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Teddington Town Cricket Club Chestnut Avenue, Bushy Park.
ANDREW STRAUSS Renaissance of a Middlesex opener
STEVEN FINN Learning the ropes at Lord’s
EALING Ealing’s Captain talks silverware
MITCHAM CC The oldest club in the world?
LASHINGS Cricket’s most famous village team
NICKY COOKE A review of an England winter tour
ASHES 2009 Who would you pick next summer?
PUB CRICKET A predecessor to the IPL
20 UMPIRING Chatting to the man in the middle MORGAN 22 BETH A review of the 2008 Ashes
ANDREW STRAUSS As cricketing comebacks go, Andrew Strauss must secretly be rather pleased with himself. Seemingly bereft of confidence, footwork and any notion of form out in New Zealand, he was mocked as a walking wicket. Yet mindful that selectors only deal in the hard currency of international runs, Strauss cobbled together a century in the second Test when it mattered most. It wasn’t pretty but it was followed up with another in the final match of the series and perhaps, just perhaps, Andrew Strauss had banished a few inner demons. Only a hardened cynic would suggest he was lucky to be there in the first place - having been dropped for the tour to Sri Lanka then mysteriously recalled without having played a game in anger in between. What Graeme Hick or Mark Ramprakash would have done for selectors’ faith like that. As is sometimes the way with this bizarre international calendar, England welcomed New Zealand a matter of months after having played them in their own backyard. For the Middlesex and England opener, it was an opportunity to silence the few remaining doubters not wholly convinced – even after some most un-Strauss-like early-season haymaking for Middlesex. What followed was an award for Man of the Series in a second consecutive series win for England. Job done. Today the sun is shining at HQ and England have the chance to draw the ODI series against Daniel Vettori’s team under the captaincy of Kevin Pietersen. Peter Moores has announced an extended squad for the must-win fixture with Andrew Strauss in the mix. Unfortunately, he must soon swap his 4
England shirt for his waiter’s tuxedo as he ferries drinks and patiently endures the most undesirable job in any form of cricket: 12th man. On the plus side, it gives him the opportunity to be politely grilled by Cricket London. While I chat to England’s most overqualified twelfth man for some time (from a cricket field in Teddington, surrounded by royal deer and waiting for the opposition to do the decent thing and show up) I realise I quite like Andrew Strauss. He has no problems admitting that his poor Test form in 2007 hasn’t exactly done him any favours in the 50-over format. I resist the temptation to suggest that England are only marginally better than Holland and he’s better off out of there. When I raise the issue of the IPL, his reply is a comforting antidote to some of these clawing their eyes out for a swimming pool of Indian rupees: “It’s something most people want to be involved in. Twenty20 cricket is probably not one of my real strengths and there are
ANDREW STRAUSS players more qualified to whack the ball out of the park but if the opportunity came my way, I’d look to do it. In a way, I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have to think about too much at the moment. I’m concerned with Test cricket and getting that right as much as possible.” Therein lies the essence of where Andrew Strauss is right now. He is an elegant accumulator of Test runs who has fought his way back into form. Or put another way, he has found his mojo. So what were the batting faux pas that had Geoff Boycott and other sages spluttering into their microphones? “There’s been a few very minor technical changes, getting a bit further across but more than anything it’s just your mindset, how prepared you are to be patient and play to your strengths. I think I went away from that a little bit last summer and I feel very much like I’ve got that back again. I feel a bit of relief when you start doing it again, you recognise it straight away that this is what I do well.” Which is just as well given that England, the Robin Reliant of Test cricket at present, are about to go up against the V8 grunt of South Africa. They arrive with polished alloys and a point to prove after taking their foot off England’s throat when they last toured here. It was 2003 and Graeme
Smith, barely out of nappies in captaincy terms, hit an absurd amount of runs. I lost count when his average sailed over 200. I make the point to Strauss that every time a touring team comes over, they target some of our players – so who in South Africa’s side is the weak link? Perhaps unsurprisingly, South Africa don’t have an obvious chink in their armour but Graeme Smith’s wicket remains rather important: “Most of their team have been playing for a while now so I don’t think there’s going to be any wildcards. On paper, they’re going to have a pretty strong bowling attack which will be a good challenge for us batsmen. We do believe in English conditions, we should be able to make inroads into their batting lineup. When we were there in South Africa, we were able to do that quite often. Graeme Smith didn’t have a great series.” But let’s not kid ourselves. If England are not to be pulled apart by the otherworldly force in Test cricket that is Australia in 2009, the hard graft and momentum starts now with a series win over South Africa. By my reckoning, Australia will need to lose every series until 2011 for anyone to catch up but best to think of the here and now, a point Mr Strauss echoes wholeheartedly: “South Africa are probably just as good a side as Australia but this is a very tough must-win series and we must treat it in that manner or we’re going to get into trouble.” By the time you read this, South Africa (probably) will have won the series, England will know (as if they didn’t before) their true place in the echelons of world cricket (and they won’t get vertigo anytime soon) and the paying public will be steeling themselves for the inevitable 94 one-day internationals to round off the summer. 5
