Cape Cobras v Dolphins at Cape Town, Franchise 1-Day Cup

This morning I was scheduled to write about Essex County Cricket Club, but I then I thought I would take a break from County Cricket for a day and explore some of the other domestic cricket competitions taking place right now:  in Banglandesh, in India, in New Zealand, in Pakistan, in South Africa, in Zimbabwe…it seems the entire Southern Hemisphere is alive with cricket.  (Missing from that list is Australia, but it looks as though The Sheffield Shield returns on 2 December, the Ryobi One-Day Cup on 7 December, and of course, the BIG BASH LEAGUE ramps up on 16 December.)  Plus, writing about a County might not seem like it, but it is a time consuming effort, and I could use a quick morning post.

So let’s chat about Zimbabwe’s Stanbic Bank 20 Series instead.

It is a short competition, lasting only from the 25th of November through the 4th of December, barely a week.  It features five clubs, the same five clubs that I discussed in my post on Zimbabwe’s other domestic competition, The Castle Logan Cup.

Each club plays each other club once, with the top four teams advancing to a knock out stage.  (Yeah, 80% of the teams make the playoffs, that’s almost a higher percentage than the NHL has.)  The knockout stage is single elimination, two semi-finals and a final.

This year, the competition features several international players of note: Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes, Ryan ten Doeschate, and of course the enigmatic Chris Gayle.

Gayle plays for the Matabeleland Tuskers, and his squad has already played their four matches, winning three and losing one, and has advanced to the knockout stages.  The Mountaineers and the Mid West Rhinos have also advanced, so the last spot is left for the Southern Rocks and the Mashonaland Eagles (ten Doeschate’s squad) to fight over. The former has two points to the latter’s none, but the Eagles have a match in hand.

The semi-finals are on Friday and the final on Sunday.  As I have previously mentioned, the matches are available live on Willow.tv, and the final is actually on at a not too ungodly hour: 6am CST.  Will I watch??  We will see.

The Zimbabwean Cricket Association is bullish on the tournament, and sees it as a chance for ZC to show the ICC that cricket is growing exponentially in their country.  Big crowds are expected this weekend at the finals, as it is a school holiday.

Now, I am no big fan of Twenty20 (especially at the international level) but for cricket to grow, in my opinion, domestic competitions in lesser nations, not just test nations but in all Associate member nations, competitions such as the Stanbic Bank 20 Series, need to succeed and thrive.  I really believe these tournaments will feed test cricket, which is what we all want, at the end of the day.

Of course, like most folks, I hate the idea of the best international players flying all over the world to play in 15 different domestic tournaments a year, but that might have to be the catalyst which helps these domestic leagues grow.  I point to Major League Soccer and their “designated player” rule, which has seemingly worked quite well.

So, here’s hoping nothing but success for the Stanbic Bank 20 Series.

Until next time.

Punjab v Railways at Mohali, Ranji Trophy Elite

Normally, Tuesdays are no blog days, as I have an early meeting and class in the afternoon.  But the meeting this morning was cancelled, so I thought: let’s write a blog damn it.

And I am glad I did.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Derbyshire was one of the youngest first-class counties in England, but at the time I was not aware that not only was Durham younger, but the significantly younger.

Durham County Cricket Club was formed in 1882, but did not make its first-class debut for 110 years, against Leicestershire at the Racecourse Ground.  That’s right, Durham has only been playing first-class cricket for 19 years – and were the first club to be promoted since 1921.  Lincoln was the US president when Lancashire played its initial first-class match, but Bill Clinton was US president when Durham did the same.

I don’t mean to harp on the club’s age, as they do have a long and significant history in the lower divisions (including a six year undefeated run between 1976 and 1982), but I did find the above a bit shocking.

However, since joining the elite ranks of County Cricket, Durham has enjoyed a fantastic run of success: A Friend’s Provident win in 2007, followed by County Championships in 2008 and 2009.  That is a run of form that most clubs would drool over.

Durham has played the majority of their first-class cricket at the Riverside Ground (now known as the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground) which is located in Chester-le-Street, Durham, England.

It has a capacity of 19,000 and has hosted both ODIs as well as tests, the first of the latter being England v Zimbabwe in 2003 and the most recent being England v West Indies in 2009.

Considering its minor county role for the first 100 years of its existence, the club does not really boast a great many notable players.  However, it did act as a bit of a feeder club in its lower division days, sending players such as George Sharp, Colin Milburn, and Bob Willis down south to ply their trade on the big stage.

