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Category archive: Sport

Saturday September 15 2018

I was summoned to Chateau Samizdata (which is in South Kensington these days) for lunch today, which meant that when I walked past that Bartok statue at lunchtime today, the light was behind me, rather than in front of me and behind Bartok.

So I was able to have another go at photoing him:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

But with rather mixed results.  The change in lighting made a lot less difference than I had been hoping.

I spent the late afternoon and the evening (a) doing stuff at home, and (b) keeping track of the climaxes of two competitions, this one, which was won by pianist Eric Lu, and this one, which was won by the Worcestershire cricket team.  Which means Worcestershire have had a mixed season, having also been relegated from Division One of the County Championship.  It was like them winning the FA cup but also getting relegated from the Premier League.  However, getting relegated from Division One of the Country Championship makes far less financial difference than dropping out of the Premier League.  So Worcester are probably now pretty happy.  Counties doing well in one format but badly in another is quite frequent.  They all say that, of course, they want to win everything.  But in reality, they prioritise this and neglect that.

Tonight, Radio 3 played the last two Leeds Piano Competition concerto performances, the three others having been played last night.  I will be checking out the performance of Beethoven 1 from last night, because, while they were waiting for them to pick the various prize winners, they played part of a chamber music performance by the guy who had played Beethoven 1, which sounded excellent.  Also, this guy came second in the overall competition, so he’s pretty good.

Tonight’s Beethoven 4, from winner Lu, was excellent, albeit somewhat more subdued than I think Beethoven had in mind when he composed this piece.  Lu’s was a very “private” performance of what was actually, I think, written as a rather public piece (about private feelings).  But that’s very much a matter of (my) opinion.  Given what Lu was doing, he did it very well.  Besides which, who would want all concerto performances to sound the same?  Beethoven might have been surprised by Lu’s delicate and subtle performance, but that doesn’t mean he’d have minded.  On the contrary, he would probably be amazed and delighted that people were still playing the thing at all.

Tonight’s other concerto, the Schumann, was similar in artistic intention to Lu’s Beethoven 4, but to my ear it involved a few too many wrong notes.  The Radio 3 commentators didn’t mention these wrong notes, but I don’t think I imagined them.  I think they chose to ignore them.

Bartok wrote three Piano Concertos, each very fine in their contrasting ways.  None of these were played in the final of the Leeds Piano Competition.

LATER: I’ve just been listening to another county game, just started on Sept 18th, and I realise that the piece I linked to about Worcester getting relegated was dated 2015.  Theoretically, they could still avoid relegation this year.  But they’re not going to.  They’ve just been bowled out for 94 by Essex, and they are about thirty points shy of safety, with Yorks and Lancs both having to cock it up big time for them to escape.  As it is, Worcs and Lancs both look doomed to the trop.  But, in theory, Worcs are still in with a chance of avoiding this.

I am very sorry to have misled you, in the unlikely event that I did, and that you care.

Saturday September 08 2018

This morning, I was half attending to the Test Match. And I was switching back and forth between the Cricinfo page that showed the latest few deliveries with written ball-by-ball commentary ("live"), and the version that showed the complete England scorecard ("scorecard").  I was doing this because I was trying to track how the England stand in progress, being accomplished by Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad, compared to other stands in the innings, and also how Buttler’s personal score compared to other personal scores in the England innings.  In the end, the Buttler/Broad stand was the biggest in the England innings, and Buttler was the top individual England scorer.  Following a terrible evening yesterday, England had a very good morning this morning.

But this is not a posting only about cricket, it is mostly a posting about internet advertising, and about what I suspect is deliberate deception in the matter of how effective internet advertising actually is.

I know, I know, if I’m not paying, I’m not watching the product; I am the product.  But I suspect that I, the product, am being lied about.

Every time I performed one of the above switches, from the “live” version of the Cricinfo test match page to the “scorecard” version, a noisy video advert cranked itself up at my new destination.  Silencing such video adverts can be difficult.  You tell them to shut up but they just ignore you and carry on shouting, like they own the site, which they sort of do.  However, I have discovered a way to silence these adverts.  Click on them, and immediately close the window that this click opens.  The advert feels that its job is done, and it stops shouting.  Its job is to get “clicks” to whatever the hell it was advertising.

