This is a one-off page, and only for stuff about Boycott, as the Guardian seem to be worried about legal stuff. I’m a bit more fearless.

I’ll delete anything that isn’t about Boycott.


I’ve attempted to close comments on this but haven’t worked out how to do so.


Romeo’s update, 14.00 UK 14 Sept.: Please don’t comment on here any more. There’ll be a new page by Monday morning. Use Serious Bollocks in the meantime.


Serious Bollocks


I’ve been wallowing in and savouring, and trying to take in sensibly, what happened yesterday.

I’ve always regretted two cricketing things. One is that I didn’t have a TV in 1981 when Botham and Willis did their things at Headingley. I was living in a flat in Edinburgh, in a room with three other couples laid out on mattresses around a fairly big room, and only got to hear about what was going on from newspapers so never actually saw any of it at the time. (Also I felt it was, and still do, Willis’s match rather than Botham – and Dilley’s – match.)

The other is 2005, when I was not in a good place in my head, and although I did see a fair bit of it on telly was unable to ‘join in’.

So, yesterday was rather special.

I said to my señora yesterday morning, before it all started, that I didn’t really mind which side won, just that I wanted there to be good cricket and for the series to stay live. I don’t necessarily support England in international cricket (I do necessarily support Afghanistan) and I had a bit of an email barny/exchange of views with Geoff Lemon on Friday over his catering only to the Australian readership on the OBO which he took to be an accusation of partisanship. He seemed to take it on board a bit and he did a far better job yesterday (and published an edited version of an email I sent in, and later a good article) but then it might all just have been me seeing things which weren’t there.


I love cricket, especially first-class cricket, of which Test cricket is part. It keeps me sane in this crazy world. I got a good dose of happy pill yesterday.

Obviously Stokes did the heavy lifting, with the ball as well as the bat in both second innings, but there were also vital contributions from Root, Denly (who I really like although I don’t think is quite good enough but am very prepared to be proved wrong), Bairstow, who provided a very important impetus and took Stokes with him, got him motoring a bit if you like, and Archer’s runs and hits were more significant than he’s getting credit for in maintaining the motoring as the crash barriers seemed to be arriving.

But what about Jack Leach? An F-C specialist, who turned out for his club side (paying his match fee) after his 92 against the might of Tim Murtagh when everyone else was playing thrash willow. It doesn’t matter that Australia didn’t have the nous or ability to bowl him a yorker like they did to Broad, or that Lyon fumbled Cummins’ throw. He was there. He did it. He scored the run which meant the Ashes is still there to be won.

I also have so much time for Tim Paine. I know he’s not the greatest wicketkeeper or batsman ever, but he’s the man who’s made me have a lot of fondness, if not love, for the Australian team. (Little Marnus has played a rather large part too, of course.) Langer’s also said some good things and Hazlewood’s a great bowler (I’ve always thought that). Cummins is too but I suspect he needs, and will get, a rest at Old Trafford.

I could easily burble on. I’m just happy the series is alive in an unforgettable way. (However I’m not happy we have to wait another 15 days for CC cricket, although the Bangladesh v Afghanistan Test starts the same day as the fourth Ashes Test, and at a good time-zone time for me.)


Edgbaston 1961 Australian cricket tour of England for the Ashes. England v Australia First Test match at Edgbaston. The Edgbaston crowd on the first day of the first enjoy the sunshine before the heavens op
Edgbaston 1961, on the first day of the Test match there. The crowd seem a decent lot.

The Ashes series starts tomorrow and I don’t feel good about it.

I have a big problem with the truckload of ignorance and stupidity that gets delivered when England play Australia in this country. I know it’s similar in Australia but that makes no difference to me.

I hope (in vain, I expect) the crowd tomorrow will be as decent as they looked in 1961. I have no truck whatsoever with people who scream or sing abuse.

More tomorrow if I can be bothered. I’d like to write more now but I’m rather deflated.


Hibernating dormouse
Dormice hibernate in winter.

Most beings think winter is the best time to hibernate, what with ‘winter’ being hivern, invierno, hiver, inverno and χειμώνας in various languages.

County cricket has decided, or rather the ECB has told it, that it should hibernate in the middle of summer when the schools break up for their holidays.

The hibernation period for dormice begins around October to November and they will stay in their nests until April or May. These tiny creatures slow their heartbeat and breathing and lower their body temperature to just a few degrees above freezing. They can lose half their body weight over winter, so they eat so much at the end of summer that they grow to twice their normal size. (Woodlands Trust)

The last seven weeks have been good entertainment for many people, including me, and we have a Test match between Ireland and England to look forward to next week and a few more a bit later. There will soon be four rounds of CC to go, and the Division Two competition couldn’t be closer (apart from Nailed-on-shire): it would be most unfortunate if it were all to be made meaningless because of infelicitous weather in September.

September in the UK may have great weather, which might (ever so slightly) raise the spirits if not the glasses of the inhabitants in the face of Armageddon, but one should be aware that next year will be much much worse.

Anyway, here’s to the vitality of Irish cricket as they take on England and Wales, while Scotland look on helplessly from afar.

Enjoy the T20, and I will do my best so to do.

Victorious, Happy and Glorious


Long to reign over everybody else in Division Two…

Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

Actually, I can remember seasons back when I was a boy/teenager when sides who came 17th and last one year would suddenly win/almost win the championship the next. I can’t be bothered to look it all up on the internet and I haven’t got my Playfair books from those years with me here, but I’m pretty sure it happened. (The converse of all this is, of course, winning the championship one year and getting relegated the next, in more recent times.)

How so?

In Glamorgan’s case, their turnaround is due to a lot of things, as I said on the Guardian. It isn’t down purely to changes in the players at the club, nor to the coach being new or the sandwiches being better made with only organic ingredients. There’s a mysterious alchemy at work when this happens. I suspect there’s a talisman (or two) involved, usually. I find the whole business absolutely charming, almost entrancing.

As you know, every side doesn’t play every other side. Glorious have six games left, two of them against Worcestershire, a second against Middlesex, then the one-off mismatch against the best team by miles in Div 2, and then one-offs against Leicestershire and my dark-horse punt for promotion Durham.

By the end of the season, Glamorgan will only have played Lancashire, Sussex, Durham and Leicestershire once each, and any side who only has to play Lancashire once has a distinct advantage over those who have to do so twice. I also have a feeling about Durham (and indeed the whole table is tight, especially fourth to tenth).

I know I’m getting well ahead of myself, as we’re only half-way through the season (on average) and I wouldn’t be surprised if Glamorgan ended up fourth after a Glorious run of defeats. I wouldn’t be too bothered either, as they would really struggle to stay up if they were promoted. But I’ll wallow in it for a while, if that’s all right.

Shortly before I was due to press go on this new page, Rooto alerted me to a bit of fun which is doing the rounds. We’ll get it up on the Guardian come Sunday and following, but here it is:

Name your ALL-TIME favourite cricketer from each county…


Simply copy and paste the list of counties into a comment on here, and then you can type in your favourite (and why, if you want). It also works at the Guardian (I checked).