Colin Milburn is one of cricket’s sadder stories.  He played in nine tests for England in the late sixties, averaging over 46 and knocking two centuries.  However, he was involved in a motor accident in 1969 which took his sight and prompted his retirement.  He died very young from a heart attack in 1990 and his funeral was attended by hundreds of cricket lovers.  Ian Botham was a pall bearer.

Colin Milburn

Currently, the club boasts several players of note: Internationals such as Michael Di Venuto, David Miller, Ian Blackwell, Paul Collingwood, Phil Mustard, and Graham Onions.

Three cheers for Durham County Cricket Club!

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Back on the pitch, lots going on: India is chasing the West Indies’ 211 in their first ODI.  It is the 22nd over, the current RR is 4.57 and the required is 3.96, and the hosts have 5 wickets in hand (Patel, Sehwag, Gambhir, Vohli, and Raina: all gone.)  Meanwhile in Dhaka, Pakistan crushed Bangladesh by 50 runs in their first and only Twenty20.

Plus there is a whole slew of domestic cricket happening, way too much to get into at this time, as I still have 11 more counties to write about!

Until next time.

No matches found

Derbyshire County Cricket Club is one of the youngest clubs in the County Championship.  They were formed in 1870 and played their initial First Class match the following year.

Unfortunately, Derbyshire has never really enjoyed a great deal of success.  They have only won one Championship in their entire 132 year history (1936), and they were actually kicked out of the Championship for several years in the late 19th century due to a terrible run of form.

Even their one day successes have been few and far between: one Gillette/NatWest/C&G title in 1981, a Sunday League crown in 1990, and a Benson & Hedges Cup in 1993.  That’s it.

I am not sure of if it has anything due with the lack of success, but the club has been quite the nomadic bunch over the years, as well.  They have hosted First Class matches at 14 different grounds since their inception: Abbeydale Park, Bass Worthington Ground, Burton-on-Trent CC Ground, County Ground, Derby High Ground, Ind Coope Ground, Miners Welfare Ground, North Road Ground, Park Road Ground, Queen’s Park, Recreation Ground, Rutland Recreation Ground, Saltergate, and the Town Ground.  That number bumps up to a shocking 21 when you add in List A and t20 matches.

However, the majority of their cricket has been played at two grounds: The County Ground and Queen’s Park.

Respectively:

The former ground holds 9,500 folks and features a brand new stand and a new marquee.  It has hosted several ODIs, an FA Cup Final, and is the former home of Derby County Football club.

The latter holds 7,000 and was the home to Derbyshire from 1898 to 1998, and then again from 2006-Present after a major refurbishment.  The ground is within the city limits of Chesterfield and looks to feature quite the picturesque setting.

Notable players? Well, Kim Barnett scored the most runs in Derbyshire’s history, with 23,854 over a nine year stint with the club from 1979-1998.  However, his career was marred by contract disputes and his place on Mike Gatting’s rebel tour of South Africa.

Les Jackson took the most wickets for the club, with 1,670, playing for them from 1947 to 1963. He actually had an extraordinarily interesting life.  The son of a miner in born in Derbyshire, his brother was killed in the Creswell colliery disaster in 1950, yet Jackson would work in the mines in the off season for most of his life.  He was genuinely feared by batsmen, especially on uncovered county wickets.  He could swing the ball both ways and employed a short run up, hence his longevity.  He passed in 2007 at the ripe old age of 85.

Les Jackson in 1960

And that, in so many words, is Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

Usual sources…blah blah blah…

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Back on the pitch, not a great deal happening.  There actually is not single international match taking place today, so I will leave the chatter on the upcoming matches for another day.  However, one programming note: the entire Bangladesh-Pakistan series is going to be available live on ESPN3.  One t20, three ODIs, and two tests.  Happy days.

Until next time.

India v West Indies at Mumbai, 3rd Test

I thought I would take a break from the County Cricket write-ups and post a quick and dirty Thanksgiving blog.

That’s right, it is Thanksgiving here in the states, that means a long overdue four day weekend, and it is also why there was no post yesterday.

Anyway, here are the cricket related things I am thankful for this year:

The rebirth of test cricket

The Two Chucks video-cast

Kumar Sangakkara 

The ability to spell Sangakkara on the very first try without cheating. 

The people, few as they are, that read this silly little blog. 

Twitter, generally speaking

The County Cricket Championship

Willow.tv, grudgingly 

ESPN3

The Associate nations 

My place of employment for the unfettered Internet access and the free hour or so in the morning to write. 

Cricinfo.com.  Not only do is it far and away the best cricket site, of course, but I truly believe it is the best sports related site on the Internet.  So many great writers in one place, such great coverage of every match, big and small.  Keep it up, boys (and girls.)