But what were my clicks?  Were they attempts to learn more about the product in question.  No.  They were simply me getting the advert to shut the hell up.  I paid no attention to the adverts.

How many others have discovered this trick?  I can’t be the only one.  So, you stick your annoying advert on a popular website.  People click on the advert, close the window as soon as it opens, but the people who placed this advert assure the purveyor of the product that the advert got “attention”, from me and all the others who clicked purely to shut the advert up.  Because, look how many people clicked on the noisy bloody advert!  I did it half a dozen times for several different adverts, every time I switched from one version of that Cricinfo page to the other, which I did a lot.  That’s a lot of attention!

No it isn’t.  It is a small amount of contempt, for bad-mannered tradesmen shouting at me in my kitchen.

What’s that you say?  I’m a libertarian?  Yes I am.  So, why am I complaining about capitalism?

Try reading my piece for Samizdata entitled ”The overheating Samsung S24F356 – and thoughts about why there are so many complaints about capitalism”.

That link there hasn’t been shouting at you all the time you’ve been reading this posting.  This is a link with manners.  You can follow this link, in silence.  Or you can ignore it, in silence.  You are welcome.

Thursday September 06 2018

I enjoyed this Twitterxchange. here.

Colin Kaepernick:

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Scott Adams:

I’m pro-Kaepernick (for his effective protest on a real issue) but this is the worst life advice you will ever see. Develop a talent stack instead.

One of the classic career counselling clashes, the one between meaning and process.  There is a distinct whiff of Jordan Peterson in what Kaepernick says, or is said by Nike to be saying.

I’m sort of in between on this one.  I’d say: believe in something and develop a talent stack that achieves it, or failing that, something else worth achieving.  And I’d add that we all end up sacrificing everything in the end, or at least losing it.  We all must die of something.  Let it be of something meaningful or at least having attempted something meaningful.

I’m now catching up with Scott Adams, and in particular, am viewing this.  I like how Adams’s videos to camera begin with a piece of “simultaneous sip” nonsense, because this means that you don’t have to go back to the beginning when you crank one of them up.

Friday August 31 2018

Today I had in mind to tell you about the dragons that adorn the Great Pagoda in Kew Gardens, which is the Pagoda from the top of which you can see the Big Things of London.

But I spent today paying attention to cricket, and fretting about whether enough people would attend my Brian’s Last Friday Meeting, that happened earlier this evening, so I did not manage to say anything here about the above mentioned dragons.  Too complicated.

Now that it is late evening, and the meeting has successfully concluded (thank you Vera Kichanova, terrific), I only have time and energy to tell you about these two particular dragons, which are inflated and made of plastic:

imageimageimage

What these inflated plastic dragons tell you is that Kew Gardens, in addition to being a place of Outstanding Scientific Interest, is also what is now called a Visitor Attraction.  A place, in other words, to which children are glad to go to rather than rebellious about being made to go.  And there is nothing like friendly inflated plastic dragons with goofy smiles on their faces to make children feel welcome.

I, meanwhile, have no particular objection to visiting a Visitor Attraction.  Before I had a digital camera, I used to be snobbish about going to places which other people in large numbers also liked.  But since acquiring my first digital camera (I am now on about my seventh) and since acquiring the hobby of photoing other digital photoers, I find that my former distaste for Visitor Attractions has melted away.  The more people there are at a particular spot (and if they can bring their children without their children objecting, there will be more people) the more chance there is that there will be people photoing, and that makes me happy.

So: hurrah for the inflated plastic dragons of Kew Gardens.  Which I also quite like myself.

Wednesday August 29 2018

I did a posting about a Big Thing Alignment that I saw when I went with Darren to that cricket match at the oval, and I did a posting about how the last ball of that game looked, two days later, on video.

Now for some more photos I took on the day Darren and I went to day 2 of that game between Surrey and Lancashire.

The very first photo I took that day was this:

image

I love how, in the middle of that big photo, we see one of those excellent You Are Here signs that you see all over London, and in many other spots, I don’t doubt, in not-London.  I really like these signs, and constantly photo them, if only to remind me for later of exactly where Here was at that particular moment.