SRI LANKA 2007 NICKY COOKE While all eyes are on South Africa and the 2009 Ashes, Nicky Cooke offers her poignant winter report when Test cricket returned to Galle International Stadium. England last played a Test series in Sri Lanka in December 2004. Following on immediately from a five week tour of Bangladesh, I wasn't here to see England hang on for the draw in Galle and Kandy, before succumbing to Muralitharan and Co in Colombo to lose the series 1-0. There were many England supporters here, who chose the sun, sea, sand and cheap beer of Sri Lanka over the mosques, mosquitos and traffic jams of Bangladesh. A good number, many friends of mine, stayed on, enjoying the Indian Ocean beaches over Christmas, as many will do this year. Forward the clock exactly one year and Team England and the Barmy Army are in Durban for the first day of the Boxing Day Test. News is filtering through of the tsunami – it is difficult to me to comprehend how an earthquake deep below the sea in Indonesia can cause such devastation thousands of miles away in Sri Lanka. Over the next few days, screens are filled with images of the same beaches my friends were holidaying on just twelve months previously. There but for the grace of God, and the ICC future tours programme . . . The grace of God, be he Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic or Christian, was not enough for the people of Sri Lanka that day. Three quarters of the island's coastline was affected, in a land a little smaller than Ireland, over forty thousand 6
people lost their lives and millions were made homeless. With a coastal economy reliant on harvesting the sea, over half of the fishing fleet was lost – most of these small wooden fishing boats. Fishermen who survived lost their livelihoods. Significant chunks of the road and rail network was destroyed, cutting off the devastated coastal areas from the largely untouched Colombo. It is a humbling experience driving the 120 or so kilometres from Colombo to Galle. Every small town and village we pass through has a small cemetery, with clusters of new gravestones and memorials. Our driver points out the place where the rail line was overwhelmed by the wave, overturning the carriages of a passing train, killing hundreds. The carriages are kept as a memorial at Hikkaduwa station. The ruins of homes are a reminder of 'the day the sea came in'; whilst looking to the inland side of the coast road there are dotted newly built little homes in clusters. Many of these have been built by overseas aid agencies, a few by the efforts of individual foreigners, some of them relatives of the many tourist victims. A few of the Sri Lankan cricketers lost their homes, most will have friends or relatives who lost their lives. But perhaps the most famous cricketing victim of the 2004 tsunami was Galle International Stadium itself. And almost four years later, it is ready for its comeback. Well, near enough. The southwest monsoon – or is it the northeast – has taken its toll over the few days between the Colombo Test and the Galle Test. The sun came out as I visited the ground yesterday and the last
Photo: Danielle Hurren
SRI LANKA 2007
minute preparations could only be described as frantic, in a 'stand around and watch everyone else doing the same' kind of way. Another downpour at 4pm, lasting half an hour or so, put paid to further work, the covers (the same one's I'm sure as those at Kandy and Colombo) were spread across the ground, held down with tyres, and news filtered out that the start of play on the first day would be delayed until noon at the earliest. The weather gods are in a good mood for the first day of the Test. The clear skies with a little cloud and the sun sparkling on the sea looks perfect for a day's cricket from the air conditioned side of the hotel patio doors. Then I made the mistake of going outside. If you want to get a feel for what conditions are like at the nearest Test ground to the equator, switch your oven on to gas mark 6, wait half an hour then open the door and sit next to it. Oh, and put a couple of saucepans on the hob to boil and work up a nice bit of steam. You are allowed to get someone to open the door a crack every fifteen minutes or so, just enough to allow a very slight cool draught of air to pass over you and raise your hopes that there might
actually be a breeze. Then imagine sitting there for the next six hours or so with only a warm water/Coke/beer and a cold hot dog for refreshment. Or, heaven help you, imagine bowling twenty overs a day. Although, to be fair, at least the twelfth man makes sure the drinks are cold. At twelve noon, Sidebottom opens the bowling and international cricket returns to Galle Stadium. Amazingly on a pitch declared before the start by various members of both teams as so bad the match was unlikely to last more than three days, we are still here on day five as the rains finally wash out any chance of a result. A group of rather damp England supporters gather for a final drink of the tour in the elegant-sounding surroundings of the Sidney Hotel â€“ don't be fooled, a more primitive drinking-hole on tour would be difficult to find. Tomorrow we will be either flying home or making our way to the Sri Lankan beaches for Christmas, leaving the people of Galle to get on with their lives. But the return of cricket to Galle has been an important step for the city. The clock on the tower by the bus station in Galle is fixed permanently at twenty five past nine. The time the sea came in. 7
MARTIN CANNON ON THE ICC
It is the broken shoelace that more often causes a fit of manic rage than the other, far more important, daily assaults on our equilibrium. Murder, famine, pestilence pass us by until, along with the lace, we snap. Thus it is with cricket and the news that there is to be an annual Twenty20 Varsity Match. Most cricket fans could not raise a cheer for light or dark blue nor, without resorting to Google, remember which colour favoured which university. No, the only importance of the Varsity match, be it at the Parks or Fenners – whatever or wherever they may be – was that it marked the beginning of the cricket season. It was always, to compensate for the life of privilege and decadence that is enjoyed by Oxbridge students, played in appalling, freezing weather. It was why players were awarded Blues… to match their noses, fingers and toes. It also lasted four days and was a proper cricket match. It did not, in other words, take three hours in the balmy, sub-tropical climate of the Fens in June. The world, however, has moved on; moved to places where people watch the game in huge numbers and worship its heroes. It has, along with your bank account details, car insurance and mother’s maiden name, gone to India. That may be best for the game, the players, the sponsors, the numbers of 8
people who watch it and the broadcasters but for the Englishman who wants to watch a few days of cricket in England, on the one weekend in August when football isn’t being played, then he – and the audience is around single figures – is stuffed.