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It has been a fun year so far, keeping this blog up.  I started it on a whim right after the World Cup, and I am truly thankful that did.

Now, I just need to decide which County to write about next.  I think it might be time for simple alphabetical order.

Which means: Derbyshire, then, one of the Championship’s younger sides, relatively speaking.

Oh, and at some point I will need to read the full Morgan report.  I don’t like the idea of two fewer four-day matches.  I don’t like it at all.

Finally: this picture weirds me out.

Until next time.

**UPDATE**  How could I forget? I am extremely thankful for my trip to London in March and for the chance to see Lord’s.

 

Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 5th ODI

Today: Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.  Why?

Two words: Trent Bridge:

Yes, I know I have posted this picture before, and yes, there is a fancy new stand now which makes the picture obsolete, but shoot it sure is a lovely shot, eh?  And as I have mentioned before, it reminds of my early days of falling in love with the sport: April and May 2007.  When I was quitting smoking and just thinking about test cricket gave me a thrill.  I am not kidding.

So, considering the above, Trent Bridge and Nottinghamshire hold a special place in my heart.

The club as we know it today was formed in 1841 and dominated throughout the 19th century, those years of the “unofficial” championship (I learned this morning, thanks to good old Sam Collins, that the County Championship proper was not formed until 1890.)  They have won five “official” County Championships, the first in 1907, the most recent in 2005.  Interestingly enough, they have actually won fewer one day tournaments: only three (four if you county a division two Sunday League title in 2004. I don’t.)

Regarding Trent Bridge: I found some great pictures on its Wiki page. I was thinking of posting them all, but for now, just these:

from 1890

That last one’s a heart stopper, eh?

The ground is the former home of Notts County and Nottingham Forest football teams, and is a regular stop for international touring cricket sides.  It has hosted tests since 1899, the most recent this summer when India came to town.  (And lost.)

It currently seats 17,500 and has been home to Notts CCC since the mid 19th Century.  (Actually, I had hard time finding a solid date.  The ground’s foundations were laid in 1889, but Notts have played on the land since 1838 when William Clarke laid out a cricket ground in the meadow next to the Trent Bridge Inn.)

Oh, and the Trent Bridge library currently boasts the biggest collection of cricket books in the UK.

One Notts player of note that I wanted to talk about was Sir Richard Hadlee, the New Zealand all rounder who played for the county between 1978 and 1987.   Sir Richard had a very minor role in the infamous underarm bowling incident in 1981, as he was lbw’d by Trevor Chappell with the second ball of the final over of the match.

The underarm incident is something I will write about in more detail at a later date, as it is one of those odd little cricket moments that really define the sport for me.

And, hey, that’s Notts CCC, more or less.

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A couple interesting articles of note:

DeepBackwardPoint alerts his readers to the fact that cricket has always been insecure, and has always been declaring itself dead.  This is really why I think I get along with the sport so well, we are very similar, personality wise.  Cricket with Balls a few months back described cricket as: “…not smooth or charming, it’s kind of accidentally vulgar and offensive, but in an intellectual way.”  That’s me to a tee.

(Hm. It looks like the above post has been removed from Jarrod’s archives.  I guess pissing on other people’s books is not recommended when you are trying to sell your own books. Still available in my Google Reader though.)

Finally, here is a neat article on street cricket in London.

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This is usually where I head “back (to) the pitch”, but I really need to get some work done.

Until next time.

Victoria v Tasmania at Melbourne, Sheffield Shield

Lord's, Middlesex v Surrey, 1895

I decided to write about Middlesex County Cricket Club next, as theirs is the only ground that I have actually visited.  Yeah, I didn’t see a match at Lord’s, and I didn’t even go inside the ground, but I did steal a glimpse of the famous sloped pitch, and I did get a picture in front of the famous sign, and I did touch the exterior bricks…

Middlesex County Cricket Club as we know it today was formed in 1864, and won first division titles in 1903, 1920, 1947, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1990, and 1993.  Plus they shared the title in 1949 and 1977.  They have also won seven first division one day competitions, including the 2008 Twenty20 cup.

The club was relegated to the second division in two different formats in 2006, but won the second division title in 2011 and therefore will be back in the County Championship’s first division for the 2012 season.

Since 1877, Middlesex, of course, have played the majority of their home matches at the self proclaimed home of cricket: Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood.  A stone’s throw from Abbey Road Studios, 221 Baker St, and Regent’s Park: quintessential London.

What can I say about Lord’s that has not already been said?  It seats 20,000, was established in 1814, and has gone through several major renovations throughout the years. It has hosted over 100 test matches, and was the venue for the 2000th test match this past summer.