Of this OCS stand, SteelConstruction.org has this to say:

This is a most appropriate use of steel, in a geometrically complex arrangement, which adds drama and visual excitement to a famous venue.

I was hoping that this OCS Stand, would be as open for people to sit in as it was in the above photo photo, because I have yet to experience the views from the top of that stand, surely as dramatic in their own ways as the stand itself. But on the evening when Darren and I were there, the OCS Stand was shut.  Shame.  Memo to self: I will photo these views.  If I have to make a special trip to the Oval just to ask about that, fine, I’ll do it, and keep on doing it, until they let me up there, preferably on a nice day.

Here is that OCS Stand, as it was looking at the second interval of the day, which happened not long after we got there:

image

That photo makes the ground look pretty dark, even though the floodlights were on.  And it does not deceive.  The ground did indeed look dark, to the human eye.

Here is the Pavilion that faces the OCS Stand, which is where we soon moved to:

image

Some like ancient, and dislike modern.  Others dislike ancient, and like modern.  Me?  I like both, and particularly like it when they are near each other, or (as in this case) facing each other, and I can relish the contrast.

One of the particular charms of cricket grounds – this being especially true of the two big London grounds, the Oval and Lord’s – is that they feature both (fairly(at least in style)) ancient, and (very) modern architecture.  In comparison,.I find big stadiums built all in one go very dull.  I went to a football game at Wembley, and if it hadn’t been for the big arch on the top of it, it would have been totally anonymous.  It’s not just the architectural uniformity.  It’s also that in a place like Wembley there are no gaps, and you can’t see anything except the stadium.  You could be anywhere.

Darren and I, what with Darren being a Surrey Member, sat in those
seats at the top, in the middle, and when you look out from there, across at the OCS Stand and to the left and the right of it, you couldn’t be anywhere but London.  Here is another view looking to the right, which includes that earlier Big Thing Alignment and several other random Big Things besides:

image

And here is the view to the left, towards Battersea, where the new US Embassy, just up river from MI6, has detonated a building boom:

image

But forget the US Embassy.  The reason I am showing you the above photo is to tell you how very dark the ground had become.  Forget playing cricket.  How on earth can you even see anything on that cricket pitch?

But seeing things on that pitch soon became very easy.  Quite soon afterwards, observe how very light the ground had become:

image

The floodlights were blasting away in both of those photos, not just in the second one.  Yet, in the first, they were being totally outshone by the paltry remnants of daylight.  Only when daylight had seriously dimmed did the floodlights suddenly start to make their presence felt.  And even then the sky is still quite light, especially down near the horizon.

I have been to the Oval quite a few times, but don’t recall witnessing the extremity of this contrast ever before.  I think it helped that we were looking down on the ground from quite a height, onto the brightness of the ground.  But basically, I’ve never been there when it was properly dark before.

The reason the above photo, especially of the people near me to the left, looks like it was taken with flash is because there is another big clutch of floodlights coming crashing into us from off to the right, very nearby.

Finally, here are a couple of photos I took just after arriving at the ground, through the Hobbes Gate, which is behind the Pavilion, on the far side of the Oval from the river, and from me:

image

One of the more agreeable features of London’s big two cricket grounds - Lord’s especially - is the number of giant photos there are on show, of cricketing heroes present and past.  It was the same when I visited White Hart Lane a while back.

Here is a closer-up snap of the Surrey ladies captain, Natalie Sciver:

image

Sciver lead her team to victory on Bank Holiday Monday in the ladies T20 national tournament.  Her Surrey “Stars” beat “Western Storm” in the one semi-final, and then won the final against Loughborough “Lightning”.  Lizelle Lee got a century for Surrey in the final, but she got good support from Sciver, and Sciver excelled with both bat and ball in the semi-final, which was a lot closer.

I am fond of emphasising how sport has replaced war in the world’s luckier and richer countries.  Long may that trend continue.  What these giant pictures emphasise, or so it feels to me, is the local significance of big sports clubs, and the way that, in terms of how these places feel close up, sport is also busy replacing religion.  This is especially true now that the other great modern challenger of religion in this kind of way, the cinema, is fading back into a merely domestic past-time.  The elaborate imagery.  The regular attendance at an architecturally impressive locale.  The shared agonies and ecstasies of the assembled congregations.  The way that the calendar is carved up into a distinct pattern.  To me, it all feels very religious, and I am certainly not the only one to have noticed this.  (That link took only seconds to find.)