Photo: The World Cricket Village
Cricket’s tectonic plates are shifting with India seemingly at the forefront of a new phase. Martin Cannon takes aim at cricket’s governing body with all the subtlety of a Shahid Afridi innings.
England is no longer the home of cricket and cricket is no longer a national game in its home land, and we are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. The national skill of kidding itself is nowhere more apparent than at Lord’s. As it relishes another English season, everywhere you look it proclaims: The Home of Cricket. Nonsense: it may be home to the ageing empty nesters who still live there, but their offspring, the modern game, has left home and will never return. Today’s guardians of the game have long upped sticks and moved, reflecting the enthusiasm for the game in India, Pakistan and their branch offices in the Gulf. The ICC left Lord’s some years ago, before it had any chance of being contaminated by any ethical fall-out from the MCC or ECB. Now from its
MARTIN CANNON ON THE ICC comfortable headquarters in the traditionladen cricket grounds of Dubai, it pursues policies of spineless subservience to money and the vested interests of television that the former days of amateur incompetence loom attractive. Then there’s the case of the ICC’s treatment of Darrell Hair. He, followers of the game will immediately remember, was the umpire who famously gave the Oval Test to England after the Pakistan team had refused to return to the pitch after tea. Even given the controversial nature of their complaint that allegations of balltampering was an insult to Pakistan’s national honour, not turning up to play is, at any level of the game, a case for calling the whole thing off; not easy, frankly, to
think what else that can be done in a match with only one team. Hair, of course was suspended for taking the ‘wrong’ decision and now he’s back, although not to officiate at Pakistan matches, or Indian or, presumably, anyone who objects to him from any team: Hair today, gone tomorrow. Something under an hour is rumoured to be the target of the game’s marketing men if cricket is to have a viable future. In whose hands that future is held is of serious concern for cricket lovers. Clearly the game is beyond the organisational and marketing abilities of affable, cricketing parsons; equally it is too beautiful a game to be handed over to snake-oil salesmen. Sadly, there seems little in between.
The ICC (International Cricket Council) at a Glance The ICC is cricket’s global governing body with 104 members (either Full, Associate or Affiliate) Founded in 1909 as the Imperial Cricket Conference by England, Australia and South Africa There are 10 Full members who play Test cricket – England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe* Turkey, Estonia and Bulgaria are the newest members of the ICC David Morgan, Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, is ICC President until 2010. The ICC Player Rankings Top 5 Test Batsmen Top 5 Test Bowlers 1 – Chanderpaul (WI) 1 – Muralitharan (SL) 2–- Sangakkara (SL) 2 – Clark (AUS) 3 – Hussey (AUS) 3 – Steyn (SA) 4 – Ponting (AUS) 4 – Lee (AUS) 5 – Yousuf (PAK) 5 – Ntini (SA) http://www.iccreliancerankings.com
Team Rankings (Test) Team Rating 1 - Australia 138 2 - South Africa 116 3 – India 109 4 - Sri Lanka 108 5 – England 104 6 – Pakistan 100 7 – New Zealand 83 8 – West Indies 81 9 – Bangladesh 0 http://icc-cricket.yahoo.com/ rankings/rankings.html
*Zimbabwe is not currently playing Test cricket so is not ranked
ASHES 2009 If England are to build the kind of momentum that saw them enter the 2005 Ashes in such form and confidence, they are going to have to get past South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka. If they manage that, they’ll need a Test squad of players laced with runs, wickets and attitude. Peter Moores, just a thought… YOUNG ENGLAND
ENGLAND OLD TIMERS
Joe Denly Michael Carberry James Benning Michael Yardy James Hildreth Graham Onions Ed Joyce Luke Wright (wk) Ravi Bopara Peter Trego Michael Munday
Andrew Strauss Alistair Cook Michael Vaughan (capt) Kevin Pietersen Ian Bell Andrew Flintoff Chris Read (wk) Adil Rashid Stuart Broad Ryan Sidebottom Monty Panesar
Mark Ramprakash Mark Butcher John Crawley Graeme Hick Keith Parsons Paul Nixon (wk) Dominic Cork Robert Croft Martin Saggers Jon Lewis Andy Caddick
Email us your XI for the Ashes to: email@example.com
ASHES QUIZ No 2009 Ashes tickets up for grabs sadly but instead… the chance to break that awkward silence on the tube in the morning - by amazing the complete stranger next to you with your Ashes knowledge…answers on page 17. In what year did the Test series between Australia and England begin? What was the moniker given to the fast leg theory used by English bowlers in 1932/33? What nickname was given to Don Bradman’s side of 1948? Who captained England to Ashes victory in 1977? What is the highest individual score by an England batsman in an Ashes Test? 10
