – we have a lot of fun writing the blog and it’s great to know that there are others also enjoying it. Later this month, our simple blog will have been with you for a whole year, so expect to see proper celebrations then!