The Church of Cricket is, I quite realise, but a small sect, these days, at any rate in England, compared to the Universal Church of Football.  But the point about sport replacing religion in modern life still stands.

Friday August 24 2018

Here are two fun and silly and consequently viral animal videos that I was recently shown on Twitter, but they both raise a non-trivial question about animals and their degree of self-awareness.

First up, a cat looks in a mirror, and is surely not aware that the other cat is him/her.  Cats are much stupider than they seem to us, because their basic method of going about things is the way a wise human goes about things, often rather slowly, carefully and thoughtfully, or else in a way that looks very alert and clever But, often they are thick as several planks.

Meanwhile, a dog watches herself on TV doing one of those canine obstacle courses in a show.  Dogs behave like stupid humans, with wildly excessive enthusiasm for stupid things, and consequently we tend to think of them as being very rather stupid.  But the typical dog is a lot cleverer than the typical cat, I believe.  Dogs don’t care how stupid they look.  Cats typically don’t either, but cats typically behave like they do care about looking stupid, unless you dangle something in front of them on a string, at which point they go crazy, unless they are too old to care.

But back to my self-awareness point.

As commenter “Matt” says, of the dog watching herself on TV:

This is amazing I hope she knows its her.

In other words, Matt is no more certain than I am that she does know it’s her.  Maybe she’s watching a totally different dog do what she likes to do, and she’s excited about that, just like any other sports fan.

The cat video ends with a variation on what seems to be a regular internet gag about misbehaving reflections (that vid being in the comments on the cat vid), but that’s a different story.  Someone else adds a Marx Brother, or maybe it’s actually two Marx Brothers, doing the same gag, in those far off days before there was an internet.

Thursday August 23 2018

That cricket match at the Oval that my friend Darren took me to, the floodlit one, ended yesterday, and it got very tense, with Surrey eventually winning by just 6 runs.

The game ended with what you might call a 32 point catch, by Surrey substitute fielder Will Jacks.  (Whoever won the game would get 16 more points, and whoever lost it, no more points.) Morne Morkel bowled what turned out to be the final ball.  Lancashire number 11 Parkinson hit it hard to his left.  But Jacks stuck out his right hand and caught it.

You can see video of this moment here. It was indeed quite a catch.

But what I really like about that bit of video is the way the Surrey players on view - bowler Morkel, Jacks on the right, the wicketkeeper and three slip fielders – all then celebrate.

Jacks takes the catch and turns and runs away from the pitch, like a child imitating an airplane.

I surmise that cricketers do this when celebrating, (a) because they just have to celebrate, so celebrational are they feeling, but (b) they run away from the pitch in order to avoid any chance of being accused of celebrating in the face of an opponent, which cricket’s authorities disapprove of.  So, they run like lunatics away from where the game just happened.

So, Jacks turns and runs towards the boundary.

At which point the screen suddenly contains two more Surrey players, both running towards Jacks, to celebrate with him.  In all, about six guys are running towards Jacks.

However, some of those doing this realise, or so I surmise, that if they run after Jacks, they might never catch him.  Besides which, there is the matter of mobbing Morne Morkel, who has now taken six wickets and basically won the match for Surrey, so about three of the Surrey players wheel around and exit stage left, to mob Morkel instead, because Morkel has run off to the left, to do his celebrating.  Instantly, the picture, which had contained eight Surrey players, suddenly contains none at all, just the two disconsolate Lancashire batters.

Lancashire, way down at the bottom of Division One of the County Championship, really needed those 16 points, so they must have been very disconsolate indeed.  No Jacks catch and Lancs would surely have won.  But Jacks caught it and Surrey’s winning streak continues.

But, the news tonight for Lancs is better.  They are playing Kent in the quarter finals of the T20 slog, from which Surrey have already been eliminated, and they are well on the way to winning.  I support Kent in this one, because Kent is nearer to London than Lancashire.  And oh look, while I was just dashing off this posting, Kent have contrived to lose three more wickets and are now 114-9, with only two overs to go in their innings.  That surely won’t be enough.  So Lancs will soon, surely, be feeling much better.

