Sheffield Shield

Queensland captain Jimmy Peirson (left) and Tasmanian captain George Bailey with the rather large Sheffield Shield before last season’s final

Proper cricket in whites with hardly anyone watching at the ground returns! I’ll look for streams when I get up tomorrow morning, but I’m not confident of finding any.

They’ve adjusted some playing conditions this year, including a drawn final not simply awarded to the side who came top in the league – it’ll be the side with most first-innings bonus points acquired in the match. Another change, which I quite like, is there can now be a runner after the ninth wicket has fallen. I assume they’re using Dukes balls again (I checked, and that’s how it’s written).

There are six rounds between now and 10 December, then they play cattle-class cricket and score lots of maximums for a bit, and resume on 23 February for four more rounds of first-class cricket. Everyone plays everyone else twice, home and away, which seems like a sound way to organise a tournament. It also makes life easier for fantasists, as there are no byes, but it does mean that the fantasy league, with sixteen sides, will mean anyone who takes an interest throughout the season and gets drawn twice against someone who doesn’t make any changes at all, after the first game starts, stands to do well next to anyone who doesn’t get to play that someone twice. Next time we should perhaps limit the Shield league to ten sides to even that out. Anyway, it’ll be Fun, Fun, Fun till Daddy takes the T-Bird away.

1955 T-Bird

 

1965 T-Bird

A slightly different Thunderbird

 

I suspect we could all do with some fun.

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The Last Day

Winter drawers on.

autumn

Tumbleweed Connection, Howling Wind, Desolation Row, The End (obvs), By The Time I Get To Phoenix the New Season Will Have Started, Help Me Make It Through The Winter, Admiral From The North Country, Stuck Inside Of Glamorgan (With The Glorious Blues Again), Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside Especially In Colwyn Bay, The Season Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended Lanky Fall At Thy Behest and so on.

Just a little reminder that Paul Collingwood and Jonathan Trott are not dead, and neither are any of the other great county cricketers who have retired in recent days. Maybe they’ll end up like Chris Old, working at a supermarket check-out (not a self-nonservice one) but I doubt it. I wish all the retiring cricketers the very very best.

This page is basically for everyone to share their melancholy (and euphoria, if they have any and also insist) and to offer an opportunity for mutual self-help to keep us going into the dark days.

Worcestershire, Lancashire, Sussex and Somerset

Edgbaston
Edgbaston cricket ground, with players wearing white clothing. Not a wholly suitable picture as a result, but I like the people milling about outside the stands, the car park and the MEWP.

Welcome to a clean slate at the world’s leading cricket blog, where everyone can etch their thoughts about cricket between counties and other matters, including their opinions of Emmylou Harris, although these last had better be the right ones or else.

‘Finals Day’ – when four counties for all of which/whom I have a soft spot – ‘battle it out’ to win the most treasured prize in cricket between counties, at a ground in the part of Birmingham where my father lived in a flat just below Bernard Hepton in the early/mid 1950s.

I generally don’t take much if any notice of T20 cricket, apart from being extremely irritated that it has usurped the CC on the throne of proper summer, but I’ll be watching/following.

As I write, I don’t mind who wins. I’ve liked Worcestershire ever since I heard of Basil D’Oliveira, Lancashire ever since my mother took me to see Brian Statham bowling in the flesh, in Blackpool, Sussex ever since I saw Ted Dexter, and Somerset ever since a particular point in the past which I can’t pin down… precisely.

I have, in recent days, been seriously considering abandoning this site, even deleting it, but I am very heartened by Billy, Chopper, FLS (especially), Grif and Old Pendle putting stuff up on the previous page in the last 24 hours. There were three days with absolutely nothing, although there were a few hits for the ‘It’s pussy time’ page from strange places. I hope this place continues to offer a haven, a safe harbour where people can tie up their boats and chat, mutter and natter on the quayside.

 

Three Days to Go

This is about where we sat last year, isn’t it?


The last County Championship cricket, which was one set of matches in the middle of nowhere, was so long ago I’ve largely lost track of what was going on. It’s strangely reassuring and comforting to know, without even having to think, that Glorious are safely tucked up in the nethers of Division Two, however.

Nine games start on Sunday and everyone plays. I’m not sure starting on a Sunday is particularly sensible, but we get what we are given these days.

I went to a couple of county championship matches at the Oval in the very early seventies, when they played Sussex (who were my county back then – still are in some senses) and then the Saturday of almost all Test matches there in the late eighties and early nineties.

Lanky play Surrey, but Surrey will be missing two of their best players. Lanky will be missing one of theirs too. I hope everyone plays well.

It’s very good to get back to civilisation. And back to chopper jinxing the ECB XI, everyone except a few misguided souls jinxing the Yorkists, everyone hoping Somerset and Durham do well and Middlesex now come up against a side which is so strong a Curran has only just got into the first XI.

Only three more sleeps to go, as they say.

White Balls

It is my sad duty to have to inform everyone that County Championship cricket has ceased to be.

I’ve been assured by some that it has not ceased to be, nor is pining for the fjords, and is only resting. I’m not sure what to believe anymore.

It seems, however, that life goes on. There is cricket being played, although Afghanistan have to wait until the end of August to play their white-ball games against Ireland. Top marks to the both of them. If the governing body won’t do it, do it yourselves.

There is also white-ball cricket to be played between counties, and Kent and someone else will get us going on Saturday.

I hope this place can be a snorkel in the deep darkness enveloping us all until a fleeting glimpse of light appears in midsummer before we get back to what we’re about in early winter.