Posted tagged ‘Cricket Archives’

Not in Wisden #14: Hoggy, Hoggy, Hoggy

August 1, 2015

Opening the innings with an apology to any cricket blog surfers that have been misled by the title and landed here hoping to read about Matthew Hoggard.

Hoggy was one of the heroes of the 2005 Ashes. Mister Reliable, he was a fine swing bowler for England. Alas, Alad, Aetc this blog is not about him but for any Hoggard surfer still with us try some whizz from bizz before chasing more Hoggy bloggies.

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Provanmillshire were the most successful team in the Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship (GDCCC). They had many out grounds, one of which was Hogganfield Loch or as it was more commonly called: The Hoggy.

Fans flocked to The Hoggy as it was festival cricket at its best. It is fair to say that spectators paid scant attention to the cricketing fare served up preferring the other delights that The Hoggy offered.

While the players toiled, sweated, bloodied and teared in the field in the stifling heat festivalgoers gorged on ice-cream and candy floss unaware that there was a GDCCC match on. Flying kites and feeding the swans was more exciting. Drinking from the well that was free and admiring the beautiful bees that happily bagpiped the air were a treat.  Absorbing the rays of the sun was better than watching the ugly cover drives of Provanmillshire’s  star batsman, Jazzer.

The more adventurous could venture onto the loch in a paddle boat. High drama could be fought on the low seas as tenement terraways became buccaneers and pirated other ships. What larks! hitting each other with the oars. The perfect storm was also got when the “big Boat” ferrying the sightseers round the loch passed the young team on the rowing boats creating waves that could drown a pharaoh. (See Exodus books 14 and 15 or watch the movie, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston as Moses). This Neptunian nightmare of capsized canoes and delinquent swimmers struggling for safety made the summer day even brighter.

Another pastime at the festival was pitch and putt; a minituarised version of golf. My initial sighting of this infernal waste land with its unnatural topography of rough grass and sand dunes made me yearn for it to be concreted over. Give me a row of houses or a building site instead. It was at this time that a friend informed me that Johnny Miller had shot a 63 recently. Immediately I thought who is Johnny Miller and what’s he got against old people? This contemplation was soon forgotten after my first pitch. It wasn’t a bad shot. A bit sliced if I’m being honest but it did go a big distance. It was just that I was bored. No way was I doing this for 18 holes. This course was not for this horse.

Sandwiches. I had sandwiches with me. Far better to feed the swans.

* * * * *
Times always change, don’t they? And not for the better. There is no more cricket played at The Hoggy. The GDCCC folded. There are no rowing boats, no “Big Boat” to take you round the island and no pitch and putt. The drinking well and café have gone as well; I shot a top score of 63 on the Donkey Kong machine in there. OK, I might not be on the leader board or make the cut but as you know I was a champion tennis player not an arcade games wizard.

The only thing left at Hogganfield Loch are the swans. From time to time I still go there to feed them.


Not in Wisden #13: First Aid C/DC

July 30, 2015

The dangerous ritual in cricket whereby a fielder on catching the ball hurls it up into the air in celebration is an accident waiting to happen because they forget, while rejoicing, that the ball is too hard and could land on them with a glorious thud. Wouldn’t it be safer simply clenching a fist or having a slide along the ground to signify their delight? Or doing a Giggsy by taking the jumper off and circling it around like a wheel?

Thus it was that at a GDCCC (Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship) match that the inevitable happened. Cranhillshire were having a local derby against Ruchazieshire when fate chapped on the door and like the meter reading man was given entry.

The young Cranhillshire backward point, Gus Young, had taken a marvellous acrobatic diving catch. Thunderstruck, with great joy he propelled the ball upwards on the highway to heaven. Alas, Alad, Alaughingstock, what goes up…

Gus’ jubilation was cut short when the projectile returned to sender. He was whacked on the head by the incoming missile and blacked out.