NEWS STEVEN FINN In Steve Finn, Middlesex had the youngest county debutant for over half a century at the age of 16. Three years on and the young fast bowler is eyeing a regular place in the 1st XI. Steven Finn is rated very highly at Middlesex, that much is certain. Since joining the county at 14 and progressing under the watchful eye of Academy Director, Toby Radlett (now first team coach), the young fast bowler has turned heads. Blessed with the twin weapons of pace and bounce, Finn is a refreshing hybrid of blinkered ambition and a meticulous work-ethic. So, what does he attribute his swift progression to? ”I’d say the Academy has given me a lot of professionalism that I probably didn’t have before. Things like nutrition and doing dietary analysis, really being focused towards being a professional cricketer. It has hopefully helped my partial success at the moment.” The word ‘partial’ here is key. It’s as if there’s an exciting unfulfilled talent that’s straining at the leash to run amok among county batsmen and make headlines. But, Finn acknowledges that the hard yards really start now. “For me personally, for the foreseeable future, my only goal is becoming a regular first team cricketer at Middlesex and then to play for my country.” That day may yet come but the young quick, who describes himself as: ”aggressive; a handful above anything else,” is mindful of walking before he can run. Having made his first-class debut at the age
of 16 against Cambridge University, he bagged his first scalp almost immediately when Alan James, an Essex 2nd XI batsman, top-edged a pull. Instead of instant fame and head-spinning possibilities, Steven Finn had a two-year break before playing first-class cricket again, presumably doing the odd exam in the meantime. The hiatus clearly hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the game. Clocked at 88.8mph last year whilst spearing in deliveries short of a length from somewhere in the clouds, the fast bowler has returned to the spotlight. During the winter, he went to the U19 World Cup which proved another valuable piece of the puzzle. “It’s not every day that you learn as a fast bowler how to bowl on really slow, flat pitches. It makes bowling in England seem a whole lot easier. It was great bowling at really good batsmen, learning how to use my pace and vary my pace, how to hold the ball and how to use the ball. I took a lot from that for when it comes to bowling on flat wickets this year.” It’s hard to escape with Steven Finn this sense of a distorted timeframe. He was playing senior level club cricket at 14 when many lads that age would be concentrating on the finer things in life such as the latest band on MySpace or Nintendo Wii. Fast-tracking is nothing new in cricket, though in England there seems to be less obvious examples of young tyros being hurled into professional sport to sink or swim. For the Middlesex speedster, time is on his side to become the finished article. 11
FANâ€™S VIEW MIDDLESEX FAN So how do fans rate their county team? We asked Gedd Ladd of the unofficial Middlesex CCC website, MTWD, to give his thoughts about how the county will fare. How positive are you regarding Middlesex's challenge for honours in 2008? I feel good about the squad for 2008. While our overseas/Kolpak players have read like a soap opera over the winter, the reality is that the core of our squad is a good mix of home-grown experience and youth. What are your predictions for Middlesex in 2008? In the County Championship, we just missed promotion last season, largely because the batsmen were inconsistent, especially in the first innings. This season, I expect us to go up and will be disappointed unless we top Division 2. One day cricket will be harder, I suspect, where our all-rounder shortage might hurt us. Vaas and even Dalrymple are tough boots to fill for one-day cricket. Tim Murtagh is really coming through as an all-rounder and young David Malan is a name to look out for, as is Gareth Berg in that department. Who are two young players to look out for? Steve Finn shows all the potential to be a big star pace bowler, but I hope he is allowed a season or two at Middlesex to learn his trade first. I'll take a punt on David Malan to be another breakthrough young player this year. Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan and Owais Shah are three players on the England periphery. How do you rate each player in terms of their England prospects? Joyce had a rough ride in the England 12
team in my view, put into a role (ODI opening) that did not suit him. But he is a superb player and will come through again for England if he performs for Middlesex, which I feel he will this season. Shah, similarly, has done nothing wrong yet might prove to be a one-Test wonder. He must be a really good drinks waiter by now and what a waste of talent that has been - especially in Sri Lanka where I thought the selection policy was bonkers. Andrew Strauss seems to be at the forefront of selection issues for England. Was he a scapegoat over the winter for poor performances? I don't think the selectors are scapegoating Strauss - I think they were right to drop him for Sri Lanka (but it should have been for Shah, not Bopara) and to let him try to regain his place in New Zealand. And that worked. But some elements of the press and media (Pringle and Stewart are two names that come to mind) seem to have the knives out for him and are being terribly unfair. In my opinion, if Fletcher had not made the fatal mistake of choosing Flintoff ahead of Strauss to captain the Ashes tour, Strauss's form would not have dipped. Strauss is a class player and if England drop him now it will be to Middlesex's advantage but a dreadful mistake for England Middlesex Till We Die (MTWD) is the unofficial Middlesex County Cricket Club supporter's website. It is the only site on the web dedicated to features and a discussion forum on Middlesex county cricket. Last year, it received over 1,000,000 hits and based on current estimates will receive at least 1,500,000 hits in 2008. www.cricketnetwork.co.uk/main/s66.htm
CLUB CRICKET LEAGUE CRICKET Here is a brief synopsis of some of the major leagues for club cricket in Middlesex and Surrey.