But hello.  Lancs now 10-2.  Maybe Lancs will lose tonight’s game by 6 runs also.

Monday August 20 2018

Yes, earlier this evening, my mate Darren arranged for me to drop by at the Oval to witness day 2 of the first Day/Night game of four day county cricket to be staged at the Oval.  However, all I have the energy to show you for now is this new-to-me Big Thing alignment, as seen from the very superior seats way up in the pavilion, where Surrey members like Darren (and his plus one) can sit.

image

Not surprisingly, these superior seats are one of my favourite spots in London (therefore in the world), because you can see things like the above, and cricket.

What we mostly observe in the above photo is the Walkie Talkie.  But behind we also see the newly erected Scalpel.  And, eagle-eyed viewers will also be able to discern, from two very small clues, the Gherkin.  Yes, that is definitely the Gherkin.

What the thing between the chimney pots in the foreground and the Walkie Talkie is, I do not know.

I especially like the two window cleaning cranes on the top of the Walkie Talkie.

Sleep well.  I am definitely about to do this myself.

Tuesday August 14 2018

On that same photowalk with GodDaughter 1, five years ago, that I mentioned yesterday, and a bit earlier than when I took yesterday’s photo, of her and her shadow and my shadow, I took these photos:

imageimageimage
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You can see how that little mind of mine was working, can’t you?  That being one of the amusements of me taking so many photos that comes across years later.  I can now see exactly what I was thinking, in a little photo-moment, five years ago.

I encounter an interesting sculpture.  (I find that I like sculpture more and more, provided I like it of course.) Then, in the distance, I see a favourite Big Thing, in this case the Big Olympic Thing.  I line up the Big Olympic Thing up the sculpture.  I line it up again, this time including only that very recognisable top of the Big Olympic thing, and putting that right on top of the sculpture, like a handle.  Good.  Nice one.

Then I draw back, and take another shot that provides some more context, while being careful to keep the Big Olympic Thing present, to one side.  What I do not do, regrettably, is photo any sign or caption which told me about this piece of sculpture.  What is it?  Who did it?  When?  Why?  What’s it of?  There must have been some clue I could have photoed.

Happily, this is the twenty first century, and a little descriptive googling ("sculpture clasped hands” or some such thing) got me to places like this, which tell the story.  And it’s quite a story.

Friday August 10 2018

The word used by England spin bowler Monty Panesar, when he was on Test Match Special this morning during a rain break, to describe how it felt when, in a test match in India, he got Sachin Tendulkar out.

Despite all the rain of the last two days, England were exhuberating at Lord’s today.

Thursday August 09 2018

The final full day of The Great Heatwave of 2018 was two days ago, on August 7th.  August 8th was a couldn’t-make-up-its-mind day, and today was a could-make-up-its-mind day, and it made up its mind to be cold and wet and generally horrible, perhaps in honour of the Lord’s Test between England and India, today’s first day of which was totally rained off.  One day, magic beams will rise up into the sky from around the boundaries of all major cricket games and will divert the rain into giant vats, also on the boundary, and play will proceed no matter what the weather beyond the ground.  (Such devices will also transform global agriculture, and make the entire population of the world obese.)

So, as I was saying, two days ago was the last day of the Heatwave, and maybe it was this heat which cause this lady to be wearing, in a street near me, this headgear:

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This lady looked normal enough, apart from the headgear.  I made no secret of the fact that I was photoing her, and she clearly saw me doing this and didn’t seem to min.  Or maybe she was concentrating on her phoning and actually didn’t see me.  Either way, I waited until her face was hidden.

The sane explanation for the headgear was the heat.  And honestly, I do believe that this was what it was for.  That heatwave really was very hot.

Monday August 06 2018

Andy Bull of the Guardian lists the runs per over totals of the fourteen overs it took for Aaron Finch and Jason Roy to score 194 for the first wicket, for Surrey against Middlesex in a recent T20 slamfest at the Oval:

14, 17, 23, 15, 14, 15, 15, 10, 12, 9, 15, 11, 10, 14.

Middlesex had scored what looked like a very formidable 221 in their twenty overs.  Surrey demolished this target with four overs to spare.

