Monday, 10 August 2015

Holders make it back to Lord's

posted by John Winn

Fine weather allowed all yesterday's ties in the village and club championships to be completed. In the village cup the upshot of the two semi finals is that holders Woodhouse Grange will return to Lord's on September 13th where they will meet Cambridgeshire side Foxton. Woodhouse made the trip to Staffordshire yesterday to meet Pelsall and batting first made 209 for 9 off their 40 overs and in reply Pelsall  fel 60 short. The other tie was a much closer affair. Home team Foxton batted first and made 245 for 8 to which Goatacre from Wiltshire replied with 240. Hero for Foxton was opener Sanderson who hit 103 and unlucky to be on the losing side was Ed Wilkins who was out for 115.

Tony has tweeted this morning an appeal to Yorkshire supporters who are going down to Lord's for the Middlesex match which begins on September 9th to stay the extra day to support Grange, what a week that could be for the Broad Acres.
 I am sure you will be able to find something to do on the Saturday if Yorkshire win in three days.

The National Club Championship was at the quarter final stage yesterday and the four teams going through to the semis are Chester le Street, Bath, Northern and Blackheath. The semi final ties will be on August 29th when Northern will entertain Chester le Street and Blackheath will be at home to Bath. Wickets pitched 12:00.

Ropery Lane Chester le Street CC
Regular readers will be only too familiar with my constant carping about poor coverage of cricket and the county championship in particular in the national press. What splendid timing by England then that they should regain The Ashes on the opening day of the football season and to my delight the first seven pages of yesterday's Observer Sport section were given over to events at Trent Bridge which on the field at least lasted less than half the length of a football match. A constant theme in the press, on radio and tv and in social media has been the question of home advantage in modern test cricket and there are some detailed statistics on the BBC Sport website showing how touring parties have found it increasingly difficult to win on foreign soil. If we needed reminding Australia have won only three of the last 19 tests played in England, something that was often overlooked a few weeks ago when predictions were being made about the outcome of this series.

One explanation for the dominance of home teams lies in the nature of the modern test series which in some cases are little longer than a package holiday. The Australians arrived here three weeks ahead of the first test and began their match preparation by taking on Kent, one of the weakest teams in the championship and the following week faced another second division side, Essex. Between the second and third tests they visited Derbyshire and with the Ashes lost they now go to Wantage Road, bet they are looking forward to that. Contrast this with their 1953 counterparts who arrived at Tilbury on April 13th and did not play a test until June 11th. After a knock about at East Molesey they were scheduled for twelve first class matches, 36 days cricket in total including matches against champions Surrey, a full strength Yorkshire and a near test side put out by MCC. In the event they actually only played on 29 days mainly because they won six matches within two days. At that time matches against tourists were amongst the highlights of counties' seasons with big crowds that came to watch full strength sides and counted a victory over the tourists as historic, particularly if the visitors wore baggy green caps. The games were made even more special because the tourists tried very hard to go through tours unbeaten. The 1953 Australians lost only one match on their tour which did not finish until the 19th of September and that of course was the fifth and final test when England won The Ashes for the first time since 1933.

So what you may be thinking, there will be no going back to tours which involve players being away from home for almost half a year but if the ecb wants to have two series each summer with seven test matches and the matches against the counties are downgraded from first class status because more than 11 players are used and if we must have a healthy dose of one day games in the programme then expect to see more headlines like 'Are The Ashes becoming too predictable?' which I have read today.

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