A Year of Thinking Positively.

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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:13 pm

England won the Trent Bridge Test in an excruciating finale, and are five days of rain away from beating Australia for the first time since 1985-6, and holding the Ashes for the first time since the summer of 1989. I was 21 last time England beat the old enemy. I'm now 41.

Australia went past the England first innings score with six wickets left in their second, surviving drops and run out chances. Jones and KP spilled chances again. Trevor Penney was on as sub fielder and bungled a run out. Maybe Gary Pratt was meeting his agent. Hoggy, who is becoming more influential as the series nears its end, got Clarke to edge a widish new ball, and then trapped Gilchrist plumb. Harmi took the most wickets, but Hoggy bowled the best as England toiled a bit in Simon Jones' absence on a good pitch.

Simon Katich batted crabbishly for four and a half hours for his 59, before being sawn off badly by Aleem Dar. I don't normally flicker when the Aussies get a bad one, but Kat had resisted so tenaciously, that I felt sorry for him. He didn't deserve that. Again Warne was defiant. In the series so far, Australia average nearly a hundred for the last four wickets, and he has been key in that. He swung his bat for 45, and with Lee and Kaspa, got the target up to 129 for England to win.

Which is plenty. The pitch had been good for batting, but England don't have Warne in their team, so who really knew? Ponting donated England 32 loony-tunes runs towards their small target before throwing the ball to his spinner. Warne pointed a bit, dry ran a chuckle or two, and then got Tres, bat pad, first ball. Vaughan, who plays Warne better than most, was psyched out for a duck. A veil of fear had descended onto the ground. The crowd was silenced, pretending it wasn't happening. Strauss went for 23, arguably caught on the bounce by Clarke at slip. Then with no runs added, Bell was bounced out by Lee. England were 57-4.

Needing 129 to win is 13 runs per wicket. England were marginally ahead, if you could allow that Harmi and Jones would get their 13, under unimaginable pressure. I sat in the cheap seats, doing my thirteen times table. I still fancied England. Then Freddie and KP did what they had to, they took the attack to the Aussies. Ponting cut Kaspa and Tait out of his plans. Punter wasn't going to gamble on this, it meant too much. An Aussie win meant the Ashes. That was the precipice that England were skirting. Kevin and Freddie took England to within 18 runs of the win, and then they were, within a blink, both out. Freddie, who has been mano e mano with Lee all summer, was clean bowled by a sensational ball from the peroxide paceman. And a panicky Geraint Jones followed. Thirteen needed with three wickets left.

Thirteen. I could manage that number. I'd been counting down by thirteens. I was contemplating ten and eleven scoring these. But by now, with Gilo and Hoggy in the smelter, I was convinced Warne would run right through them, and Australia would win. England were in danger. England was in danger. You can imagine millions of people engaged in the in normal Sunday activities, but gnawed by fear, unable to explain it adequately to their partners, who are asking who is winning... a question with no answer.

But Gilo and Hoggy saw us home. All of us together, engaged in DIY, checking over by over at their weddings, removing ruptured appendixes, fleecing the chancellor, splitting atoms. The relief was extraordinary, and one that only alcohol could suppress. England are 2-1 in the Ashes and only five days of rain stand between them, us, and the old urn.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:56 pm

The Gaffer was tired after all so, when we arrived at the hotel, she had a nap, leaving me sitting on the edge of the bed, with the telly on mute, trying desperately hard not to make a sound as England tried to self destruct.

I needn't have worried about getting an earful for making too much noise, as she was actually woken up by huge cheers reverberating around the hotel as England finally fell over the line.

Crikey...... that was tense.

I need a manicure

although I'll probably need some nails for that
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:43 am

Being somewhere different sort of adds to the flavour of the memory. There was a tv programme I remember about where people were when England went out of the 1990 football WC. It was usually somewhere where a tv was only made available at the last minute after a bit of wheeler-dealing.

Essex are playing the Aussies before the last Test. Not so many tour matches these days, but a few. Essex have a number of England A hopefuls, Jefferson, Cook, Napier, Bopara.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:52 pm

someone at the ground on the final day at TB told me that, just before the start of play, the umpires came out and walked out to the middle, then put the bails on the stumps, before attempting to balance beer cans on top. Then 2 more umpires came out of the pavillion and the first 2 'umpires' were ejected from the ground.