Then, in the next game, Jason Roy …:

… managed the philosophically challenging task of getting stumped for a duck without facing a ball, as he overbalanced to a wide speared down the leg side ...

I was indeed puzzled, as I perused the result of that game on my mobile phone.  0 runs scored, 0 balls faced.  Stumped.  But I worked it out for myself, so I guess I solved the philosophical challenge.  Finch didn’t do much better, scoring a mere 16.  But Surrey still won.

And in between, there was the little matter of England squeaking home against India.  So, a good three days of cricket, which, with the magic of mobile phonery, I was able to combine with having a bit of a life.

Apart from the little fact that Joss Buttler, whom I earlier talked up, was the only total non-contributor to England’s win.  He got out twice for a total of one run, facing all of four deliveries.  Adil Rashid, whom I talked down, got three wickets, including the crucial one of Kohli in the first innings.  Kohli had, by then, scored 148 runs.  But if Rashid hadn’t then got him, who’s to say Kohli wouldn’t have scored another big pile of runs and given India a match-winning first innings lead?

At least I didn’t trash Stokes, who got the vital wickets for England at the end, or Surrey’s own Sam Curran, who got Man of the Match for taking five wickets and for turning England’s second innings from match-losingly terrible into, as it turned out, sufficient.

The second test starts on Thursday.  And another Surreyite, Sam Pope, is in the England squad and could also play.  I can’t wait, as GodDaughter 2 and her sister both say in such circumstances.  Meaning: I can wait and I will wait, even though I would prefer it if I didn’t have to wait.

Wednesday August 01 2018

The first test between England and India starts in under an hour, as I write this, and I have the feeling that this is going to be a really good series.  India are a terrific side, playing away.  England are … a side, playing at home.  More exactly, England are a side with lots of individual good players, capable of good things, but for the last few years, they’ve not been putting it together.  A five match series, and they just might.

My opinion on the Adil Rashid row?  Not sure.  But, probably, this: that a clever spin bowler bowling against batters who have to score at eight an over can get a ton of wickets, because the batters have to play a stupid shot about once an over.  However, a spinner bowling against batters who would like to score at four an over but who don’t mind scoring at two an over or nought an over is in a massively weaker position, because the batters never have to play stupid shots.  So, the bowler gets tired and bowls stupid balls, and eventually the batters are scoring eight an over, and the spinner gets figures of about nought or one for a hundred, and gets the boot.  Hope I’m wrong.

English county cricket can look after itself.  But the fact is, for spinners, it’s a very good proof that you can do it, if you can.  But, by the way, what you have to do is quite subtle.  Mostly, bowl a lot of overs for not many runs without getting tired, and as a bonus, while regularly taking wickets.  You can’t do that in white ball cricket.  White ball being the 50 and 20 over slogs, in which bowlers bowl only ten or only four overs.

White ball batting, on the other hand, is a different story entirely.  A truly good white ball batter can bat for about forty overs and make a score that’s truly big even by test standards.  I suspect that white ball cricket will supply a steady stream of batters to the England test team, and the result will be that in a few years, England’s test team will regularly score 450 in a day, or more.  Jos Buttler is the sort of batter England are going to rely on for the next few years.  Buttler went straight from having a good IPL – the IPL being the Indian T20 slamfest, played to packed houses and packed TV channels for more money in a year than most pro-cricketers earn in a lifetime – to the England test team.  And it worked a treat.  Why?  Because Buttler can really bat.  And he is used to doing it in a big time environment, where his whole future as a human being is at stake, just as it is when you play big test matches.

What’s happening here?  With batting, all the best and most ambitious county batters now try to bat like Buttler.  They try to break into the big time not by grinding out boring 150s over two days, but by smashing a clutch of match-wnning sixes in a T20 game that their county looked like they were losing.  They get some chances and they grab them.  And I do mean: all.  Only the second-raters now cut out the shots, in the manner of the young Geoff Boycott or Ken Barrington, and try to graft their way to greatness.  That’s how it now feels to me.  It’s like The Right Stuff said about how all those daring-do fighter-jocks suddenly morphed into risk-averse astronauts, only with batting, the culture switch is in the opposite direction, from risk averse to slam bang.  The slam bang batters are now where all the true class is to be found.  This was why Buttler was such a great choice.  He is just really, really good at batting.  He proved it in the IPL.  He will prove it again in test cricket.  It’s the slam bangers who now have the right stuff.