Fuller's Brewery Surrey County League Shepherd Neame Middlesex County Cricket League www.middlesexccl.com Brentham Brondesbury Ealing Eastcote Finchley
1st Division Hampstead Southgate Stanmore Teddington Winchmore Hill
www.surreycountyleague.playcricket.com Division One Addiscombe Kempton Battersea Ironsides Long Ditton Byfleet Merrow Caterham Old Paulines Effingham Old Tiffinians Godalming Olinda Vandals Guildford City Ripley Hampton Wick Royal Sanderstead Horley Stoke D'Abernon
Trailfinders Middlesex Championship www.middlesexchampionship. freeserve.co.uk
Surrey Championship www.surreychampionship.com ECB Premier Division Cobham Avorians Reigate Priory Dulwich Spencer Guildford Sunbury Malden Wanderers Sutton Normandy Wimbledon
1st Division Birkbeck College MTSSC Calthorpe Old Lyonians Edmonton Osterley Harrow St Mary's Southall Indian Gymkhana Turnham Green
WANT TO SEE YOUR CLUB LISTED? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
PUB CRICKET PUB CRICKET VS IPL. YOU DECIDE… If you ask anyone from the Len Smith’s Pub League in South West London, you might wonder what all the fuss is about over in India. OK, so their league – which has been going since Graeme Hick was in shorts – doesn’t currently have TV rights or millions of followers. Or Muttiah Muralitharan. But, Twenty20 cricket is hardly a new phenomenon in villages and clubs up and down the country and pub cricket has been leading the way. Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d write. You see, long before the ‘dawn’ of twenty overs cricket in England with bus shelters, players nattering to commentators and the Sugababes making a mess of the outfield, playing the Princes Head on Richmond Green was the highlight of the cricketing calendar. OK, so the playing strip requires a suicidal tendency, a box fashioned from Wolverine’s claws and an all-encompassing health insurance policy. But it’s the epitome of twenty20 cricket, you just need to accept a few nuances. There is a path through Richmond Green meaning that cyclists often make a diving stop at fine leg that bit harder and Teddington
Town – in Bushy Park – is one of the best grounds to play at in the country. Except on one evening every August when millions of angry midges emerge from their home to bite everything in sight. I know what you’re thinking. Who wants to watch a few amateurs having an evening thrash? So last year with all this exciting stuff over in India. Well, you’d be wrong. You see the Len Smith’s pub league conjures up ludicrous rulings on an annual basis to match anything going on in Chennai or Mumbai. Rule 1: If you bowl down legside, it’s a wide. Full stop. A little strange given that the people most likely in the whole of the sport to bowl down leg are….pub cricketers. Suffice it to say, some twenty over games have lasted several weeks. Rule 2: Seven bowlers needed and one of those, wherever possible, needs to be able to bowl so slowly that time stands still. So, while you have one eye on Setanta to see how the Chennai Cherries are doing against the Jaipur Jellybeans, don’t forget there’s plenty of high-quality pub cricket to feast your eyes on one balmy evening at Teddington Town CC.
CLUB NEWS batsmen’s technique as “close to perfection as I have seen and his concentration and focus is mind blowing.”
Malden Wanderers K.O. A new Twenty20 competition for ECB Premier League clubs called Cockspur Club Twenty20 is set to reach its climax at the end of September. Premier League teams have been competing regionally and hope to get through to regional finals, from which the four regional winners will be found. The four regional winners are invited to play at Cardiff's SWALEC Stadium on Sunday, September 28, in a Finals Day to mirror Twenty20 Cup Finals Day. The Final will also be played under floodlights. In 2009, following a successful inaugural year, the ECB plan to grow the Cockspur Club Twenty20 enabling a wider range of recreational clubs to participate.
Surrey Championship runners-up Malden Wanderers had Cockspur Cup heartbreak after missing out on the 2008 trophy in the last over. The club, who have now lost twice in the final, were beaten by Leicestershire side Kibworth who themselves lost out in 2007 on the last ball. Kibworth chased down the target of 211 but left it late to snatch the glory.