The other players were going to continue the game until they realised they were a man down. Brite Spark, one of Cranhill’s finest lamp salesmen suggested some shock therapy to revive grounded Gus.

“Let’s give him some high voltage electric shock treatment. I’ll get some of my lamps and hot wire them. Everybody stand clear. I’m going to give him a buzz.”

“Hold on, hold on” reasoned Barmullochshire’s The Professor who was spectating at this event. “That won’t work. He’s lying flat on the earth. The earth connection will neutralise your Live Wires.”  he further reasoned with his dodgy science knowledge.

Ruchazie’s Jakey Van Helsing offered a more bloodthirsty remedy.

“Get one of the wickets and drive it straight through his heart. I like nothing better than the sound of willow on flesh in the morning.”

“Wait a sec. Hell’s Bells” said the umpire, Bumble Bee “In the GDCCC we play with a tennis ball not the regulation Dukes. There should be nothing wrong with Young. A tennis ball’s not ‘ard”

Heeding Bumble’s words of  Wisden wisdom Gus jumped up like a schoolboy. His act was all an act. It was time to resume the action. Play.


Not in Wisden #12: Space Invaders

July 29, 2015

One of the endearing characteristics of the GDCCC (Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship) was the fact that most of the players didn’t know the rules of the game. A lot was made up on the crease and became law. Just as in the GDCFC(Glasgow and District County Football Championship) no matter how violent, reckless or criminal the hatchet men tackled, there were no fouls given because the refs would be too scared, the cricketing equivalent of this would be there would be no LBWs. Plainly, a batsmen could occupy the front of the stumps all day. Drawn games of 0-0 were not uncommon with not a run scored or a wicket taken.

Thankfully not everyone wanted to be Chris Tavare and most of the contests featured hard hitting batting and outrageous bowling. The more educated amongst us, that is those with a rudimentary knowledge of the game, pined for a more professional approach to proceedings. We wanted a bona fide scoreboard that detailed all the facts right down to extras and last man. We never got what we wanted. The score was done verbally by both teams with the usual difference of opinion. To reach a consensus diplomacy failed countlessly and war took over to settle the score.

The educated class pined for another thing to resemble the English and broader world game. At the GDCCC’s apex the zeitgeist was that lots of test matches were invaded by streakers. These joyful exhibitionists enlightened many a drab occasion and their nudity was innocent and funny. We wanted a streaker and we went further with our wants, we wanted a female streaker. We never got what we wanted.

The only pitch invasions we got were by clothed men brandishing wine bottles. Depending on how tough they were we had to let them have a bat for a while before they got bored and wandered off to cause havoc elsewhere. The other winos we chased off. It was Apache country back then and maybe just as well we didn’t have a scoreboard; the natives would have burned it down. This would have been a new take on The Ashes.



*Family-friendly blog. No streakers only Heath Streak (above) ex-Zimbabwean bowler.

Not in Wisden #11: Two Tribes

February 21, 2015

For the time being we will give a bye to the stories (real and fictional) from the nostalgic world of the Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship (GDCCC) and focus on the small matter of the cricket World Cup that is currently in progress.

A popular type of post in the blogosphere is the one that contains lists. You will have read many of these. The title of an article grabs your attention and your curiosity makes you click the link. You are another visitor that has been sucked in by the effectiveness of this advertising technique. The internet seductress that is the published list is right up there with the flounce in garnering stats. Who could not fail to be entranced by headliners like-

Top 10 celebrity wig-wearers.
Fifty thousand best mother-in-law jokes.
The nine best CSI quips before the opening theme tune.
Two best books by Harper Lee.
Nineteen different ways to crack your fingers.
Seven reasons why floorboards creak
The number one business blog in cyberspace (refresh this page for the answer)

Any fan of cricket will tell you they admire good play no matter who it is from (except Australia). Nonetheless, while admiring all good batters and bowlers and fielders I have a top six favourite teams that grace this glorious game. When they play I am rooting and tooting and mitcham for them. Here is the list. Go for it, umpire. Let’s Play.