If I am right about all this, then the search for The Opener To Open With Cook will end when they finally decide to give up on all the second-rate grafters whose legs turn to jelly when they see spectators instead of empty seats around the boundary, and to pick classy slam banger Jason Roy.  For that, Roy needs to do what Buttler did and have a good IPL.  He hasn’t yet done this.  Before that, they’ll probably pick Rory Burns, and he won’t cut it.  And he will go back to Surrey and be Ramprakash.

We shall see.

Sorry about there not being as many links in this as there should have been.  I’m was/am in a rush to nail my petard onto the chopping block before the game kicks off.  I’m talking about this game.  There you go.  Another link.

England have won the toss and will bat.

Tuesday July 24 2018

Mark Church, the Surrey commentator-in-chief, tweets the gory or glorious (according to taste) details of Surrey’s recent run of triumphs in the Country Championship:

Surrey’s 5 straight wins:

Innings and 17 runs
Innings and 58 runs
Innings and 89 runs
7 wickets
Innings and 183 runs

6 wins in total this season

Good numbers those 🏏🏏

Very good.  No surprise, then, that Surrey are way out in front and are hot favourites to win the whole thing.

I’ve been following all these wins, the scores via Cricinfo, and if I want to hear the actual fall of wickets being described by normally taciturn men who suddenly start shouting, then through the BBC commentaries, the ones that Mark Church does.

If you follow a sports team, you will know both how deeply satisfying this Surrey hot streak has been for me, a Surrey supporter, and also how impossible it is for me to explain to someone who doesn’t share such sports fan feelings why it is so satisfying.

With four day county cricket, keeping track of the progress of a steamroller team, like Surrey have been this year, means tracking your team for twenty solid days, six hours each day, minus the days you miss because Surrey have already won inside three days, like they did today.  Imagine following your football team doing that, winning for twenty solid days!

Follow that link, and you will learn that the guy who made the difference for Surrey today was South African pace monster Morne Morkel.  The word is that people around the counties hate Surrey a bit less than usual just now, on account of so many of Surrey’s good players these days being proper county cricketers that they have nurtured in their Academy or whatever, rather than bought in from The World.  But Morkel is a classic throw-money-at-the-problem answer to a problem, the problem being that Surrey needed a bowler like Morkel to make their bowling attack the complete steamroller than it now is.

Morkel wasn’t just the difference today.  On the first morning of this game, when Notts were just one wicket down and were groping towards a position of batting adequacy, Morkel got two quick wickets, and Notts never recovered.  Instead of Notts batting in the second half of the day when batting was easier, Surrey got to bat then.  Yesterday morning, Surrey batted on and lost four wickets for not a lot, but this wasn’t enough for Notts to get back into the game.  The Surrey tail didn’t so much wag as flail.  Rikki Clarke, who started his career at Surrey and is now finishing it there, got a century batting at eight, Burns having already scored a century batting at one, and that was pretty much that.

Okay, your eyes glazed during that last paragraph, but you are now here.  The point is: Surrey are now really good.

This metaphorical hot streak of Surrey’s has been a great comfort to me, in these literally very hot times.

Friday July 20 2018

Indeed:

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I encountered this on Twitter this afternoon.  This is now all over the www.  But, I could not discern who had first taken this photo, or what they had said about it.  Twitter is bad like that.  People shove up photos like this one, but never say what their provenance is.  The worst offender when it comes to not linking when they should is “You Had One Job”, a gang of internet thieves, basically.  Whom I will not dignify with a link.

This has been a holding operation.  I have three quarters finished at least two different postings, but I don’t want to rush them.

This one, on the other hand, I do want to rush.  You want a funny caption?  Do your own.

You what?  I’m angry, and taking it out on you people?  Damn right I’m angry.  Surrey amassed a stupendous 250 in their T20 innings against Kent earlier this evening, and then instead of Kent failing to chase this down (Kent would definitely have failed to chase this down), it bloody rained and the two points were shared between the two sides.  There ought to be a rule that says if you make that many, and then it rains, you automatically win.  But is there such a rule?  Is there?  Of course not.