Ramprakash hits 100 not out Mark Ramprakash has finally joined an exclusive club by hitting his 100th firstclass hundred against Yorkshire at the start of August. This phenomenal feat sees Ramprakash become the 25th player in the history of the game to reach this milestone joining the likes of Don Bradman and WG Grace with Graeme Hick the last player to do so. As if to emphasize his class apart, he went on to score 200 not out in a later County Championship match – Somerset skipper, Justin Langer, describing the Surrey
Ealing win Evening Standard Trophy Congratulations to Ealing CC who won the 2008 Final in a closely fought match against Sunbury on 14th September by two wickets. It remains to be seen whether there will be a 2009 tournament with the sponsorship now at an end and nothing in place currently. For Ealing CC, this season has proved the most successful in the club's history by becoming Middlesex League Champions for the 1st XI, 2nd XI and 3rd XI. 15
CLUB CRICKET EALING CC Ealing’s 1st XI captain, Luke Stoughton, talks to Cricket London about how he sees 2008 shaping up for the club.
time in a row we’d got to the final, losing to Bromley and Finchley the first two times, so it was a special day when we finally won.
So…Ealing and Finchley shared the club honours in 2007, does that make you the Manchester United of Middlesex club cricket? How much of a rivalry is there between you and Finchley? I wouldn’t compare us to Man Utd! We’ve got no one as ugly a Wayne Rooney for a start… There is a lot of rivalry between us but it is a healthy rivalry with a fair bit of respect. We are probably the two clubs with the highest percentage of home-grown players in the league - which is a good example of what can be achieved with a good Colts setup and the willingness to back your own players over the temptation to try and recruit from outside.
How much pressure is on you, as captain, to deliver the same level of success again in 2008? How will Ealing go about winning more silverware? I don’t feel under pressure as such. We have a level that we expect to perform at, and if we achieve that then we will win things. One advantage ourselves and Finchley have is that we are all really good mates and spend a lot of time together off the pitch, even during winter. We’ve also had the same core to the team for several years which helps, as large scale changes to a team can be detrimental.
Looking back to the 2007 season briefly, what were some of the key moments that defined your season? It was just a consistent effort through the whole season, overcoming bad weather and an extensive injury list. For us to win the league with no batsman scoring a league hundred was unusual, but perhaps an indication of the poor summer we had - batting averages across the league were way down compared to 2006. Apart from winning the league for the third time in a row, winning the Evening Standard Trophy at the Oval in September was probably the stand-out moment for me. It was also the third 16
What have been the changes to personnel/new signings over the winter? We haven’t really lost anyone but have had several guys turn up to winter nets who look to be good cricketers and will increase the depth of the squads and provide extra competition for places which can only be a good thing. For those unfamiliar with the club, which well-known cricketers/ Middlesex players have played at Ealing in the past or are at the club for 2008? Going back a few years, Simon Hughes came through the Colts system before playing for Middlesex and Durham and becoming the Analyst for
CLUB CRICKET Channel 4’s cricket coverage. Umer Rashid, who played for Middlesex and Sussex, also came through the Colts and Senior sides. He tragically died in Grenada in 2002 on Sussex’s pre-season tour and was just starting to blossom as a county pro. The way he was heading, he would probably have had international honours by now. Owais Shah has played for Ealing since he was 17. Nayan Doshi, the leftarm spinner, played a season for us in 2004 and Middlesex’s current left-arm spinner, Chris Peploe, has been at the club since he was 10 and plays whenever he can. Also former Middlesex all rounder Ian Blanchett has been our Head Coach since 2003 and Peter Wellings remains involved in coaching. Who would be your young player to watch at the club and why? Two youngsters in particular come to mind. Ravi Patel, a young left-arm spinner on the Middlesex Academy. He played for England U16’s last year and bowled very well in the 1st XI in league and Cup games when available. Also Ned Eckersley, a young wicketkeeper/batsman who is on a MCC contract this year. He’s very talented and last year put in some great performances for the 1st XI.
What is your favourite ground to play at? I don’t have a particular favourite, apart from Ealing, although I’m glad Southgate got promoted as their ground is fantastic. Who was the best player (and his club) you came against last season? There are lots of good players in the league at the moment. Steve Selwood from Finchley is a very fine player who bats aggressively and can take games away from you. Mukesh Bhatt, a left-arm spinner from Stanmore, seems to always get the highest wicket tally in the league too and is a good bowler. Paul Weekes, at Hampstead, is obviously still a great player too. Tom Simpson and Ben Claypole at Brondesbury also spring to mind. What are your aims for the club in 2008? Who are your main rivals? Traditionally, our main rivals have been Finchley, Brondesbury, Teddington and Hampstead. Our aims this year are to be the first club to win the Middlesex league for four consecutive seasons, defend our Evening Standard title and perform better in the National Knock Out.
