Tuesday, 25 August 2009

"Is that the Ashes? Yes, England have won the Ashes."

Well bugger me with a fish fork. Did anyone really think we'd not only win back the Ashes, but do so in such an emphatic manner? After the depression of Headingley it's been unbelievable to come back up to such glorious highs. So much so that it's all quite surreal. None of it seems to have sunk in just yet.

That last-gasp survival in Cardiff seems a long, long time ago now. No one that day thought we'd win the bloody series and it looked like we were just delaying the inevitable. With hindsight, that seemed to be the moment that gave England the belief that they could win back that little urn.

Everything just seemed to click at the Oval. Strauss, Bell, Trott and Swann getting some good scores - excellent in Trott's case, a hell of a debut. Broad getting a Michelle, Flintoff's brilliant run-out of Ponting... Everything fell into place.

Of course, there's now questions of just where do we go from here? Flintoff will be missed greatly and, of course, there's still huge question marks over many in the side. South Africa will be a much harder ask for our players. Will they be up to it? Who knows? But for know, it's just time to sit back and bask in the glory.

Have that you Aussie bastards.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Cricket, bloody cricket

Well, it's been a while since I've posted about the Ashes, so I may as well stick my nose in considering the way things are currently balanced.

I've already commented on the first win at Lord's since 1934, but I'll touch on it again. It was a fantastic moment and I don't think anyone really thought it would come as emphatically as it did. Flintoff was majestic once more - we're going to miss him hugely after this series, something that was all too clear at the Oval, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I did wonder, briefly, if another cricketing related event that hasn't occurred since 1934 would now take place this year... It didn't last long.

So then we moved to Edgbaston, at a time when Birmingham was struggling with the weather. And this time it worked in Australia's favour - England surely would have won that game had it not been for the bloody rain. But, the Aussies can say the same about Cardiff, so I guess we're even on that front.

And then... Headingley. What can you say? An utter, fucking disgrace. A complete debacle from start to finish. When a second innings partnership between Broad and Swann puts on more runs than the entire team did in the first innings... Well, it's beyond belief, isn't it? Bopara and Bell should never wear the shirt again and the rest of England's middle order need a long, hard look at themselves. Bring in Key? Trott, maybe? Neither of them could do any worse. Also, and I never thought I'd say this, but we do miss the South African Twat as well.

At least it looks as if Flintoff's back for the Oval. The problem, of course, being that it's a notorious batting track. It'd be easy for Australia to bat England out of the game in the first innings. Mind you, 200 runs would probably do that! It's not over, obviously, and in two weeks time I could be posting on here celebrating a marvellous victory. But I'm certainly not getting my hopes up.

As for Lancs... Well, we've made maximum batting points for two Championship games in a row! Unprecedented in recent times. It's just a shame that we couldn't get a win in either game, although the tie at Hampshire was rain affected. We seem to be in a good position after the first day against Durham, so who knows? It won't end up being our year - in fact, it'll all go the way of Twenty20 bowl outs, probably - but it's nice to see that we're finding some form again. Fingers crossed it'll carry on into next season.

As for my own career, still not played properly since the Mudhutters Cricket Club's (that's the MCC to you) first ever victory, in the third year of existence. There's only been two games, I couldn't make one due to being in Cardiff. The rest of gone down the pan thanks to the weather, including tonight's scheduled game. Ah well, at least you've got a blog post out of it, right? Had plenty of net sessions though and am collecting the bruises. Who says it's an easy game to play?

A brief mention on other sports: The rugby season is going on far too long, let's get it over with, I've had enough of watching Salford now. And the football season has started again too bloody quickly. I can't be arsed with it yet.

A brief mention on the job situation: It's shit.

A brief mention on life in general: Meh. "I want the one I can't have and it's driving me mad" is the lyric of the moment.

Monday, 3 August 2009

A thin line part 2...

Well I enjoyed writing the last piece that much I thought I'd try to give it a happy ending. Not quite sure this bit works as well as the other one did (to my mind) but hey, it's "closure" of sorts!

It had been a lovely day once again and, so far, everything was going well. The usual weekly evening ritual was about to take place yet again and, as he walked up to his spot, he noticed that she was here again. But this time there were less people around to get in the way and he was sober. Not to mention that there were a few others around who had been missing last time. They always spoke to him, and seeing as they were stood talking to his intended target, getting into a conversation with her would be much easier.

And so it was.

Early on in the evening the conversation was sporadic, but shared with others. Common ground was touched upon numerous times which brightened his evening up no end. There was plenty of laughing and joking with light-hearted mickey-taking breaking down conversational barriers further. And so, later on, when the opportunity arose to talk to her on her own, he waited for the right moment... And stepped in.

Suddenly, all the heartache from the previous encounter was forgotten. They talked about many things, they laughed, they shared a few serious moments and his heart was buoyed by it all. She looked magnificent, not that she ever looked otherwise, and the sight of her smile coupled with the odd comforting word during the conversation made him feel so much better about life. For once, the world and all of its problems seemed much, much brighter.

This time, parting was easier. A hell of a lot easier. And he did not make a mess of anything. He knew he would be seeing her again next week, which also made him glad. On the way home and in the days after he thought about her, as he usually did. Only this time there was no pain, no anguish, no thoughts of 'if only'. Just a gladness that they had talked and talked well. That their friendship, albeit occasional, felt much stronger than after the last debacle.

And, because of that, his heart was gladdened, filled with joy no less, and there was a bounce to his step.

He knew he could now move on.

Le Fin