1. England
2. Lancashire
3. West Indies
4. Blackpool
5. Cambridge University (it’s a boat race thing)
6. Jamaica

Fate threw a googly (the wrong ‘un not to be confused with the confounded wrong one google). England, Land of Hope and Glory, are to play Scotland in a World Cup fixture this Sunday evening. In any other sport I would be lion rampant roaring my home nation on but this is cricket. I have supported the three unrampant- to be fair, We did have some Ashes glory along the way- lions England for twenty years. Something has to give. Am I to let Scotland do a Frankie Goes To Hollywood with their 45″ single, Relax, and jump straight to number one? Or do I stick?

This is too much for me as my two favourite countries on Earth prepare to do battle. I have to quote Rex the scaredy-cat dinosaur from Toy Story. “I don’t like confrontations”.

Not in Wisden #10: Little Nippers

October 9, 2013

There’s a sports centre not far from where I live. When my youngest son was small I would take him there and have a kick about at the side of the full size football pitch. He also loved to play in the long jump sand. He’d kick the sand and roll about in it. On one occasion when he was destroying the sand pit I took my eyes off him for a few seconds and he disappeared. A cold sweat broke over me only eased when I heard a good natured shout of “Hey, ref. They’ve got twelve players on.”

My son had wandered onto the football pitch and took up a position in the six yard box just as a corner was about to be taken. The players were all smiles as this small being stood beside giant centre-halves and forwards. I ran onto the pitch, apologising profusely, and lifted my son off the park. The referee smiled at us then blew his whistle. The corner was swung in and a forward headed it into the goal. The investigation began between the defending side players into who was to blame. Accusations and recriminations were shouted ending with a claim that the boy had disrupted their concentration. I had anticipated this result and as the goal went in I moved far from the madding crowd.

Border-Collie-11This scene reminded me of an even longer ago incident that occurred in the GDCCC (Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship). It was a fixture early in the season between local rivals, Riddrieshire and Carntyneshire. One of the regular Riddrieshire supporters, Wally Ewing, had turned up with his new pet dog: a border collie called Nipper. Both sets of players went over to clap the dog and friendly banter ensued.

Carntyneshire’s all-rounder Alan Gilchrist said to Wally. “That’s ironic that your dog is a border collie considering your house straddles the border of both of the counties playing today.”

Wally was in no mood for sledges and he angrily retorted. “ I’m a Riddrieshire man, born and bred, there’s no Carntyne in my blood.” The other players calmed Wally down and the match got under way. It was watched by a handful of spectators and the obligatory man with his dog; in this case, Wally and Nipper.

The match was a close run affair and it went right to the wire. With one ball remaining Carntyneshire were three runs in front. Provanmillshire’s number eleven, Soggy, had to hit a boundary to take the spoils. Carntyneshire’s captain had a meeting with the bowler, Alan Gilchrist, and they discussed where the last delivery should be bowled. It was agreed that Gilchrist should take a bit of pace off his bowling and concentrate on line and length. This would negate the possibility of the batsman using the speed of the bowling to hit a lucky strike. The last man in would have to use his own skills to win the match and poor Soggy had all the attributes of a rabbit.

Gilchrist ran in and bowled a good length ball outside of off stump. Unconventionally, Soggy moved to the off side and swished his bat but he connected a tad early. The ball ran dismally to the vacant mid wicket area and a man in the deep ran towards it. Clearly the most Riddrieshire could make out of this hit would be one run.

On the sidelines Wally Ewing was heard to say “Fetch”. Nipper was off like a shot. The collie got there before the fielder and picked the ball up in his mouth. It was now all over bar the scoring. The border Collie sprinted over the boundary line. The umpire waved his arms signalling four runs.