(By the way, a real thriller of a test match is concluding in South Africa as I type.  Australia need five runs with two wickets left in hand.)

Famous players? Almost too many to count. Patsy Hendren scored the most runs for the club, with 40,302 between 1907 and 1937.  (Thirty years with the same club…unimaginable nowadays.)  Fred Titmus took the most wickets with 2,361 between 1949 and 1982.  (Thirty-two years with the same club…I guess there is something to be said for employing amateurs…)

Currently, the team features England’s test captain, Andrew Strauss, as well as England’s fourth choice fast bowler, Steven Finn.

Oh, and the club wears pink during its 20/20 matches in support of a local Breast Cancer Charity.  So, I don’t know, I think that’s pretty cool.

And that, dear readers, is Middlesex County Cricket Club.

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On the pitch: Australia won by two wickets, leveling the series.

Yesterday, Pakistani cricket hero, Shahid Afridi, single handedly hauled his country over the line yesterday, beating Sri Lanka by 26 runs in Sharjah.  He scored 75 off of 87 with the bat, and took 5 for 35 with the ball.  A legendary performance.

Until next time.

Mumbai v Karnataka at Mumbai, Ranji Trophy Elite

“Good Old Sussex By the Sea
Good Old Sussex By the Sea
And we’re going up to win the cup
For Sussex by the Sea”

Along with Kent, the Sussex region of England can also claim to be the birthplace of the sport – invented in the area by the Normans in the 13th Century.  The club as we know it today was formed in 1839…

…but the county did not win a First Division County Championship until 2003…a period of 164 years.  The Chicago Cubs have nothing on long suffering Sharks’ fans.

The club did win several lesser cups in that period of course, so it is not really an apples to apples situation.  But holy crap 164 years!!??

(Side note: the Pro40 County One-Day competition used to known as “The Sunday League.”  That is so brilliant it makes me cry a little.)

Sussex play matches at grounds throughout the county, but their official home ground is the County Cricket Ground, aka the Probiz Ground, in Hove, England.

“Hove” as it is affectionately known, has been home to Sussex CCC since 1872.  It has a capacity of 7,000 and has hosted one ODI: India v South Africa in 1999.

Over their long history, Sussex has employed many memorable players.  John Landridge, whom Wisden called “the greatest cricketer to never play a test match,” starred for the club from 1928 until 1955.  He accumulated over 34,000 runs for the county in his time there, the most by any Sussex cricketer in the club’s history.  Also, John’s brother, James, who did play in eight tests for England – played for Sussex at the same time – taking 1,416 wickets, the  fifth most in the county’s history (the great Maurice Tate took the most, with 2211.)

Another bit of trivia regarding the Landridge brothers: in 1938 the two brothers player with two other sets of brothers: Charlie and John Oaks and Harry and Jim Parks.

Currently, thanks to England regulars Matt Prior, Monty Panesar, and Michael Yardy, as well as internationals such as Murray Goodwin and Ed Joyce, Sussex has enjoyed a nice run of success.  They had to wait 164 years for their first County Championship, but only three years for the 2nd, and then they won it a third time the very next year.   The drought surely is well and truly over for Sussex .

Celebrity fans?  Still nothing.  However, Sampson Collins, he of the “The Two Chucks,” wrote the history of Sussex CCC for Cricinfo…so, um, that’s something.

And that, in 374 words (and counting) is Sussex.  (Sam’s history was way better, so I am not going to link to it.)

As always, my sources include Wikipedia, SussexCricket.co.ok, as well as Cricinfo.

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Back on the pitch: in Johannesburg it is stumps on day four.  Australia will bat tomorrow needing 173 with seven wickets remaining.  The way the Aussie’s have collapsed in this short series, I think this might be South Africa’s match to lose.

Meanwhile, there is a thriller of an ODI happening at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the U.A.E:

Sri Lanka are 157/5 chasing Pakistan’s 200.  Their current run rate is 4.04 and their required run rate is 3.97.  Like I said: a thriller.

Finally, I inserted the above photo for two reasons:

1) I love photos of cricket stadiums.  Love, love, love.

2) If the current internet copyright legislation that is being discreetly and dangerously rushed through Congress is passed into law, this blog could be shut down permanently and I could be fined thousands of dollars…just for posting a copyrighted image on a blog nobody reads.  Heck, even if a reader (stop laughing) posted a link to copyrighted material in the comments section of this blog, I could be shut down forever with no access to my site, my writing, my archives.  Scary, huh?  This is worse than net neutrality, this is the death of the Internet.

So do me a favor, if you live in the U.S., read this, and this, call your congressmen and congresswomen, sigh the online petition, and let’s save the fucking Internet, okay?