I have no idea if this was true, but I kind of hope it was
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:26 pm

I'd not heard about the beer cans but the two fake umpires were the same people who were pictured in the Man Utd ranks before a big game, in their kit. There's a picture that has been in the press of Cantona staring at them. They have done a few walk ons like these.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:20 am

decent prank. miles better than streaking, which is just pathetic.

Any news on Simon Jones ahead of the last test? I hope he's fit, because I think he's been our best bowler in this series, and we're probably going to need him at the Oval. Aussies won't lie down, but I think we've got them, if we can go in with our full seam quartet
Last edited by Durhamfootman on Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:29 am

Oh bloody hell, Simon Jones and his amazing oxygenated tent. I'm not getting good vibes, and it appears Jimmy Anderson will replace him, with Chris Tremlett injured. Colly is in there to cover for the batters. For Bell? Bell has been fielding amazingly, but Colly could even still improve that. Earlier in the series there was a theory in the press that Colly might come in for Gilo, but I can't see that now. Picking PC would feel a bit negative.

Long range forecast says rain.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:40 am

The Aussies meanwhile need to get McG back in the team, but for Kaspa or Tait? Maybe Shane Watson could be the fourth seamer.

Apparently Clark nearly played in Manchester, but has been let go. Can't see Hodge or McGill taking part. Bradley Haddin, as Gilchrist's sub, probably didn't even bring any whites.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:42 am

doesn't sound good for Jonah, does it

perhaps England would be better off cutting their losses, pack the hyperbaric tent away and concentrate on getting him ready for the winter series
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:45 am

Anderson has a lot of detractors on 606, but he's just inconsistent. Or in other words, unreliable. But he could be good. Apparently they have been trying to correct his action which gets him injured, so maybe Troy will knock him into shape. But, we want Jones. There'll be reverse swing at the Oval, and we need him to work the oracle again.

Yes, he will be a big factor in Pakistan and India.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:47 am

No, Tremlett isn't injured, he's dropped. Blimey, he's a good bowler.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:16 am

I've never rated Tremble

yes he's big, but he's also soft... or at least looks soft. Gentle giant. I can't ever imagine Tremble giving a player the send off, the way Jonah does when his dander is up. There's an edge to Jonah, and indeed to Harmy and Freddie too, that has got England on top for once. (Hoggy is just a terrific swing bowler)

I've heard Bumble refer to Anderson as 'Daisy' because some daisy does and some daisy doesn't. As you say... too inconsistent

I guess that England's intentions for the Oval will be reflected in their choice of replacement if Jonah doesn't make it in time. If they go for Anderson they are saying that they want to try and stamp on the Aussie neck, If they go for Colly, then they are going for the draw and are happy to settle for falling over the winning line. As much as I like Colly, I'm not sure that that is the right way to go. It'll probably inspire the Aussies, by suggesting that England are desperately trying to just hang on to what they've got.

I wonder if the weather will have a part to play?
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:25 pm

The forecast is a little patchy. I think they have lights at the Oval so gloom shouldn't be an issue.

Hilarious that Essex slaughtered the Aussie attack in the tour game, with Alistair Cook and Ravinder Bopara scoring tons, Cook 214 off 238 balls! Maybe one for the ODI team this winter? And a year or so with the Lions. They're in the Caribbean this year. A draw though, with Haydos and Hodge making big tons.

The final Test starts tomorrow. There's something so dramatic sounding about the final Test. Aus look to get McG back in, England have to replace the irreplaceable Simon Jones. The impossible is within reach. We just have to not lose. Rain is our friend. Murk is our ally. Bad weather, don't let England down, after all these years.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Durhamfootman » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:43 pm

I sat for ages outside Kelloe community centre, this morning, with the car radio on, waiting for the toss. MPV winning the toss felt massive in the context of the series, and prompted a huge cheer from the crowd.
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Re: A Year of Thinking Positively.

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:51 pm

I've been at work all day. I've seen the score and about to settle down to the highlights. Could be worse. Could be better.
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