The Ashes Answers 1. 1882
3. THE INVINCIBLES
4. MIKE BREARLEY
5. 364 BY LEN HUTTON IN 1938 17
CLUB CRICKET MITCHAM CC Is Mitcham CC the oldest club in the World? For a sport that prides itself on statistical minutiae, cricket occasionally throws up curious anomalies. With all the records kept, dusty scorebooks treasured and historians who have written about the game, there remains much debate about which is the oldest cricket club. In many ways, Mitcham is the archetypal, thriving cricket club, busily playing its trade in the Surrey Championship and no different from anyone else. That is until you stumble upon their website which calmly proclaims that they are the oldest cricket club in the world. Now, hang on a second. That’s some considerable claim and naturally, Cricket London felt the need to dig a little deeper. The evidence surrounds a painting found in a cellar, entitled ‘1685 – Cricket on Mitcham Green,’ which was subsequently referred to by Tom Higgs in his 1985 publication, 300 Years of Mitcham Cricket. To put this in perspective, the formation of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) wasn’t until 1787 while even Hambledon CC (c.1750) is some eighty years later than Mitcham. The drawback to this is the complete absence of any documentation other than the painting. It’s been assumed that Mitcham CC was born in 1685 but 18
the painting only actually proves cricket was played on Mitcham Green at that time. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no evidence to prove when the cricket club was founded. To muddy the waters further, there could be endless definitions of what actually constitutes a cricket club. Whilst cricket was seemingly played at Lower Green East (to this day part of Mitcham Common), was this just a scene of two teams of gentlemen playing each other? Nonetheless, putting aside their claim to fame, Mitcham undoubtedly boasts a fascinating cricketing history. The current pavilion was erected in 1904 and the club is one of the founding members of the Surrey Championship. Up until the 1920’s, the touring Australian side would always play their first fixture against Mitcham on the green. Merton Library offers a collection of photographs including one of WG Grace netting there, which are well worth a look. But back to the crux of the issue... can Mitcham proudly proclaim to be the oldest cricket club? Well, until something is unearthed to pre-date the Mitcham painting, the club has as much right as any other. At the very least, Mitcham appears to be the oldest cricket ground in continuous use in the UK. Mitcham CC: http://mitcham.play-cricket.com
CLUB CRICKET CRICKETFORCE NatWest CricketForce is the ECB initiative that got you all out painting the sightscreen before the season kicked off. When it swings round to April once more, a number of things happen right across the country. Those that have followed the international cricket schedule over the winter begin to start planning their trips out to the Oval, New Road or Taunton. Office workers practice their square cut with the stapler ever more seriously. Thoughts turn to fantasy cricket, outdoor nets and Ritchie Benaud. The cricket season is just round the corner and this year, you’ll avoid that run of seven, consecutive golden ducks. It’s also a time to dust down the umpire’s coat in the changing rooms, discover if the rats have eaten all the bails and generally give the place a clean. Clubs of different sizes will tackle this with varying degrees of success. Some members will be keen to paint the sightscreen just so they can mark their run-up or sweep away the dandelions
outside off-stump. For other clubs, the necessary renovations fall to a dedicated few. NatWest CricketForce was started as an initiative to encourage clubs to undertake repairs and improvements to their grounds and pavilions before the start of the cricket season and, at the same time, to include all of their members and the local community. The success in a short amount of time has been impressive. The 2007 event encouraged some 80,000 volunteers to help over 1,150 clubs and the last three years up until the 2008 event saw a total of 200,000 volunteers get involved. For 2008, the theme centred around energy efficiency and five clubs were chosen to showcase the hard work that goes into this weekend of cricketing DIY. Log on to: www.ecb.co.uk for all you need to know about CricketForce event (register online now for 2009) and helping your own club improve its facilities – as Shepperton CC (pictured) did with their pavilion project in 2007.
CLUB CRICKET UMPIRING Surrey Championship umpire Bob McLeod has been officiating since 1980. That’s an awful lot of LBW decisions. We talked to the man in the white coat. How did you get into umpiring and what games do you umpire at? My bread and butter is the Surrey Championship and apart from that, I do schools, universities and the MCC. When I got to the end of my playing days, I found I still wanted to be involved with cricket. I went on a course at South Hampstead and did the ACU course (as it was then). That was in 1982 and I had begun umpiring two years earlier. I started out at Sutton CC thinking it would be too far to travel and here I am 22 years later, still a member! What do you most enjoy about umpiring and what do you least enjoy? Firstly, it’s the best seat in the house. Secondly, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but there is satisfaction in giving something back to the game. Thirdly, there is camaraderie between umpires and
also between players and umpires that extends to out of season. Least enjoy? The time element. I try to get to matches an hour before they start (at 11.30am) and games tend to finish at 7.40pm or longer if teams have been slow with their overs. It’s the whole day given up. Also, the money’s not good. There’s a problem concerning the Inland Revenue and what umpires are paid is classified as - is it a wage, an expense or a fee? I earn £32 a day for a Premier League game. That’s well below minimum wage except it’s not classified as a wage. It’s a sticky area but they’re getting us on the cheap. The administration is now moving under the ECB so the whole thing including payment will be under review. Favourite Ground? I’ve got to be careful here who I say! The first is Arundel in the grounds that belong to the Duke of Norfolk. With a natural hollow, it’s a beautiful place to watch the game. It’s magnificent. The second is John Paul Getty’s place. One of the highlights of my career was umpiring the Getty XI against the MCC.