Celebrations by the jubilant Riddrieshire team were interrupted by protests from the Carntyneshire players and officials. The cry of cheating was dismissed by a rules book expert who declared there’s nothing in the rules that says an animal can’t intrude in play. Animals can’t distinguish between borders. The spirit of the game was brought into disrepute said a Carntyneshire player until Soggy’s words of wisdom left everyone speechless.

“You can’t blame Nipper for your loss. There’s no difference between what he did and say…a colony of ants picked the ball up in the out field and carried it over the boundary. It’s still four runs.”

With this the players and spectators drifted away.

Not in Wisden #9: Hawkeye

May 22, 2013

tumblr_mlrzp6xkbg1qllztgo1_500The Millerstounshire cricketer Thomas Carr believed that he was always unlucky. He backed up his theory by citing the phrase lies, damned lies and statistics. The stats were definitely against him. Poor Carr had one of the worst batting averages in the GDCCC. But he was adamant that he had the best eyesight in the league.

At the start of his career he recorded low scores and he didn’t improve much. He was so bad that rumours abounded that Thomas Carr was partially blind. They were probably wide of the mark, club players making up mischief, in all probability Thomas had terrible hand to eye or ball to bat co-ordination. In his defence, Carr insisted he just kept getting unplayable deliveries.

Backing up Carr’s comments that he could see as well as anyone were in evidence whenever he was in the fielding team. He wasn’t a great fielder or slip catcher, it was something else that the doubters couldn’t counter. Thomas would find money in various parts of the field; loose change fallen from pocket holes in trousers, coins dropped from yawning magpies mouths, scrambled coins thrown by Olympian brides at the nearby church. He accumulated quite a bundle of silver insisting no one else could have found the half-buried bounty. Week on week Carr would be out cheaply with the bat in one innings then be a few quid richer in the next.

It was one of those mornings when I rose early and couldn’t get back to sleep. With nothing better to do I headed the short distance to the cricket ground. There was a slight frost in the air but a day’s play looked promising. I passed the small stand and saw a figure in the outfield lingering at Long Off planting something in the ground. It was Thomas Carr. Thinking he must have a bit of insomnia like myself I wandered over.

“Hi TC.” I greeted him affably. Carr looked at me guiltily. From the corner of my eye I spotted something shiny on the grass beside him. In the vernacular of the game- Carr had been caught.

Not in Wisden #8: Boomer’s Drooper

June 18, 2011

In the days of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle there was a bowler named Spedegue. Spedegue was famed for his brilliant Dropper delivery. He propelled the cherry like quoits into the air to a height of at least thirty feet. From this great elevation, gravitational force helped it fall straight and true on to the top of the bails.

There was a bowler in the GDCCC that had a novel stock technique in the style of Spedegue. Batsman struggled to deal with the unusually floated lob ball that was named a “Drooper”. The Drooper was a lofted spinning ball that suspended in mid air and came on to the bat in slow motion.

The bowler’s nickname was “Boomer”. An ironical reference to a sonic boom. It was beyond reasonable doubt that Boomer’s yawning balls didn’t travel at the speed of sound. His missiles didn’t emit shock waves either but Boomer it was.

Batsman soon worked out they could run two runs (byes) while waiting for the Drooper to drop. Running one run would be illegal as a different batsman would be at the crease. Boomer then changed the tempo of his pitch depending on the running power of the batter. The slower batsman, failing to make his ground, would lose his wicket and be out. The scorer was unsure to log in the scorecard run out or bowled.

Variations of play abounded of this unique battle between bat and ball. One batsman dummied to run before returning to his wicket and had a chat with the keeper while he waited on the ball. The fastest guy in the school could run four runs before facing the Drooper. Imaginative batsman practised umbrella shots. The Boomer years were a time of gold dust for the game.

Form comes and form goes and Boomer’s form burst big time. The Drooper was constantly over-pitched and captain’s had to place three men at third man. Boomer was dropped and tried his hand at lawn bowls. This was a disaster. He couldn’t stop lob bowling and he left a trail of cannon ball craters and destroyed jacks on every bowling green.