CLUB CRICKET LASHINGS This summer, teams around Middlesex and Surrey will be playing the Lashings World XI, where club cricket meets the professional game. It’s 1984 and local businessman David Folb is in the Lashings Bar and Restaurant in Maidstone when he hears a local cricket team (Minstrel’s Wine Bar) need a team to play on Sunday. He assembles a motley crew of customers, bank managers and friends and Lashings CC is born. The team takes the field at Mote Park, captained by Folb, and in an inauspicious start, proceeds to lose by 294 runs. The village team goes on to play for a number of seasons in the Maidstone & District Riverside League. So far, the story reads like any other but it is in Antigua in 1995 after a chance meeting with West Indies captain Richie Richardson that the fortunes of Lashings CC begin to take a spectacular turn. Richardson is coming to the end of his Test career and is keen to continue playing without the pressure of professional cricket. At some point, the offer of playing local cricket in Kent is suggested and the captain of the West Indies signs up. Naturally, seasoned observers chortle at the possibility of a former international plying his trade for one of Kent’s smallest teams. But sure enough, with 5,949 Test runs to his name and his trademark widebrimmed sunhat, Richardson settles into life at Lashings. It is this eye-catching recruitment that encourages Folb that perhaps there is scope for a cricket team of famous names. From humble beginnings involving the Lashings restaurant
manager, who had never played the game, the team develops into the Lashings World XI. Muttiah Muralitharan, Shoaib Akhtar and Sir Viv Richards are just some of the galaxy of top names to subsequently play in the distinctive black and gold colours. Backed by sponsorship and with media interest snowballing, Lashings CC toured the country playing small village clubs and first-class counties alike. The challenge surely for Lashings CC this season is maintaining its own identity in the foreboding shadow of the Indian Cricket League with all the hype and money surrounding it. In years gone by, it was not unusual for Lashings to sport a host of current internationals who had either taken a sabbatical, as Brian Lara did, or whom were not touring or playing county cricket. The 2008 squad (with the likes of Chris Cairns, Greg Blewett, Gordon Greenidge and Devon Malcolm pencilled in) has a hint of yesteryear (though names are signed during the season –Akhtar was free last time I looked) but Lashings will still remain the plum fixture for clubs up and down the country. With a range of charity games, corporate days, beach tournaments and benefits, the chance to slap Phil Defreitas through the covers or rip out Marvin Attapattu’s middle stump is not one to be missed.
BETH MORGAN INTERVIEW (MIDDX)
Beth Morgan’s cricketing CV is impressive. From Gunnersbury to Middlesex then graduation for the allrounder from Harrow with full international honours – which came in two ODIs against South Africa in 2003. After representing her country at U17, U21 and England A, she has been a regular in the England women’s one day team ever since including the famous 2005 Ashes win.
up in 2009.”
Since that career-defining summer, Morgan’s international form has fluctuated – she’s been in and out of the England side but was involved with the women’s successful defense of the Ashes out in Australia in 2007. While Steve Harmison was bowling to second slip, the England women were ready to assert themselves on the sport’s traditional powerhouse.
The 1-0 win, in obvious stark contrast to the men who were walloped 5-0, allowed the England Women to go onto NZ in fine form where they took the oneday series: “That’s helped us. We now know we can beat the best sides in the world.”
In a move that echoed the men’s game, England shuffled their pack allowing Morgan, who normally bats at seven, to open the innings in the crucial one-day matches: “They tried me out in Australia which was a really good challenge. It was a bit different to what I was used to but I definitely learnt a lot from it and can hopefully go on. They (selectors) were trying a few different things as we have the World Cup coming
Morgan’s form as an opener was steady rather than eye-catching and the experiment was ditched after a couple of games of the drawn series. Nonetheless, the Middlesex all-rounder was back for the off-off Test at the Bowral that would settle the Ashes. This time, it was her bowling, overlooked for one-day duty, which was to prove metronomic and play its part.
This summer will be an important phase of Beth Morgan’s career at a time when new players are making their mark. A place for the forthcoming challenges of SA and India are by no means locked up: “I’d like to be back bowling for England if I can. I’d love to be able to cement a place. The main thing is perform for my club and county then Super 4’s and help those teams do well and then see what happens from there.” Image: Don Miles www.webbsoc.demon.co.uk
EDITORâ€™S MESSAGE Thanks for reading Cricket London and hopefully it was something a little different for you. With the plethora of options available either online or in print, by taking time out to look over any of the features within our trial issue, it is the readers who represent our first success. We're a little late out of the blocks given Durham have just won the County Championship but with any luck, worth the wait and the chance to reflect on 2008. Cricket London is a publication covering all manner of cricket in Middlesex and Surrey from the club scene to the sometimes machivellian dealings of the global game. You don't need to understand Duckworth-Lewis, trigger
movements or reverse swing but at some point in your life, you might have had red stains on your whites, imagined a hat trick in the back garden or hit a double hundred with the office stapler. We have high expectations for 2009 and can only hope our progress is half as meteoric as Steve Harmison's return in an England shirt. Thanks go to all the contributors of this first issue and do look out for the next Cricket London in 2009. If you wish to advertise, see your club featured or let us know what you think, drop over an email on: email@example.com JOHN FULLER - EDITOR
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Published on Oct 5, 2008
Published on Oct 5, 2008
Ok, so you love cricket. Maybe you can reverse swing the ball at 90mph. Maybe you've hit a triple century before tea. Or maybe you have no i...